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Born in Jamaica, raised in London, and now – with Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge – one-third of Liverpool FC’s fearsome attacking triumvirate, Raheem Sterling’s Premier League career is looking as bright and shiny as his surname.

But first, for the 19-year-old England winger, there’s the small matter of a World Cup to contend with...
 

You grew up in Wembley. Presumably you weren’t the only kid who had plans to play there one day?
At a young age, that was everyone’s dream. Seeing the stadium being built, everyone was really excited. But at no point did I think that dream would become reality, until I moved to Liverpool.

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Who were your footballing role models?
Ronaldinho. For his silky skills. I’ve not met him, but if I did, I’d get him to do some kick-ups. He could never get rusty.

Is that how you got your Brazilian nickname?
In the school football league, I used to do loads of unnecessary tricks, that’s why they used to call me Heemio. I’ve matured a lot since then, but whenever there needs to be a trick I’ll throw one in.

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You got your first call-up for the England senior team at 17. How did that happen?
Just playing my natural game and not being too shy. I used to be a lot more greedy than I am now – now I’m a bit more for the team. As a young player, you can’t be going in thinking you can dribble past everyone. Someone is bound to slide-tackle you or give you a dead leg.

How does it feel to be in a national team with players you’re used to competing against in the league?
You expect it to be a bit more awkward, but everyone gets on really well. Everyone plays a bit of Fifa together, or ping-pong. I think it’s just about getting to know each other, and then everyone’s friends straight after that.

Who’s the best at ping-pong?
I would say me, but there’s a few other good ones, like Chambo [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain].

But really it’s you?
I don’t know, but he knows. Deep down, he knows.

What would be your ultimate dream for this World Cup?
My ultimate dream is to get there. If I get there, I’ll be really happy.

Taken from June's special World Cup edition of Esquire, in newsagents now.

 

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The Story Of The Worst Team In The World
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