Raheem Sterling Has Already Felt It Necessary To Take To Social Media To Ridicule Rumours Of A Rift With Pep Guardiola

But while Manchester City’s bid to achieve the impossible has got back on track following the bump in the road of a derby defeat last month, the curious case of the missing England winger has gone largely unnoticed.

Sterling has started just once in the six games since United emerged from the Etihad with a 2-0 . His time on the pitch in that time totals just 27 minutes.

He didn’t even get off the bench for what was arguably City’s biggest game of the season so far on Tuesday night.

When Borussia Dortmund equalised six minutes from the end of the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final, Guardiola refused to blink.

And, sure enough, Phil Foden struck in the to give City a priceless 2-1 advantage going into next week’s return.

City have won their last six games by an aggregate of 16-3 – regardless of whether Sterling is on the pitch, on the bench or left at home in Manchester, like he was when his team-mates claimed three points at Fulham.

So Guardiola is doing something right.

It was after the victory at Craven Cottage that Sterling was provoked into taking to Twitter to put the record straight about his relationship with his manager following rumours of a row.

Guardiola weighed in as well, insisting that Sterling had no reason to offer an opinion on the matter because “nothing had happened.”

But City are now at the business end of what has the potential to be the most season in not only their history, but the history of English football.

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Raheem Sterling was on target when he captained England last week but his last Man City goal was in February

Fourteen points clear at the top of the Premier League and romping to a third title in four years, they have two trips to Wembley later this month to meet Chelsea in the semi-final of the FA Cup and Tottenham in the Carabao Cup final.

The chance to repeat their unique domestic Treble of 2019 is tantalising enough.

But Foden’s late winner against Dortmund, has also given them a great chance to reach the Champions League semis under Guardiola for the first time.

Yet Sterling, who has been one of the Catalan’s go-to players over the last five seasons, is currently on the periphery.

A glimpse at his numbers give an indication why.

Thirteen goals and 11 assists suggest that Sterling continues to be a maker as well as a taker of goals.

But in a season when Guardiola has often asked his team to play without a recognised striker and the emphasis is on the players to during the game, his stats are down.

Last season it was 31 goals and 10 assists, the season before 25 and 18 and in 2017-18 it was 23 and 17.

Not since Guardiola’s first season in charge, when Sterling scored 10 goals and created another 10, has his overall goal involvement been so low.

City still have potentially 14 games still left to play there is time for improvement – but only if he’s playing. His last goal for the Blues was in February

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Sterling’s unselfishness is setting up Gabriel Jesus for the second goal at Leicester last Saturday remains an illustration of how has wedded himself to Guardiola’s team philosophy.

And last week, when Gareth Southgate trusted him with the England captaincy in Harry Kane’s absence, it was an indication of how the 26-year-old has matured into a genuine leader.

Sterling has two years left on his contract and negotiations over a new deal are scheduled for the summer.

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