Gareth Southgate: “I will not hesitate” to pick Sterling in Kosovo
England manager, Gareth Southgate says he will have no hesitation over selecting Raheem Sterling for Sunday’s Euro 202 qualifier in Kosovo.
Sterling was dropped for Thursday’s game against Montenegro at Wembley after a clash with team-mate Joe Gomez.
Southgate said, “We move forward. The way he has trained had been exemplary.
Earlier on Wednesday, Southgate said he wouldn’t imagine Sterling is ‘hugely enthusiastic’ about him after the decision he made.
“He is with the group. That is the most important thing. Sterling is a massive part of what we do-he has been, will be.” He added.
“He is with us for the game tomorrow. He is back with the team on the training pitch enjoying his football.”
England needs only a pint against Montenegro on Thursday to qualify for Euro 2020 in its 1,000th match.
Manchester City’s Sterling will be available again for Sunday’s trip to Kosovo for their final qualifier for next summer’s tournament.
Asked if he would have any hesitation about bringing the forward back into the starting XI in Pristina, Southgate said, “None, none whatsoever. We took the decision and drew a line under everything.”
Southgate has been criticized by some for his handling of the incident at England’s training camp on Monday.
He added, “I think it is always better to go through that reflection at the end of the week when I have had time at home to sit back and balance everything with the benefit of time.”
“There is always lots to take on board through any experiences as a coach, as a manager and as a player.”
Harry Maguire on Sterling and Gomez
Sterling and Gomez had an on-field argument during Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Premier League title rivals on Sunday-a day before the England squad linked up. But defender Harry Maguire said there are “definitely no cliques” between players from rival clubs.
“Everybody mixes,” said the Manchester City center-back. “We all share tables, jokes and laugh together. You have seen how good the unity in the squad is over the past couple of years.”
When asked about the team spirit, he said, “for sure it has been tested. I think it’s a good sign we have overcome it so soon.”
“Raheem and Joe are speaking and I have seen them smiling around the place. I think that is good for the team.”
“There are challenges every day, especially when you play for England. Players do just focus on training and the game.”
“The games are the most important thing. As long as we go out and perform tomorrow night everyone will be smiling.”
Many of Southgate’s players faced each other in last season’s Champions League finals as Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 five days before England’s Nations League semi-final defeat by the Netherlands.
Southgate added, “When you are involved in high-emotion games, it challenges everybody’s feelings and it is a very difficult situation for everyone to come back immediately together. We had that with the Champions League final in a different way.”
“Because we have so many of our players nearly all playing in England, it is inevitable that we are going to have those games and those rivalries.”
“But the players are very close and that has been the case right the way through the rest of the week. I don’t see that changing because they are too tight for that not to be the case.”
“What is saw on the training ground over the past couple of days, there was full focus on the game with everybody very together, laughing, enjoying their football again. That is where all of us want to be.”