How the couple who homed Raheem Sterling when he moved to Liverpool have watched the 'lovely' boy become an England hero

Peter and Sandra Reeves housed Raheem Sterling when he made his move to Liverpool as a boy. Credit: ITV News/PA

The couple who looked after Raheem Sterling as a teenager when he moved to Liverpool to play for the team have spoken about how they have proudly watched the “lovely” boy they met become an England hero.

Peter and Sandra Reeves acted as surrogate parents when Sterling, then just 15, moved north to Liverpool to continue his steps to turn professional.

The “lovely” and “confident” boy who the Reeves treated as their own is leading England’s charge to win their first silverware since 1966 at Euro 2020.

The 26-year-old is England’s top scorer with three goals and has captured the public’s imagination with his performances at Wembley Stadium, just streets away from where he grew up.

But around 200 miles north of there, in Liverpool, he had a home away from home – and it’s where the Reeves family couldn’t have been happier to watch his progress.

“It’s wonderful, it’s absolutely wonderful because he deserves it,” Ms Reeves told ITV News.

“He’s put the work in to get where he is… and it’s lovely to see it coming to fruition now with England, it must be lovely for him.”

Recalling what it was like to meet young Raheem Sterling

More than a decade ago, before Sterling began lighting up the Premier League with Liverpool, the young star had the choice of a few clubs, Mr Reeves said.

“But he came around the house and went around the academy and the school and then decided Liverpool’s the one with us, which is nice,” he added.

And while they have always known who the real Raheem is, elements of the press have been critical of the Manchester City star.

Asked if they felt the representations they would see of Sterling were unfair, Mr Reeves said: “Yeah, I did, particularly the Liverpool fans who were against him because he went to City.

“They think he should have stayed here, but no – he’s got to look after himself, he’s got to make his own career, so there’s nothing wrong in that.”

Sandra Reeves tells the story of Sterling offering his clothes to another boy

Ms Reeves agreed and recalled Sterling's generous nature even as a young boy.

“He is such a lovely lad… I could tell the tale of one of the boys that came over. He had the clothes he stood up in, but very, very little (else),” she said.

“And I said to Raheem once ‘listen, he hasn’t got many clothes to wear, could you give him something of yours?’

“And Raheem just said ‘oh, just go in my room and take what you want' – that’s Raheem, you know… I could have taken his wardrobe.”

And it was his kind nature combined with his football skills that convinced both of them that Sterling, who is still in touch with the couple and even texted them on Friday, was set for the top.

Ms Reeves remembered one game – when Sterling was 15 – in which he scored five goals at Anfield.

“We were jumping out of seats,” she said.

“We knew from the very beginning,” said Mr Reeves. “I just hope he carries on.”