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Raheem Sterling has lifted the lid on his frustrations at Manchester City after playing a bit-part role as Pep Guardiola's side surged to the Premier League title.
Sterling, 26, managed just 10 goals in the top flight last season – half his total for the previous campaign – and found himself out of the starting XI for key matches.
Guardiola benched the England international in the Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals as Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden hit excellent veins of form.
Sterling has subsequently been linked with a transfer away from the Etihad, with Arsenal and Barcelona believed to be monitoring the situation.
Sterling found himself on the bench for key Champions League fixtures last season
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)
And in a clear indication of his frame of mind at City, Sterling has admitted he is "not happy" when he finds himself out of the starting line-up.
"It is just happiness, just being happy, enjoying my football and that is what I am doing being here with the national team," said Sterling, who is currently with the Three Lions at Euro 2020.
"If you're not playing, you're not happy. That's me, that's been me since I was a kid, if I'm playing football I am really happy, if I'm not I'm not happy."
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Despite slipping down the pecking order at times last season, Sterling still managed an impressive total of 26 goals or assists in all competitions.
Guardiola insists there can be no room for sulking in his squad and simply explained those outside of his XI must "prove" why they deserve to start.
The City boss was speaking after a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace at the start of May, which followed a Champions League first-leg triumph over PSG.
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"Eight players didn’t play in Paris and they were sad," said Guardiola. "Happy for the team but they were sad for not playing.
"Imagine you want to do your job but a guy tells you that you can’t. The best way to answer me, prove me wrong and feel guilty, is on the grass. Today they did it.
"Raheem responded like he responded in the Carabao Cup final and (Aymeric) Laporte was outstanding. I rotate the players a lot. When one guy wants to always play it’s not the right place to be."
Sterling joined City from Liverpool for a fee in the region of £50million in 2015 and has gone on to plunder 114 goals and 87 assists in 292 appearances for the Etihad club.
He has also amassed eight major winners' medals in that time: three Premier Leagues, one FA Cup and four Carabao Cups.
Meanwhile, Sterling scored the winner in England's victory over Croatia in their Euro 2020 opener, but his place in the side is under threat after an ineffectual showing against Scotland.