Barnes praises Sterling

Raheem Sterling

PFA deputy chief-executive and President of FIFPro Europe Bobby Barnes says that Raheem Sterling should be celebrated.

Barnes was speaking after former Arsenal and England player Ian Wright told BBC Radio 5 live that the media have given Sterling unfair criticism.

"How many people do you see get the criticism Sterling gets?" Wright said.

"The football criticism is something every player has to deal with, but what he gets I don't see any other footballer getting.

"They don't get that stick because for whatever reason they don't rub up the people in the corridors of power the wrong way. I think there is an agenda against him.

"There is an element of people at high end of the media who want to keep that guy down. Simple.

"When you look at the wave of criticism that he takes, there is a certain amount of racism towards it - what else can it be?

"They are picking on him because of the background he has come from and they want to keep him down, drag him back down. They don't want him to continue to be a success.

"People say you are playing the racism card, but you give me a good reason why Raheem Sterling gets the stick he gets for just being a footballer."

Bobby Barnes added that Sterling is highly respected by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and England boss Gareth Southgate.

"He's a young lad who should be held up as a story of success against adversity" said Barnes.

"It's a shame there isn't more talk about a young man who has come to this country and built a great future and made a wonderful contribution to the clubs he's been at.