The Manchester City and England winger highlighted how ex-Pompey skipper Sol Campbell hasn’t been given the right opportunities in management – as opposed to the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
Sterling made the comments during an appearance on the BBC's flagship political programme, Newsnight. They were in the wake of anti-racism protests that have taken hold across the world following George Floyd's death at the hands of police in the United States.
Reflecting on football, Sterling pointed a finger at the long-running disparity between the number of high-profile BAME players and the dearth of those who go on to win significant managerial, coaching or administrative jobs.
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He said how Lampard and Gerrard – both former England internationals – have top managerial jobs at Chelsea and Glasgow Rangers respectively.
However, Campbell – who skippered the Blues to FA Cup glory in 2008 and won the Premier League with Arsenal – has been forced to settle for roles in charge of League Two Macclesfield and League One strugglers Southend.
Sterling said: ‘This is a time to speak on these subjects, speak on injustice, especially in my field.
‘There's something like 500 players in the Premier League and a third of them are black and we have no representation of us in the hierarchy, no representation of us in the coaching staffs. There's not a lot of faces that we can relate to and have conversations with.
‘With these protests that are going on it's all well and good just talking, but it's time that we need to have conversations, to be able to spark debates. But at same time, it's coming together and finding a solution to be able to spark change because we can talk as much as we want about changing and putting people, black people, in these positions that I do feel they should be in.
‘I'll give a perfect one. There's Steven Gerrard, your Frank Lampards, you have your Sol Campbells and you have your Ashley Coles. All had great careers, all played for England.
‘At the same time, they've all respectfully done their coaching badges to coach at the highest level and the two that haven't been given the right opportunities are the two black former players. I feel like that's what's lacking here, it's not just taking the knee, it is about giving people the chance they deserve.’