Former England defender Sol Campbell believes Raheem Sterling must be protected by the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) in order to ensure he makes the most of his talent.
Sterling has received criticism in certain quarters after openly discussing his contract situation in an interview with the BBC at the beginning of April, with ex-Liverpool skipper Jamie Carragher labelling the 20-year-old's decision to go public on his refusal to sign a new deal as a "PR disaster".
Images have since emerged of Sterling appearing to inhale laughing gas, prompting further negative headlines.
Yet Campbell believes more leeway should be given to a player growing up under the media spotlight.
"He's one of the most talented English players coming out of this country. Do not destroy him," Campbell told the Guardian.
"Wayne Rooney did a lot of stuff, he got some flak, but it was almost overlooked. 'Oh, you've been a bad boy, let's overlook it again.'
"Raheem Sterling is one of the most talented men coming out of this country. Wake up, PFA. Press wake up and protect this boy.
"Yes, he's young. Yes, things will happen, and pay him the money because he's worth it."
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.