As a schoolboy, Raheem Sterling claimed that the lawn in front of his home at Wembley was the stadium 10 minutes away on foot and that he scored the winning goal.
More than a decade later, it’s a spectacle the nation has grown used to. The 26-year-old has scored England’s first three goals at Euro 2020, all at Wembley.
“I never doubted he was going to star in there,” Clive Ellington, the man who first spotted Sterling, told Sky News.
The part-time educator and coach had been assigned to Sterling as a mentor and was waiting to pick him up from school in Neasden, north London.
“I saw this eight-year-old boy running around the playground,” he said, instantly knowing he had found something special.
“There was a spark in him that you only see in today’s players in the upper echelons of their profession. I just thought something phenomenal was going to happen.”
At the time, Sterling was not playing for a team, so Mr Ellington invited him to a training session at the local club – Alpha and Omega FC.
“As coaches, we stood there with our arms folded, just thinking ‘what did we find here? “because he was a gem,” he told Sky News.
Mr Ellington still trains at the club, which trains in a park two miles from the National Stadium.
His famous arch wraps around the rooftops on the horizon and has proven to be a constant incentive for Sterling.
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“The first one here, the last one to go,” Mr Ellington said.
“He wanted to be the best at what he did and he just absorbed everything you …
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This notice was published: 2021-07-04 20:16:00