Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has said that he would be open to playing abroad if he does not get more game time at Etihad Stadium.
The England international, whose contract runs out in 2023, said he had dreamed “from a young age” of playing abroad.
“If there was the opportunity to go somewhere else, I would be open to it,” Sterling, 26, said.
“At this moment in time, football is the most important thing to me.”
“I have always had something that maybe one day I would love to play abroad and see how I meet that challenge.”
Sterling has started one Premier League game since the opening weekend of the season, although he was in Pep Guardiola’s side for the Champions League group stage defeat by Paris St-Germain on 28 September.
The arrival of England team-mate Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for £100m has increased competition for forward places at City, although the absence of Ferran Torres for at least a month with a fractured foot does reduce Guardiola’s options.
Sterling joined City from Liverpool in 2015 and has won the Premier League three times, the FA Cup once and the EFL Cup four times.
“I am not someone who complains,” he said, speaking at the FT Business of Sport US summit. “I have not tried to make it a bigger deal than it is. I am just raring to go, play football and score regularly.”
However, it is understood Sterling will not think about signing a new deal until he is playing regularly again, which does raise the possibility of fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play overseas.
‘Racism not taken seriously enough’
Sterling told the event in London that he had stepped back from speaking about racism in public to concentrate on trying to “achieve more action within the limits of what I can do”.
The Manchester City and England winger has been targeted in the past and in the summer had to support team-mates Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka after they were racially abused after missing penalties during July’s Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy at Wembley.
“If it was comments about something else, it would be taken a lot more seriously,” he said. “Racist abuse I don’t feel, is taken as seriously as other topics.
“It is something that we are still talking about and it is still happening.”
Reflecting on the reaction to the Italy loss, Sterling added: “My main concern was the well-being of my team-mates and making sure they were all right.
“No-one likes to miss a penalty. To have the belief to step up when millions are watching and then to be racially abused afterwards, it is disappointing.”