Peter Crouch sees Raheem Sterling as a leader for Chelsea (Picture: Getty/TNT Sports)
Sterling registered four goal involvements across his first nine Premier League matches for the Blues this term and looks revitalised under Mauricio Pochettino.
The 28-year-old Englishman moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2022 with the west Londoners paying Manchester City £47.5m for his services.
Sterling has faced some criticism since joining Chelsea with former Blues star Frank LeBoeuf labelling him as ‘clumsy’ last month.
Crouch, though, sees him as a leader in Pochettino’s squad and told TNT Sports: ‘He’s had a difficult start to his Chelsea career but sometimes there’s a lack of respect towards Raheem Sterling.
‘I feel like he’s been one of England’s best players for a long time. He’s scored so many goals in the Premier League, he’s consistently performed at the highest level.
‘You look at that team, Thiago Silva is the man with all the experience but if you’re talking Premier League experience, Raheem has been playing since he was 18 at big clubs – Liverpool, Manchester City and now Chelsea.
‘The young lads like Cole Palmer can look to him for advice and he can show them the way.’
Fellow pundit Joe Cole added: ‘I’m absolutely delighted for Raheem and delighted for the club. When he signed he was the big name. He came from Manchester City where he won everything and was a top, top player.
‘He came into mayhem [at Chelsea] – change of ownership, change of managers, all sorts. But he’s been brilliant and he’s really done what I thought he would do, leading this young group of players.’
‘He’s scored so many goals…’