When it comes to improvement in a short space of time, no player this season can match up to Raheem Sterling.
The 23-year-old’s composure in front of goal, his stamina and aggression on the ball this year, are streets away from his erratic performances in previous seasons, as he fast emerges as one of Pep Guardiola’s key assets.
With his ability making him a firm premier league star, we’ve looked at how Sterling, and four other players have not only survived the toughest league in the world but thrived.
Kevin De Bruyne
Since his move to Manchester City from Wolfsburg in 2015, Kevin De Bruyne has been undoubtedly brilliant, but this year he has proved he’s worth every penny of his £54 million price tag.
Player of the Year betting odds from online bookmakers would suggest that this year’s award in the Premier League is heading De Bruyne’s way. Looking at how instrumental he’s been in City’s title charge this season, it’s not hard to understand why.
De Bruyne looks like he’s going to break both his record for goals and assists in the Premier League, highlighting his improvement with every game.
Regarded by some as City’s ‘puppet master’, the Belgian has dropped deeper into central midfield, and has the range of eagle-eyed passing to cut through most defences.
He has a presence in this Manchester City side like no other, with manager Pep Guardiola recently backing him to win the 2018 Ballon D’or.
In 2012, Sir Alex Ferguson claimed ahead of one of Jesse Lingard’s many loan moves, that Warrington-born midfielder would begin to show how brilliant he was at the age of 24, comparing his development to that of Jean Tigana, who played for France during the 1980s.
Now 25, Lingard has become a vital player in Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side, with 12 goals and four assists to his name in all competitions so far.
Lingard has become more adaptable as a player and can be utilised in more positions, but especially effective across the front four.
Credited with making some of the most intelligent runs in the Premier League, it’s no surprise that he’s become even more effective of late.
With free bets being offered across some of the UK’s top bookmakers, it may be worth a wager on Lingard heading away with England to Russia this summer.
When you’re playing week in, week out, amongst the likes of Dele Alli and especially Harry Kane, it can be hard to command a starting berth.
Tottenham winger Heung-min Son has been exceptional this season, regardless of whether he started games on the bench.
This season, the former Bayer Leverkusen playmaker, who already boasts eight goals this campaign, is set to at least match the 14 league goals he scored last year.
In European competition he is also making a major difference, scoring the winner against Borussia Dortmund away from home, helping finish first in a group they weren’t expected to escape.
According to BBC pundit Garth Brooks, the South Korean is one of the Premier League’s most improved footballers.
It’s mad to think that Raheem Sterling was almost out the exit door in the summer transfer window.
With 20 goals and 6 assists in all competitions this season, Sterling is reportedly in line for a bumper new deal with Manchester City, as Pep Guardiola looks to tie down the winger that has won him over more and more as the season has progressed.
It goes without saying that Sterling has particularly improved most in front of goal, and has become a very ruthless forward in a City side full of goal scorers.
Sterling’s incredible form this season is admired by England manager Gareth Southgate, who is likely to give the winger a place on the plane to Russia as the Three Lions fly off in a bid to end their 52-year World Cup drought.
A midfielder that didn’t have it all his own way at the start of last season, Abdoulaye Doucouré has become one of the Premier League’s most sought-after midfielders, following a string of impressive performances for Watford.
After being frozen out of the first half of the last campaign by former manager Walter Mazzarri, this season Doucouré has become an influential figure for the Hornets, scoring seven league goals in 26 appearances.
He is hoping that his current form will earn him a first international cap for France, as he’s previously spoken of his “undervalue” in his homeland.
Transfer betting odds on a move to a big name Premier League club are looking more promising by the day for Doucouré, with Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool reportedly fighting it out for his signature.
If his form continues to go from strength to strength, expect some market movers in the betting market for the Frenchman’s next club.
Player improvement is not a rarity in the Premier League, but it’s a massive ask to produce high standards week after week.
It goes without saying that significant improvements can only be made when a player is playing consistently.