The winger vindicated his selection with an early goal to help take down Southampton

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insisted that his confidence in Raheem Sterling has never wavered as he said the England winger is one of several stars that has him believing that this may be his most talented attack yet.

Sterling started for City against Southampton in Sundays FA Cup quarter-final and rewarded his managers faith with an early goal as the Citizens ran out 4-1 winners at St. Marys.

They will now meet either Liverpool or Nottingham Forest at Wembley in the penultimate round of the competition.

“I didn’t have any doubt about him,” Guardiola signalled to reporters after the match when quizzed on Sterlings inclusion.

“But at the same time I have Jack [Grealish], Phil [Foden], Riyad [Mahrez] – you saw the minutes Riyad played that the impact on the team was massive, the quality for many things. But Raheem deserves the best. I’ve said many times what we have done this season could not be possible without Raheem.

“He’s an important player but we have never had this amount of quality, the huge talent we have up front. Even Gabriel [Jesus] is a top player. Today he made a big assist and won the penalty. The impact is always in the box.

“But I have to make a selection and I’m glad he played really well, scored a goal and was so aggressive in the final third, always creating chances. That’s why I’m really pleased for him and hope he continues to do this.”

Sterling, 27, has lost some ground in the City set-up after years of being one of the first names on Peps team-sheet.

Prior to Sundays victory he had sat on the bench as an unused substitute for three of the clubs last four outings, though he is still tied with Mahrez as their top scorer in the Premier League with 10 strikes.

There is nevertheless no little uncertainty over the England wingers future, as negotiations to extend his current contract, which expires in June 2023, have yet to bear fruit.

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