Sterling has played in all Manchester City Premier League games this season but started in just two of them, a development the England international seems not to be a fan of.
He has played a total of 10 games in all competitions this season, scoring a goal and providing an assist, which seems not to be impressive enough for Pep Guardiola.
Earlier in the week, Sterling had said in a press conference that he might consider leaving Manchester City for a club abroad to get regular game time.
“If I want my happiness at a certain level I need to be playing football”, he added. “I need to be scoring goals and enjoying myself.”
Ahead of Manchester City Premier League game against Burnley which is scheduled to kick off later today, October 16, 2021, at 15:00, Pep Guardiola told the press that he could not guarantee any player a regular game time.
The Spanish tactician said any player who has anything to say because he is not in the team’s first eleven, should say it on the pitch by performing to expectation.
Guardiola noted that Sterling is not the only player who wants to play regularly at the club, adding that he could not always play the same first eleven because he wants all the players to be happy.
🗣️ "They have to be delighted to be in this club, if that's not the case they are free to take the decision that is best for them."— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 15, 2021
Pep Guardiola admits he wasn't aware Raheem Sterling is considering leaving the club for more game time.pic.twitter.com/rth4yKkWsL
“Raheem is our player and hopefully will be an important player for us”, said Guardiola when asked to react to Sterling’s comment. “He wants more game time – like Riyad [Mahrez] when he doesn’t play, they complain, when Joao [Cancelo] doesn’t play, [he] complains. Some players complain when they want to play all the time.
“But I cannot assure how many minutes every player is going to play. Always they have to speak on the grass, on the pitch. That is the best moment.
“Not just Raheem – all of them. They know they are going to play minutes. I’m not a guy who only plays 11 players and that’s all. All of them are involved.
“What I want from Raheem and everyone is to be happy – they have to be satisfied to be here, they have to be delighted to be in this club.
“If this is not the case, they are free to make the decision that is best for them – for the players, and their families. This is the most important thing.
“It’s not just Raheem but all of them want to play every game, 90 minutes but I cannot give them that. I cannot assure them. They have to prove every training session on the pitch and try to be happy there.”
Raheem Sterling joined Manchester City from Liverpool on July 14, 2015, a season before Pep Guardiola became the coach of the club.
Since then, the England international has scored 115 goals and provided 88 assists in 302 appearances for Manchester City.
Sterling helped City to win three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, 5 league cups, and 2 Community Shields. His contract with the club will expire on June 30, 2023.
“He (Sterling) is an exceptional player”, Pep Guardiola said. “He is in the national team. What a Euros he had! There are no doubts about that. He is playing with the top, top players as well.
“Sometimes I decide for the other ones but the moment I don’t play Phil [Foden] the press say, ‘oh Phil deserves to play. When Jack [Grealish] doesn’t play, ‘You have to play Jack’.
“Riyad [Mahrez] was the best player in the league in the last four or five months, every game he played. He was in exceptional form.
“But it’s in the past. I don’t care. People judge me on what is going to happen tomorrow.
“It’s today, tomorrow when you get the opportunity to play. Show me, show yourselves. Show the world how wrong I was when I was not selecting you and then you are right.
“The biggest speak on the pitch. They need to show me how good they are. The biggest athletes in the world, in all the sports, they speak on the grass.
“We are in the free world and the players can speak and talk wherever they want, what they want. So from this [Sterling’s comments], zero problems.
“What I want as a manager is to pull out, take out the best from Raheem every single time when he plays. This is what I want.”