Southgate confirms Sterling start but stays quiet on Kane and captaincy

The Three Lions boss did not want to give Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman any clues ahead of their last four clash in Portugal

Gareth Southgate would not say if Raheem Sterling will captain England in their Nations League semi-final against Netherlands as he is unsure if star striker Harry Kane will start. 

Sterling will make his 50th appearance for the national team when they take on Ronald Koeman's team in Portugal on Thursday. 

Kane returned from injury to feature for Tottenham in the Champions League final last week and is part of the squad for the midweek clash. 

Reports this week said that Manchester City star Sterling would take the captain's armband in Kane's absence from the starting XI, but Three Lions boss Southgate stayed quiet when asked if the Spurs star would be included. 

"If I confirmed anything about the team other than Raheem playing I would be doing half of Ronald [Koeman's] job for him. If I tell you Harry Kane's playing tomorrow I'm giving Ronald half the team as well," he told reporters. 

"I don't want to discuss the captaincy. Harry Kane is our captain. If Harry Kane doesn't play I have a decision to make. At this moment in time, I'm not prepared to do that." 

Sterling says he does not know if he will lead the team against the Dutch, but said he would be proud to fill the void left by Kane as he reaches a half century of caps. 

“That’s something that is down to the manager," he said. 

"That’s not for me to decide but if the manager did do that it is something I would do proudly for sure." 

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He added: "Growing up and watching a lot of England games you always had a dream to play for England but I never thought one day I would be able to say, if the manager picks me or not, that I would be in with a chance to make my 50th cap.  

"It's a massive achievement for me and it's something that I will treasure for the rest of my life and so will my family.  

"To my 17-year-old self, I would say just keep going, keep enjoying your football and keep learning. That's the most important message really."