Manchester City's Raheem Sterling is making good impression on and off the field. Photo: Rui Vieira/AP Photo

Raheem Sterling's ‘incredible’ social responsibility is helping him become a star at Manchester City, according to Pep Guardiola.

The 24-year-old’s maturity off the pitch has been noted by Guardiola, who has witnessed his generosity in two blistering seasons at the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling wants to open a football academy for disadvantaged children in his old stomping ground of Brent Park in London, but claims the council are ignoring his requests.

Brent Council are looking to sell a community centre but face resistance. Sterling argues they are attempting to erase local history and wants a section of the land allocated to his project.

Guardiola believes Sterling’s plans, along with a visit last month to see 12-year-old Damary Dawkins who is battling cancer, and a sizeable donation to the Grenfell Tower fund, show his growing maturity.

‘The gesture speaks for itself,’ Guardiola said. ‘When Raheem does this kind of gesture, it’s because it’s going to help the people. He can contribute to make a better society for other people and that is incredible.

‘People say, “No, no, people in sport cannot do anything, cannot speak about politicians, cannot do some justice”. Yes, of course (it is helping him on the pitch).’

The Metropolitan Police interviewed one person under caution following alleged racist abuse directed at Sterling at Chelsea earlier this month.

City face Crystal Palace this afternoon without David Silva, who is training after a hamstring injury but not ready to return.

Guardiola — who is giving his stars an extra hour at home with their families on Christmas Day — brushed off Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s suggestion that City have no weaknesses.

‘Of course we have weaknesses,’ said Guardiola. ‘The last month, more or less everybody plays and plays a lot of minutes.

‘It’s the only way to sustain the locker room. If not, then in February we will die.’

Daily Mail