Raheem Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward opens maelstrom of outrage with comments

Player’s future at the club plunged into disarray by Ward’s comments

Raheem Sterling is “definitely not signing” a new contract with Liverpool, his agent Aidy Ward has told the London Evening Standard. Photograph: PA

Raheem Sterling is “definitely not signing” a new contract with Liverpool, his agent Aidy Ward has told the London Evening Standard. Photograph: PA

 

The man at the centre of Raheem Sterling’s contract debacle has rarely spoken in public, but comments regarding his player’s impasse with Liverpool have opened him up to a maelstrom of outrage.

Aidy Ward has almost become the story, arguably breaking a golden rules of his trade and taking the limelight when his prize asset should be the star of the show. He has placed Sterling in an unenviable position but, judging by the tone of his reported remarks on Wednesday, he will not have been too concerned when Liverpool decided to cancel scheduled contract discussions due for Friday.

On a day when Jordon Ibe and Jon Flanagan were agreeing deals to stay at Anfield, Sterling’s future at the club plunged further into disarray. Supporters have professed their disgust at the saga, and Ward has been the target of their ire.

The 34-year-old has been criticised by Jamie Carragher and other former Liverpool players, and Brendan Rodgers has insisted the club will not be held to ransom. Something must have gone pretty wrong in recent months for the situation to come to such a head.

Ward has worked for Rob Segal’s group, Impact Sports Management, a company that employed 10 agents. He oversaw operations at Impact alongside Jonathan Orr but recently left to go it alone. Sterling and the West Brom forward Saido Berahino have remained on his books, and Ward is also close to the Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He has enjoyed working relationships with the British Olympic super heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

Controversial interviews

Sterling and Berahino spoke to the BBC and Sky respectively, discussing their futures and causing much consternation at Liverpool and West Bromwich. That said, the Albion coach, Tony Pulis, has recently talked about Berahino’s improved attitude, stating: “I can’t speak for Sterling and I can’t speak for the agent as I haven’t dealt with that. But the one thing I have said about Saido, he has been fantastic here. There’s been a real change in his attitude.”

Ward’s influence over his players has been the subject of much debate. One agent said: “Some people say he’s doing great work as an agent, some people say it’s not the right way to go about things. But he’ll never lose Raheem.”

The former Liverpool player John Aldridge was more forthright yesterday. “I bet he’s never kicked a ball in his life but thinks he knows all there is to know about the game,” he said. “He hasn’t just tarnished his own reputation he’s tarnished the reputation of Raheem Sterling. ”

Yet there are those who have worked with Ward who describe him as easy to deal with. One associate said: “He’s fairly straight-talking, he gets to the point.”

Being quoted as saying he does not care about Liverpool’s image and Carragher is “a knob” has done little to calm a combustible situation. Whether Sterling has a future at the club beyond the summer is in more doubt than ever. Guardian Service

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