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Gary Neville: Raheem Sterling Came To Me Over Media Treatment

Gary Neville: Raheem Sterling Came To Me Over Media Treatment
By Eoin Lyons
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On Monday Night Football this evening Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher discussed the recent treatment of Raheem Sterling by the media and indeed by opposition fans.

During Man City's loss at Chelsea, the England winger was allegedly racially abused by Chelsea fans during the game.

After the match Sterling posted on Instagram and appealed to the press to change the way they report on him, which he believes fuels racism:

Good morning I just want to say , I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point to heard I will speak up. Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don’t expect no better. For example you have two young players starting out there careers both play for the same team, both have done the right thing. Which is buy a new house for there mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look how the news papers get there message across for the young black player and then for the young white payer. I think this in unacceptable both innocent have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded. This young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an aggressive behaviour, so for all the news papers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all i have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an give all players an equal chance.

On the show, Neville revealed that Sterling had come to him when the pundit was an assistant England in the build up to Euro 2016 and unloaded about his feelings and the way he was being treated in the media.

I reflected on my experiences with Raheem in terms of working with him for four years with England and actually I had a personal experience with him in 2016, directly with him, and felt as though (to tell the story) would be breaching player coach confidentiality so I rang him up and asked him whether I could actually speak about it, because I thought it was important that I didn't breach his confidence.

He came to see me one-on-one in 2016, three or four days before the Iceland game. Pre-tournament, he was getting absolutely battered going into that tournament. Getting so much stick, we were aware of that within the coaching staff that fans and media were onto him, asking a lot of questions about him. It then continued into the tournament in the stadiums to the point that there were those groans, boos and little things.

It takes a lot for a player to come and see a coach. I was in the analysts' room, he walked in and started to unload on me 'why was this happening, why was this so personal' he accepted that he would get criticism for playing for England for his performances, he accepted that he would be scrutinised as an England player, he didn't want any special treatment but that it was so vicious, he felt so targeted. He didn't know what to do about it.


As a coach, Neville questioned his own methods of dealing with the player and not dealing with the issue directly:

Reflecting on it as a coach I didn't know really how to deal with it. I went into 'protective mode', 'coach mode', 'you're one of our most important players', how d'you get him ready for the next game? Y'know 'Raheem you're a great player, we love you to bits', which we did, he'd played nearly all the games for us and trying to sort of patch him up.

Neville went on to say that they were never dealing with the underlying issues with regards to Sterling, and that maybe it wasn't possible given the circumstances, though Neville did say that maybe they pushed the problem aside.

The former United defender cited a tonal difference in the articles about Sterling compared to others:

Harry Kane is the blue eyed boy of the England national team, he's a sensational player. He was having a difficult time in that tournament and it was portrayed as because he was on corners. Raheem's having a difficult time because of other reasons and more personal reasons at times and the language used towards him was difficult and I don't think he could understand and he was asking me why was this happening?

Neville said that the negative language used by the media towards Sterling after Euro 2016 was something he had never experienced before, even given his experience of the media treatment of the likes of ex-team mates David Beckham and Wayne Rooney.

He noted that Sterling's been 'carrying' this treatment for years and that to perform like he has done on the pitch is 'a miracle'.



See Also: The Crazy Media Treatment Of Raheem Sterling Exposed In Twitter Thread

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