Raheem Sterling will help power England to victory, says ex teacher

Gareth Southgate’s men were set to fly out today to the Italian capital for tomorrow night’s clash, which win-or-lose will be their only game away from Wembley in the Euro 2020 tournament.

No player has seen their reputation enhanced more during England’s first four games of the competition than 26-year-old forward Sterling, who already has three goals.

Today his former PE teacher tipped him to produce a “fearless” display against Ukraine.

Paul Lawrence admitted he cried as his ex-pupil — who grew up in the shadow of Wembley Stadium — scored on Tuesday during England’s historic 2-0 victory over old rivals Germany.

Mr Lawrence, 61, coached the Manchester City player at Copland Community School in Wembley and helped put him on the road to stardom.

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

He told the Standard: “Raheem has become a national treasure, even for people who don’t really know about football. They’ve seen another side to him, whether he’s inspiring others in his life or as a family man.

“Raheem’s had a difficult journey. He used to walk past Wembley on his way to school. There’s a grass pitch near his old home in Brent where if you look up the road you see the stadium. But now he plays with the world’s best.”

Last month Sterling, who has campaigned against racism on and off the pitch, was made an MBE for services to racial equality in sport.

When he was four, his mother Nadine Clarke travelled alone from Jamaica to the UK to work as a nurse.

Raheem Sterling at school

/ Paul Lawrence, handout

She set up home in Neeld Crescent on the St Raphael’s housing estate, close to the North Circular, putting money aside each week to pay for flights for her children to join her. Sterling was six when he arrived with older half-sister Lakima. He often played football with other boys on the estate and dreamed that one day he would play at Wembley.

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