Sterling backs himself to end England goal drought sooner rather than laterThe Manchester City striker has not scored for his country since October 2015, almost a year before Gareth Southgate took the reins
Ian Wright believes that the criticism faced by Manchester City and England star Raheem Sterling is motivated by racism.
Sterling has established himself as one of the Premier League's top talents since moving to the Etihad Stadium in 2015.
But despite enjoying a breakout season last term in helping City to the title, the player has been a regular target for certain sectors of the media.
A mediocre World Cup only heightened that criticism, but Wright claims there are other factors behind the jibes.
"How many people do you see get the criticism Sterling gets?" Wright asked on Radio Five Live.
"The football criticism is something every player has to deal with, but what he gets I don't see any other footballer getting.
"They don't get that stick because for whatever reason they don't rub up the people in the corridors of power the wrong way. I think there is an agenda against him.
"There is an element of people at high end of the media who want to keep that guy down. Simple.
"When you look at the wave of criticism that he takes, there is a certain amount of racism towards it - what else can it be?
"They are picking on him because of the the background he has come from and they want to keep him down, drag him back down. They don't want him to continue to be a success.
"People say you are playing the racism card, but you give me a good reason why Raheem Sterling gets the stick he gets for just being a footballer."
Sterling kicked off the Premier League season with a goal against Wright's former club Arsenal, as the defending champions cruised to a 2-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.