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

The National - News - - SPORT - DO­MINIC HART

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

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