Man City flier faces Arsenal in FA Cup semis saying he’s always happy at the national stadium because of childhood memories
RAHEEM STERLING hopes a few “home” comforts can help him make the difference for Manchester City tomorrow.
Sterling grew up next door to Wembley in Neasden and has a tattoo on his arm to signify what the legendary stadium means to him.
The England winger admits just stepping out on the hallowed turf makes him happy.
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Tomorrow, he will play a major club game there for just the third time as City face Arsenal in an FA Cup semi-final.
And he will be roared on by a personal fan club of more than 60 family and friends who will be there watching him.
While he has played there many times for the Three Lions, the former Liverpool star says it never loses its magic.
That makes him even more eager to book a return trip for a first FA Cup final on May 27.
Sterling, 22, said: “It’s Wembley, it’s a big day and it’s a game I’m most looking forward to, given what it meant to me growing up.
“I’m probably going to have about 60 people there. It will be a great atmosphere and a great occasion.”
Young Sterling used to ride his bike around the stadium while it was being redeveloped in the early noughties.
And his affinity with the venue will never leave him, as his tattoo shows a young boy standing on Wembley Way looking towards the stadium.
He told Sport 360: “Wembley is just special, it feels like my home every time I’m there.
“Special even when I’m driving close to it and where I grew up. It’s just amazing and on that pitch I feel so happy.
“The Premier League’s out of our sights now.
“But we still have to focus on winning our games — and the FA Cup is a massive one for us. We want to win this trophy.”
The Twin Towers may be long gone — but it could be City’s twin terrors that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger needs to worry about tomorrow.
Sterling and fellow wide man Leroy Sane have become inseparable off the pitch, while giving full-backs nightmares on it.
For some it has brought back memories of the days when Ryan Giggs and Lee Sharpe used to do the same across town at Old Trafford.
Sterling said: “We’ve got a long way to go to get to that level but that’s the aim.
“We have to keep performing, keep winning games for our team, keep improving and most definitely we can get there.
“We speak to each other and I said to him shoot a lot because I’ve seen he has the ability to score goals.
“Now he is showing that, scoring and making assists and I’m really happy for him.
“That most definitely helps the team, too — when you have players of a similar age and similar ambition.
“Hopefully in the future we can grow together.”
Sterling took Sane, 21, under his wing after his £37million move to the Etihad last summer.
He added: “We get on really well.
“He’s a similar age, we are both interested in the same things.
“We are trying to help each other’s game.”