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England v Montenegro

Southgate has made the right decision to drop Sterling - Neville

9:53 pm AEDT 12/11/19
Raheem Sterling Gareth Southgate England 2018
Having excluded the Manchester City star after his bust-up with Joe Gomez, the England manager has received some welcome support

Gareth Southgate has made "the right decision" to drop Raheem Sterling after his confrontation with Joe Gomez, according to Gary Neville.

Sterling will not feature in England's Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro on Thursday, after what the Football Association have described as "a disturbance in a private team area".

Sterling admitted via his Instagram on Tuesday that he and Gomez had "a five to 10 second thing" and that "emotions got the better of me" while clearing the air with the Liverpool defender.

Sterling and Gomez squared up to each other during the Reds' 3-1 win against Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday, with their club rivalry spilling over into the England camp, and speaking about the incident on Monday, Southgate said: "Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday's game were still raw.

"One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we've been able to separate club rivalries from the national team.

"We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday. 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."

Asked for his view on Southgate's decision, former England and Manchester United stalwart Gary Neville told Sky Sports: "I've been involved in quite a few of these things over the years with England and there is no right or wrong in a way, in the sense that I've seen managers sweep it under the carpet, and try to keep a low profile on these sorts of things.

"I've also seen managers go public, as Gareth has. What I would say is that the decision that Gareth has made... I feel like it's the right one without knowing the detail of what's gone on.

"There's nothing worse than sweeping it under the carpet, and then all the players going back to their own rooms they all share together, and having that feeling that they're all talking about you being weak, and that you've not dealt with it because he's a big player and [you have] shied away from a big decision.

"So I feel that it's the right decision. Ultimately, if it's an incident that's happened in front of the rest of the squad that couldn't be dealt with internally and there was a breach of discipline then the manager has to act."

Sterling has remained with the squad and could return for England's final qualifier against Kosovo on Sunday. Still, not everyone feels the same way as Neville.

Rio Ferdinand has claimed that the incident "could have been handled better" and should have been dealt with "behind closed doors".