Raheem Sterling
Liverpool want Sterling to extend his contractGetty Images

Former Liverpool player John Barnes has urged Raheem Sterling to stay at Anfield for three more years before considering a move abroad to Real Madrid or Barcelona.

The Sky Sports pundit believes that it is too early for Sterling to switch and a move to a club in the same echelon as that of Real Madrid or Barcelona will put unnecessary pressure on his career.

The England international has been in brilliant form over the past couple of seasons and has been linked with a move to the best clubs in Europe as he negotiates with Liverpool an extension on his current contract.

Barnes cites examples of Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell, who made the jump to Manchester City too early and are now struggling to kickstart their career, having served an extended period on the bench, amid competition from a plethora of world class alternatives.

Liverpool have a similar example in Michael Owen, who had a brilliant career at Anfield before moving to Real Madrid, where he failed to live up to the billing and was handed an ignominious return to the Premier League.

"If I was Raheem Sterling I would stay with Liverpool for the next three years," Barnes told Hinch.as, as quoted by Goal.com.

"I've seen it with other young players, a lot to do with their agents, a lot to do with the money they have been offered, that they rush off to big clubs.

"Of course Liverpool is a big club, but the temptation must be to go to Real Madrid or Barcelona or wherever, but the danger is that you can be lost to the game, and I can give you so many examples, like Jack Rodwell who went too early to Manchester City and Scott Sinclair who also went to Manchester City.

"With all due respect to clubs like that, they might turn out to be worse for them, and they end up going back and then not getting a move again.

"I would advise young players not to rush, but to stay at their clubs until they are 23 or 24.

"I went to Liverpool at the age of 23 by which time I was a 35-cap international players who could handle it," he concluded.