England and Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has said the criticism he received in the build-up to Euro 2016 was his “most difficult time.”
Sterling, 21, had a disappointing season with City in 2015-16 and he struggled to impress for England during the European Championship, with his displays coming in for scrutiny.
However, the former Liverpool player has been in superb form this campaign under new City boss Pep Guardiola, scoring five goals in all competitions.
“The most difficult time was just before the Euros,” Sterling told The Premier League Show in quotes reported by the Daily Mirror.
“The pre-warm up games and hearing negative stories before the tournament had even started.
“You’re going away to try and represent your country and trying to do the best you can for your country.
“You’re not getting the support that any player needs, not just a younger player.”
Sterling went on to praise former Bayern Munich manager Guardiola, who replaced Manuel Pellegrini at City this summer.
He said: “It’s really good when a football coach talks to you about football but then he shows that he wants you to do well.
“He gives you little details and instances of when it’s happened with players he’s dealt with. It was a real eye opener.”