Kolo Toure has warned Raheem Sterling that he must remain loyal to Liverpool as it is the best club for his development.
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Sterling has hit the headlines after an interview with the BBC in which he revealed he had turned down a £100,000 a-week deal and described the reported interest of Arsenal as ‘very flattering’.
However, the Ivorian veteran says the 20-year-old should ignore interest from Liverpool’s rivals and sign a new contract now.
Toure says for Sterling to leave Anfield would be a mistake and would devoid him the opportunity to flourish and develop properly.
“This boy is a fantastic player,” Kolo Toure told the Liverpool Echo. “I’m not surprised there’s speculation because everybody would want to have a player like him.
“But he needs to stay here. Liverpool is a great place for him. This is a massive club and he has a manager who believes in him. There’s a lot more to come from Raheem and he needs to be in an environment where he can really express himself.
“I hope he signs. This is a club where he can really enjoy his football and where people will give him responsibility.
“”his is definitely the best place for him to continue his development. At Liverpool, he’s beginning to be one of the most important players. He’s playing every week.
“If he went to another club there would be big challenges he would face. He wouldn’t be the most important player.”
Toure uses the example of ex-City teammates Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell, two players who left their respective sides at a young age with much promise to sign big-money deals.
Both failed to make a career for themselves at the Etihad ahead of older and more established internationals, Rodwell has since been sold to Sunderland whilst Sinclair is currently on-loan at Aston Villa.
“Both Rodwell and Sinclair went to a club where there is big competition and didn’t play,” said Toure.
“If Raheem left Liverpool he wouldn’t be sure to start games. Make a mistake or don’t score for two games and he will be on the bench. There is no messing at clubs like that.
“Raheem is still only 20 and this is the best place for him to continue learning. He’s very important to this club.
“Raheem has been given a great opportunity at Liverpool and has done very well. He needs to stay here to keep progressing as a player.”