RAHEEM STERLING has been staying behind for shooting practice in a bid to improve his goal-scoring.
The Manchester City forward – who was a target for Arsenal in the summer – has already banged in 10 goals this season.
That puts him just one behind his best ever tally – and boss Pep Guardiola believes the extra sessions with coach Mikel Arteta have worked.
But the Etihad chief warns his forward must continue if he is to be a forward for a club at the top level.
He said: “It’s true that in front of goal it’s improving rather than the last pass.
“I think he’s enjoying scoring goals, he’s not scared, he’s not afraid to take a risk.
“And now he’s seeing how fun, how good it is to score goals. Now he’s more focussed on that.
“Mikel Arteta is working many, many hours and days after training.
CAUGHT THE RY Manchester City transfer news: Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand targeted in January move
“Specifically they’re talking about the last action on the pitch – that control in the last moment to make the right movement in the final three or four metres.
“For himself Raheem has wanted to stay there, to improve, to practise, to shoot at the goalkeepers.
“It’s part of the mentality he needs.
“He knows a striker has to score goals and he has to do that if he wants to achieve the next step.
“You won’t survive in the high level teams in his position if you don’t score goals.”
The arrival of Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus has turned up the heat on Sterling – and he seems to have responded.
He said: “Now the confidence is there and the club has new players coming in who can score goals.
“All the strikers and wingers have seven goals, it’s not just Gabriel, it’s not just Sergio and that is important for us.
“I think it’s mainly because he’s decided, ‘I wants to score goals, I can do that and I’m enjoying that’.”
Guardiola still feels there are areas for Sterling to improve on – even though he is having an excellent season.
He said: “His final pass still has to improve – he has to do it better, he has got better but he can still do better.
“Having more patience to analyse what is that small gap, and it’s a small gap in the position he is in.
“In the middle you have more space, the goalkeeper, central defenders, full backs, holding midfielders are there.
“Sometimes it’s not possible but the big, big players decide well in those moments but we can’t forget he’s 22 years old.
“We demand a lot with those kind of players. But he is curious and he he will improve he will get it, for sure, definitely because.
“He’s young and he has time and we are there to help him.”
Keep up to date with ALL the transfer news and gossip on our blog