England striker Raheem Sterling has struck fear into opponents on the way to the Euro 2020 final, says former Three Lions forward Emile Heskey.
The Manchester City attacker has attempted (32) and completed (18) more take-ons than anyone at Euro 2020 and Heskey thinks this relentless edge to the 26-year-old's game will be necessary as he is going to face the expertise of
in the Italy defence.
Raheem has showed us time and time again that he is a key player to any team that he goes into,"
"Whether it be when he was very young and was playing for Liverpool, or now as a senior pro – even though he's only 26 – playing for the for the national team and playing for Man City. He always brings something.
"You watch him when he's on the ball, he takes away three or four players that become attracted to him.
"If he gives it away, he'll inevitably be trying win it back. But when you've got four people attracted to one player, there should be ample space for others and that's what he brings to the table because everyone's so scared of him.
"He's got that pace and we see a lot of players with pace, but to be able to utilize it in the way that he does… even in extra time [against Denmark] he was driving past players and taking them on.
"Players were not wanting to get too close, because it's going to be a foul if you get too close to him. No defender wants to go anywhere near him."
But apart from the pitch, Heskey has other reasons to praise Sterling and the rest of the squad. Sterling received the MBE award last month for his efforts to strengthen racial equality while English players continue to kneel before the games.
It's fantastic. You’ve got to take your hat off to them, because again, they're getting a little bit of kickback,"
said Heskey, who was also interested in acknowledging Marcus Rashford's work in trying to resist child hunger.
"But they know that they're doing the right thing standing up for what they believe, whether it's Marcus, whether it's Raheem, whoever it is. They want to stand up for what they believe.
"The wrong people are going to try and sabotage that. But they know that they've got most of the people behind them."
He added: "
We're not just talking about fans, we're talking about all walks of life, talking about MP's saying whether it's right or wrong
"So we're having kickbacks from everywhere, but they're still pushing. They're still not listening. They're still doing what they believe is right."