Doncaster Rovers: Kazaiah Sterling determined to take chance to shine as he begins quest to follow Spurs superstars
“They're top players, every single day in training. They’re just always trying to improve.”
A standard has been set for Kazaiah Sterling to follow and he is determined to do just that.
The benchmark he is attempting to reach happens to have been marked out by England's current top striker and an Asian Cup winning forward. A pair of Champions League finalists at that.
The Tottenham Hotspur loanee lists clubmates Harry Kane and Son Heung-min as the two players he looks to learn from whenever he shares the same pitch at Spurs’ Enfield Training Centre. And their constant desire for improvement has rubbed off on the impressionable 20-year-old.
Had things worked out only slightly differently, Sterling could have been spending more time in the company of Kane and Son this season, instead of playing on loan with Doncaster Rovers.
Darren Moore had marked out Sterling as an ideal loan signing early in his tenure as Rovers boss but it was not until almost a month later when he finally got his man.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had been reluctant to allow the young forward to leave, believing Sterling could provide vital back-up for his senior strikers as they battle on four demanding fronts this season.
It is Pochettino's confidence that Sterling is capable of stepping in if required that is perhaps most exciting and intriguing about his move to the Keepmoat.
Speaking to the striker himself, he gives the impression he always wanted things to turn out how they have – the chance for regular, senior match time this season as opposed to understudy.
While doing so, he is determined to improve, impress and enhance his reputation with his coaches at Tottenham in particular.
“They told me it's just a chance to showcase what I can do,” he told the Free Press.
“It’s quite a young team and I’ve got chance to do that.
“I just want to get lots of games in, score goals and be part of the team, helping them have a successful season.”
Sterling does not say a great deal in interview. His answers are short and to the point.
Though the cliche of doing talking on the pitch is well-worn, Sterling certainly made a loud and clear statement last weekend with his part in Rovers’ winning goal against Lincoln City.
Chasing down a loose ball, he barged past one defender, tricked his way past another and poked a shot on goal from a tight angle. And after it was saved, he showed the composure and wherewithal to pick out the advancing Jon Taylor to smash home the winner.
So, is that what can come to be expected of Sterling?
“I guess it is,” he said.
“Regaining the ball and being positive when I get it. When I get on the ball, especially in that part of the pitch, I just want to create something and be direct.
“I picked the ball up in the right place at the right time and it was a great finish from Jon.
“I'm a quick forward, aggressive and I'd say I’m quite strong as well."
As he looks to make his loan spell count, Sterling is confident Rovers can enjoy a successful campaign.
“It's early doors but as things stand we're unbeaten in the league," he said.
“I think we can do really well this season.
"We’ve got a really good team spirit and I think we can do really well."