Sterling dropped after Gomez clash
England and Manchester City star Raheem Sterling has been dropped from the first team for England’s Euro qualifying game against Montenegro after a confrontation with Liverpool defender Joe Gomez.
According to a statement put out by the Football Association, Sterling’s demotion for the game on Thursday was the result of a “disturbance” in the England team private area, which the player himself later confirmed on social media, though he added that the dispute had been resolved.
The players had been involved in an altercation during Liverpool’s 3-1 win against Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday, but through his Instagram account, Sterling said that they had sorted out their problems.
“Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on. We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.”
Speaking about his decision to drop Sterling for the upcoming game, England manager Gareth Southgate said that one of the strengths of the current England team is that they have been able to keep domestic club rivalries out of the international set-up.
He also said that the team fully support his decision and that they were focused on the next game.
Thursday night’s game, for which England will be strong favourites with sports betting companies, is England’s 1,000th senior international, and victory would confirm their spot at Euro 2020 with a game to spare as Southgate’s men are three points clear at the top of Group A.
In fact, a draw could be enough to secure England’s qualification if Kosovo and the Czech Republic also draw their game this week.
Sterling joined Manchester City after moving from Liverpool in 2015, and has made 55 appearances for the international side, scoring 12 goals, including a strike in the 5-1 win against Montenegro in Podgorica in March, while Gomez has earned seven international caps so far in his career.
However, the Liverpool defender has found it hard to secure regular first-team football for the Reds this season, starting only once in the Premier League, while Sterling has been a regular for Manchester City, scoring 14 goals in 17 appearances in all competitions, along with four goals for England.
Words: Josh Dixon