Raheem Sterling endured a difficult 2020-21 season, scoring just fourteen goals in 49 appearances for Manchester City in all competitions. He was thus a surprise inclusion in Gareth Southgate's starting line-up for England's opening Euro 2020 game.
Raheem Sterling scored England's opening goal of Euro 2020 in their 1-0 win over Croatia and the only goal in the Three Lions' 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic in their final group game.
The Manchester City star also scored the first goal in England's 2-0 victory over Germany in the Round of 16 stage. He then won a penalty in extra-time against Denmark in the semi-finals.
Sterling has found his form this summer and has played a pivotal role in leading England to their first major final since 1966.
Many believed Gareth Southgate would start Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho or Marcus Rashford ahead of Sterling at Euro 2020. The 26-year-old has, however, proven himself to be one of England's standout performers in the tournament.
England defender and Sterling's Manchester City teammate John Stones believes the winger deserves to win the player of the tournament award at Euro 2020.
"I've said it all along but I'm a big fan of Raheem's. I believe and I'd love to see him get player of the tournament. What he's done for us and the unselfish part of his game goes unspoken about," said Stones.
"But as players we see it. He's been a great threat going forward with how direct he's ben in the games and it has been great playing with him. I'm sure he will be giving everything on Sunday, being that direct, and hopefully get another goal and see where it takes us."
Raheem Sterling's directness and pace could be the key for England in their bid to win the Euro 2020 final against Italy
Roberto Mancini's Italy side have proven themselves to be one of the most tactically and defensively sound international sides. Italy did, however, struggle to cope with the pace and directness of Belgium winger Jeremy Doku in their 2-1 quarter-final victory over Roberto Mancini's side.
Raheem Sterling's pace and dribbling could be key to England finding a way past Italy's resolute defense. Italy centre-backs Georginio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonuccia lack the pace to cope with the likes of Sterling, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho.