Raheem Sterling’s axing from England’s clash against Montenegro was ‘the right thing’ for the national team, Gareth Southgate has explained following the Manchester City man’s bust-up with Joe Gomez.
Sterlingwill take no part in Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier after an on-pitch row in Sunday’s titanic title showdownspilled over into England training the following day.
Although Ster ling is believed to have later apologized, Three Lions boss Southgate said the 24 – year-old had been dropped from the squad on order to prevent the England team being compromised by club rivalries.
Southgate said on Monday: “We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday.
“One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we’ve been able to separate club rivalries from the national team. Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday’s game were still raw.
“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.”
The feud between Sterling and Gomez started during Liverpool’s win at Anfield which sent them nine points clear of chief title rivals City.
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When the players reported for duty at St George’s Park, Sterling is understood to have tried to provoke a reaction from Gomez, with witnesses saying they heard him ask the Liverpool defender whether he was “still the big man.”
Gomez kept his cool and resisted getting involved but was left fuming by the row and was shocked that Sterling would react in such a way.
It is believed Gomez is still angry but Southgate will be hoping his action has defused the row.
Sterling is still with the squad and could play against Kosovo on Sunday.