The Manchester City midfielder tipped his club team-mate to impress in Russia with the pair set to square off when England play Belgium on June 28.
De Bruyne believes Sterling is a man for the big occasion and has thick enough skin to ignore recent criticism.
Raheem Sterling can ‘light up’ the World Cup, according to Kevin De Bruyne
The England forward has impressed all season and is a man for the big occasion
He told the Mirror: ‘He’s a special player. This season he was playing at such a high level and he’s only going to get better.
‘He’s a winner — any criticism he has faced in the last few weeks I know he will just ignore.
ENGLAND VS BELGIUM
June 28 – Kaliningrad Stadium (7:00pm, ITV)
‘At Manchester City he’s so focused on success and I know he would have the same attitude with England.’
With enormous pressure on football’s biggest stage, De Bruyne thinks the 23-year-old will relish the limelight.
De Bruyne believes Sterling will be able to shrug off any criticism that comes his way
‘He scored many goals last season, but he scored important goals too — goals that won games in the last minute – and that takes a special type of player.
‘On the big occasions he has the confidence — that is why I think he will light up the World Cup,’ he added.
Sterling received criticism for a gun tattoo on his leg that divided opinion. The City forward subsequently explained that it was in memory of his late father who lost his life in a shooting.