Raheem Sterling England World Cup 2022Getty

Explained: Why Raheem Sterling has remarkably been left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad for the fifth time in a row

  • Sterling ignored By Southgate
  • Missed England call-up for the fifth consecutive time
  • Southgate insists the door remains open

WHAT HAPPENED? The Chelsea forward hasn't featured for England since the World Cup quarter-final in December 2022. Although Sterling was injured for the opening round of Euro 2024 in March, he has now been ignored for the next four consecutive England call-ups.

Southgate explained that the team had been performing well and, as he wanted to maintain that momentum with the same group of players, he had no choice but to keep the 28-year-old winger out of the squad for their upcoming Euro 2024 Qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia. However, the manager emphasised Sterling's quality and importance to the squad, and insisted that the door remains open for his return in the future.

WHAT THEY SAID: "The door is 100 per cent open, not only for Raheem," the Three Lions boss told reporters on Thursday. "We don't need to know about his quality or personality. He is a crucial part of why we've had the journey we've had last few years. I can only repeat, the team is playing really well. We had an exceptional win here against Italy... who do we leave out to put him in? It's as simple as that."

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On being asked whether he is upset with the player for any reason, he added: "No. Who am I leaving out to put him in? He wasn't available in March or June so the team started on a good run. We won in Italy for the first time in 60 years. The two performances in June were excellent. We've stuck with that group pretty much throughout this qualification campaign and deliberately not made many changes. Performances have been excellent. Raheem's looking dangerous for his club, he looks invigorated since the start of this season. The door is absolutely open."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: After a barren run in front of goal for the bulk of the Premier League's opening matches, Sterling is gradually regaining his touch and boasts three goal contributions in the last four matches for the Blues. He was a livewire in the wide areas against Tottenham and set up Nicolas Jackson to give Chelsea the lead for the first time in the 75th minute, which culminated in a 4-1 win over their derby rivals.


Sterling EnglandGettyGareth Southgate England 2023Getty ImagesRaheem Sterling Chelsea Brentford Premier League 2023-24Getty

WHAT NEXT? Sterling will have a point to prove to Southgate when Chelsea host Manchester City on Sunday in a Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge, after which he will enjoy a rest period.