John Barnes believes Raheem Sterling's recent struggles at Manchester City are proof that he was wrong to leave Liverpool
Liverpool legend John Barnes feels Raheem Sterling made a mistake leaving Anfield for Manchester City in a deal reported to be worth up to £50 million.
The 21-year-old signed a five-year deal with City back in July 2015, but has so far struggled to live up to the high expectations at the Etihad Stadium.
Barnes believes Sterling's recent difficulties were to be expected due to the England international's lack of experience, and has advised other promising youngsters to become a key figure at their own club before considering a move.
"What I always say is that young players who do well for one season and have got great potential should stay at their clubs for four or five years," Barnes, speaking as brand ambassador for titanbet.co.uk, told Omnisport.
"I said it about Adam Johnson when he went to Manchester City, Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair. Until you're sure of a four or five-year-period of consistent quality, all you are is potential. And unfortunately in this day and age and all of a sudden they go. John Stones, look at him now...
"So I said for Raheem's sake that he should forget the money and should have stayed at Liverpool for himself to improve, where he's not being judged as a £50m player who's earning £180,000 a week.
"He's just judged as a player who's come through the ranks. But he's gone to Manchester City and you can see what's actually happened.
"So that is why with Ross Barkley it's the same, he should stay at Everton, Harry Kane at Tottenham. Stay there to prove that you can do this for four or five years, not just one season. Then if you're ready for a move to what you may consider a bigger club, you're able to handle it. You've improved, you're the finished article, then you can be judged as a £50m player."
Sterling has made 42 appearances in all competitions for City this term, scoring 11 goals in the process.