STERLING AXED BY ENGLAND AFTER CLASH WITH GOMEZ
▶ City winger admits emotions got the better of him as Southgate tries to draw line under incident
Raheem Sterling has admitted emotions got the better of him after he was suspended from the England squad following a canteen clash with Joe Gomez.
Manchester City winger Sterling clashed with Liverpool’s Gomez after the England team met up at their Burton-onTrent training centre on Monday – less than 24 hours after City lost 3-1 at Liverpool during which the pair also had an altercation on the pitch.
Sterling had fallen out with Gomez towards the end of the top-of-the-table clash at Anfield which left City nine points behind leaders Liverpool, and the emotions spilled over.
It was reported that Sterling attempted to grab Gomez by the neck following his arrival in the players’ canteen at St George’s Park.
The English Football Association confirmed Sterling would not be considered for selection for the Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro tomorrow as a result but he still trained with squad yesterday and could play against Kosovo on Sunday.
“Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on,” Sterling said on Instagram. “We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.
“This is why we play this sport because of our love for it -- me and Joe Gomez are good, we both understand it was a five to 10-second thing... it’s done, we move forward and not make this bigger than it is.”
Sterling is understood to have apologised to Gomez and the squad after the altercation. Gomez and the squad accepted his apology.
England manager Gareth Southgate said in a hastily-organised press conference yesterday that he would rather deal with the matter publicly now than let it fester until his usual meeting with the media on the eve of matches.
Southgate said: “Raheem in his [social media] post last night explained for a very brief moment his emotions ran over. It would be correct to say that’s not the same for Joe.
“We are dealing with a very young squad in a sport where emotions often run high. These things happen in football. My priority is always the care and well being of all my players. All my players.
“Then you have a decision to make as to whether there needs to be something further, which is my reasoning for not selecting Raheem.”
However, he emphasised a line had been drawn under the incident. “I love all of my players,” he said. “We are like a family and all families have disagreements.
“The reality is I’m not prepared to go into details. There is enough conjecture and opinion and talk out there and we don’t need to add to it.
“As a group we’ve decided the best way forward and we’re in agreement on that. We move on from there.”
Sterling has become a key player for England in the past year after being criticised for his displays at the 2018 World Cup. Last season, he was named Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association after scoring 25 goals in all competitions as City won a domestic treble of the Premier League title and the two cup competitions.
Sterling has scored 12 goals in 55 games for England and has been a regular under Southgate.
England top Group A and will guarantee a place at the finals with a draw against Montenegro.
We are like a family and all families have disagreements. The reality is I’m not prepared to go into details GARETH SOUTHGATE England manager