Liverpool legend John Barnes believes Raheem Sterling made a mistake in leaving the club for Manchester City.
Sterling moved to City for an initial £44million in the summer, having enjoyed three seasons as a first-team regular with Liverpool.
The England winger’s move from Anfield was shrouded in controversy, with the 21-year-old’s exit perceived to have been motivated by money.
Sterling insisted the move was to increase his chance of winning trophies however, and although he has won the Capital One Cup in his first season at the Etihad Stadium, the winger has been plagued with inconsistency this season.
Speaking to Omnisport, former Liverpool star Barnes believes that Sterling’s struggles prove he should not have left the club.
“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 told Omnisport.
“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.”