England manager Gareth Southgate feels Raheem Sterling is starting to believe in his own game after breaking a “psychological barrier” against Spain last month.
Sterling scored a brace in England’s 3-2 Nations League win in Seville for his first international goals since October 2015.
The Manchester City attacker has started to produce consistently at club level, scoring six and assisting five in just nine Premier League games this season.
Southgate said Sterling’s self-belief was growing as the 23-year-old – who re-signed with City until 2023 this week – prepares to face Manchester United in the derby on Sunday.
“I am really pleased for him because he is in outstanding form,” he told UK newspapers, via The Guardian.
“I was at City on Sunday and he had an outstanding performance against Southampton. We have got huge belief in him and that belief in his own game is coming now. We have been happy with his performances for a long time and the missing piece has been the goals. You can see what it meant to him in Seville to get the goals he has been overdue with us.
“I think that was a big psychological barrier overcome. He has continued that form with his club over the last few weeks and we are really looking forward to seeing him again next week.”
England face the United States in a friendly on Thursday before taking on Croatia in the Nations League.