Raheem Sterling has admitted he was a big Manchester United fan when he was younger as he prepares for Saturday’s FA Cup final between Manchester City and Watford.
The 24-year-old began his career at youth level with Queens Park Rangers before going on to represent United’s two biggest rivals, playing for Liverpool for three years between 2012 and 2015 before joining City.
Sterling has won both the Premier League and the League Cup twice since signing for City four years ago and the Blues are big favourites to get their hands on the FA Cup for the first time since 2011 this weekend.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror ahead of the final, Sterling recalled how he was in attendance at Wembley for United’s loss to Chelsea in the final 12 years ago.
“I was at the final in 2007,” Sterling said. “I shouldn’t really say this — not now, definitely not now! — but when I was young I was a massive United fan. I had an old United kit, from when they won the last FA Cup.”
Sterling showed his class ahead of City’s semi-final win over Brighton last month as he bought 550 tickets for students at his old school in London – and he says that decision was inspired by his trip to the 2007 final.
“To be in the stadium… it was incredible,” he added. “It was unbelievable and that was when I tried to give the tickets to the school. That was motivated by that — being so close to the stadium and not going there more than once.
“If two or three of the kids could be inspired, then that’s all I was trying to do. Purely, that’s how I felt at the time.
“If there was a kid who had a chance of being a footballer, hopefully that will give them motivation or inspiration to change their dreams.”