Former QPR winger’s England call raises the bar in Brent

Raheem Sterling’s England call-up will inspire young footballers in Brent to raise their own standards, according to the teenager’s former school coach.

The 17-year-old winger, who grew up in Neasden, has started Liverpool’s last two Premier League games and was on the bench for England’s World Cup qualifier against Ukraine on Tuesday.

Paul Lawrence, who helped to oversee Sterling’s development in his role as head of PE at Copland Community College, Wembley, says that the success of the Reds star is already starting to rub off on other young hopefuls.

“It definitely sends out the right kind of message that Raheem’s broken into the first team at Liverpool and the full England squad,” Lawrence told the Times.

“I’ve already seen a different vibe among the kids – even if they don’t match Raheem, what he’s achieved gives them all more belief that they can at least become a professional footballer.

“He’s started the first few games this season and done so well that I wondered if he might get a look in for England.

“I was very pleased and proud of him when I heard about the call-up and we had a good chat on Monday.”

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Sterling, who captained Brent to victory in the 2009 London Youth Games football tournament, made his name in QPR’s youth team and played for the reserves when he was only 14.

Liverpool paid an initial �500,000 to take him to Anfield the following year and he made his first senior start in their Europa League clash with Hearts last month.