Leeds [UK], Nov 14 : England coach Gareth Southgate has praised midfielder Raheem Sterling for a showing a positive reaction after being suspended for England’s upcoming match in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Sterling was told that he would not be considered for England’s next match against Montenegro after an incident during a training ground session involving Joe Gomez.
“His reaction has been brilliant. He spoke to the team really well and he has trained really well and I cannot fault his reaction at all. So, there might be an observation about where he might be in terms of me and giving you an honest answer of what I think he’s likely to be thinking. But in terms of how he’s trained and how he’s been around the guys and with us, I’m happy,” Goal.com quoted Southgate as saying.
Southgate also revealed that Sterling would indeed play England’s match on Sunday against Kosovo.
“Yes. Without knowing what might happen in the game against Montenegro and everything else, but I can see that being the case,” Southgate said.
The coach also explained that the incident between Sterling and Gomez would not affect his decision about the composition of the side.
“I am not going to pick the whole team for the next two games, but whatever decision I make, what happened on Monday won’t have any bearing on selection for the next two games,” Southgate said.
“Joe is up against three outstanding, experienced centre-backs at his club. But he’s a young defender and we’ve always thought highly of him as a player and as a character. So he’s developing well,” he added.
Earlier it was confirmed by the Football Association that Sterling would miss the match against Montenegro.
“We can confirm Raheem Sterling will not be considered for England’s EURO 2020 qualifier against Montenegro as a result of a disturbance in a private team area at St. George’s Park. He will remain with the squad,” the FA had said in an official statement.
As per media reports, Sterling and Joe Gomez clashed during the training session on Monday.
The duo was also involved in a heated discussion during Sunday’s Premier League clash between Liverpool and Manchester City.
England’s coach Gareth Southgate had also indicated towards the Liverpool-Manchester City clash being behind the Raheem Sterling incident.
“We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday. One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we’ve been able to separate club rivalries from the national team. Unfortunately, the emotions of yesterday’s game were still raw,” Southgate had said.
“My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken. Now that the decision has been made with the agreement of the entire squad, it’s important that we support the players and focus on Thursday night,” he added.
During England’s 6-0 against Bulgaria in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, Sterling scored twice.
England will next take on Montenegro in the qualifying tournament later today.