News Matches

Southgate backs Sterling's decision to return to England after break-in but admits it's 'not good preparation' for France World Cup clash

3:47 PM GMT+4 09/12/2022
Raheem Sterling England World Cup 2022
Gareth Southgate was fully supportive of Raheem Sterling’s decision to leave England’s World Cup camp after a break-in at his family home.
  • Chelsea star left Three Lions camp
  • Has since returned to Qatar
  • Quarter-final clash next on the agenda

WHAT HAPPENED? The Chelsea forward left Qatar and returned to the UK once it emerged that his house had been targeted by burglars, with serious concerns raised over the security of his family. Southgate can appreciate why Sterling wanted to step away from international duty and is delighted to have welcomed him back into the Three Lions fold now that the issue has been resolved.

WHAT THEY SAID: Southgate has said: “He has felt the need to support his family and to be there for his family and that is a simple decision for me – I have to support the player. There are moments for every individual where family becomes most important. I’m always supportive of that. Of course I want the best players available and want to win football matches but as a manager you have to recognise there are certain moments in people’s lives that are more important at that particular time.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Sterling has linked up with the England squad again, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka have been impressing in wide attacking roles at Qatar 2022 and Southgate concedes that the man with 81 caps to his name may not walk straight back into his side. The Three Lions boss added: “We will have to assess that. He has missed a lot of training and had two long flights. That is not good preparation for a game of this standard but let’s see how he is.”


WHAT NEXT? England are due to face France in a heavyweight World Cup quarter-final on Saturday, with Southgate needing to decide whether he sticks with a winning formula from the last-16 clash with Senegal or shuffles his pack again for more knockout football.