Writer: Gavin John Day
Date:Friday December 21 2012
Reds winger Raheem Sterling has committed his long-term future to the club by signing a new deal...
Raheem Sterling has been rewarded for his meteoric rise from talented youngster to England international with a lucrative new contract at Anfield.
The starlet, who turned 18 last weekend, has been virtually ever present for Liverpool this season and a number of impressive displays earned the Jamaican-born speedster an England bow against Sweden last month.
Sterling made his debut for the Reds on the 24th March as a late substitute against Wigan Athletic. That appearance, at the age of 17 years and 106 days, made him the club's second-youngest ever player to feature in the Premier League behind Jack Robinson.
The winger scored the only goal in October's 1-0 win over Reading to become Liverpool's second-youngest goalscorer in Premier League history with only the notable exception of Michael Owen finding the net at an earlier point in his Reds career.
Sterling told Liverpoolfc.com shortly after putting pen to paper: "It's every 18-year-old's dream. I'm just really grateful to be at such a big club like this.
"There's a lot more to be done. I haven't begun yet, as the manager has said. Hopefully I can kick on after the New Year and try to do my best for the team and the football club."
Although the club have not released any details concerning the terms of the new deal it is generally believed the agreement is for five years and will see Sterling's wages rise from £2,000 to an initial £30,000 per week with the scope for further increases in line with other personnel at the club.
Commenting on the contract signing, managing director Ian Ayre added: "This is another positive step forward for the football club in securing the long-term future of one of the country's brightest young talents.
"The negotiations were very positive and both parties acted in a very responsible way to reach an outcome that benefits both Raheem and Liverpool FC.
"Since the summer, Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Jonjo Shelvey and Suso have all signed new long-term contracts and it's a clear indication of our intent to keep the players we believe are crucial to bringing success on the pitch."
Despite his happiness at the contract being agreed, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers issued a note of caution on the subject at yesterday's press conference ahead of the weekend visit of Fulham.
"I always congratulate players when they sign a new contract and then I warn them," the Liverpool manager told reporters.
"I tell them they need to decide after this contract whether there is going to be another contract at one of the biggest clubs in the world or whether it will be at a different level. They can't rely on this contract and I make sure they know that.
"There is a lot of development and a lot of nurturing to go yet.
"He has been rewarded as a young player who, at 17 years of age, has come in and performed very well. He will never be elevated above his position here at the club, but he has been rightly rewarded and it is fantastic for the football club."
Although this news had been widely expected for some time it is brilliant to finally get the deal done and dusted. Sterling is an immense talent who can go on to become a world class operator and it was essential for the club that he chose to fulfil his potential at Anfield. Retaining our top players and developing the youngsters is as key to Liverpool's future as any purchases made going forward and Sterling impressively falls into both of these categories. Hopefully he can add more goals to his game starting tomorrow!
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Date:Friday December 21 2012
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