Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is more mature than last season and performing at a higher level, according to manager Pep Guardiola.
Sterling scored 23 goals in all competitions as City won the Premier League and EFL Cup last term and started six matches for England in their run to the World Cup semi-finals, although he failed to find the net at Russia 2018.
Heading into Saturday's home match with Brighton and Hove Albion, the 23-year-old already has three league goals to his name this time around and Guardiola is impressed by his all-round contribution.
"I think his performances are higher. My feeling is that he's more mature than last season," the City boss told reporters.
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"I like it. Sometimes it's about the statistics but also how he produces it. Maybe I'm wrong but my feeling is that he believes in himself more, he is taking on more responsibility. That's good.
"Maybe the stats are wrong. But our target is to make them feel better than the previous season."
Negotiations between City and Sterling's representatives over a new deal are ongoing, with his present contract expiring in June 2020.
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