​England manager, Gareth Southgate believes that Raheem Sterling has what it takes to become the best footballer in the world ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, claiming that, "he's got the professionalism and the ability".

Sterling has become an integral player for both club and country in the last two years and was at it once again during the Euro 2020 qualifiers, where he notched up his eighth goal in as many international games while also registering three assists.

With Messi and Ronaldo entering the latter stages of their illustrious careers, Southgate believes that race to be called the best footballer in the world is hotting up.

"In terms of can he fulfill it, he'll give himself every chance of doing that. There are obviously some outstanding players around, the [Eden] Hazards, the [Kevin] De Bruynes, Messi and Ronaldo. But he's got the drive, he's got the professionalism, he's got the ability. He's physically and mentally strong for such a small statured lad," Southgate said as quoted by ​Dailymail.

The 24-year-old who was heavily criticised at the start of his career for being "wasteful" and a "one trick pony" has benefited from playing under Pep Guardiola at ​Manchester City for whom he has been impressive, scoring 75 goals in 196 appearances ever since moving to the Etihad from Liverpool in 2015.