Football: Raheem ready to display his sterling qualities as competition for places intensifies

Manchester City players Raheem Sterling (right) and Leroy Sane (centre) attending a training session in Manchester on Sept 12, 2016.
Manchester City players Raheem Sterling (right) and Leroy Sane (centre) attending a training session in Manchester on Sept 12, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

Reuters - Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has welcomed the increased competition for places heralded by the signings of Leroy Sane and Spanish wide forward Nolito.

Sterling, who was vilified by a section of his country's fans after England's dismal performance at the European Championship, seems to have become a player reborn under new manager Pep Guardiola.

The 21-year-old was named the Premier League's player of the month for August with a goal and two assists in City's first three matches and is confident his strong form will see him hold on to his starting place.

"It raises any player's game when there (are) four or five players who can play your position," Sterling told British media.

"You always want to be on the pitch, not in the stands."

Sterling was substituted by Sane after an hour in the Manchester derby on Saturday and agreed the 20-year-old had impressed on his debut after shrugging off a hamstring injury. "Leroy's come in and he's a really good guy who I speak to a lot but obviously he plays the same position - hopefully we can both be on the pitch at the same time but we have to work hard and show why we deserve to be involved," Sterling added.

The winger said he was happy to play in whatever position his coach asked him to fill, after being switched from his favoured right flank to the left to accommodate Nolito.

"My favourite position is on the left but I'm happy to play anywhere across the front three," he said. "Since day one the manager has tried to up the team spirit. Last year we were all close but now we're closer than ever."

City, who are top of the Premier League standings with four wins from four games, will kick off their Champions League campaign against Germany's Borussia Monchengladbach later on Tuesday.