The Manchester City forward suffered an indifferent debut campaign at the Etihad Stadium following his move from Liverpool, scoring six goals in 31 Premier League games, and only twice in 21 appearances in the second half of the season.
And the youngster’s hopes of putting his 2015/16 teething troubles behind him weren’t helped by England’s dismal display at the European Championship, with Sterling criticised following his group-stage displays against Russia and Wales.
As a result, the 21-year-old has dropped down to number 57 in the FFT100, but a series of impressive showings under new manager Pep Guardiola – contributing to six goals in his first 12 league games – ensures he is still the leading English player.
Like last year, four of the Three Lions’ contingent make the final 100, but the 2016 edition of the list features two brand new entries and one headline absentee.
Harry Kane rises 18 places after netting 20+ league goals for the second season in succession, as Spurs came a whisker away from winning a first title since 1960/61.
While Jamie Vardy’s 24 league goals in 2015/16, firing Leicester City to a fairytale title success, sees the former Fleetwood Town frontman make his FFT100 debut.
And Dele Alli features in the game’s elite group for the first time after a stunning first season at the highest level, scoring 10 Premier League goals, assisting a further nine and netting on only his fourth senior appearance for England.
Disappearing from the Top 100 in 2016 are goalkeeper Joe Hart, who made high-profile mistakes against Wales and Iceland at the European Championship, before being ousted from his No.1 role at Manchester City by new manager Guardiola.
But the biggest absentee comes in the form of England’s record goalscorer, Wayne Rooney, who had featured in all nine previous editions of FFT’s annual list.
The Manchester United striker placed as high as 6th in 2011, but having only just retained his place in the list last year, the Merseysider bows out for the first time.
FOURFOURTWO’S BEST 100 FOOTBALL PLAYERS IN THE WORLD 2016
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