“Only as a team can we can we find a solution [to stop Sterling]. Or we break the leg! But that is not our style, we are too nice”
Last Updated: 16 / 11 / 19 6: 34 PM
The only way Kosovo can stop Raheem Sterling is by breaking his leg, their coach Bernard Challandes has joked.
England are in Pristina for the first time on Sunday for the final game of their European Qualifier campaign, with progression into the Euro 2020 finals as group winners already confirmed.
Sterling is expected to start for the visitors having been sidelined for the 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro on Thursday as punishment for his training ground row with Liverpool defender Joe Gomez.
How Sterling’s row with Joe Gomez unfolded in the England camp
- Sterling to start vs Kosovo
- Kane urges England fans to get behind players
(Gomez and Henderson out of Kosovo game)
Challandes believes it is bad news for his side that Sterling will be back and looking to make a point on his return to the team.
“For us it is not good news for sure,” he said. “It is double bad news because if Sterling plays he is one of the best in his position in the world and we saw in the first game the trouble with Sterling.
” Secondly, if I am Sterling I think in this game I must show good behavior. I think if Kosovo play against England and we know exactly the offensive potential, we have no individual answer – it is only collective work.
“It is clear if we remember the first game in England, if Sterling has so much space it is impossible to stop him because what he did in that game, it was 460 Meters with high intensity.
“The most intense player for the Czech Republic was 200 meters, even that is a good score. Only as a team can we do and can we find a solution. Or we break the leg!
“But that is not our style, we are too nice – we are a team who are very, very, very nice but it is not a problem if we play together. “
Kosovo can no longer qualify directly after suffering a narrow defeat in the Czech Republic but will be in the play-offs and Challandes will want to build on their performance in a 5-3 loss to England at St Mary’s earlier in the year.
Southgate’s side have racked up 33 goals in qualifying – three more than the next most potent side Belgium, who have played one more game – with Challandes now believing England are the best team in Europe.
“If you can remember when we began this European Qualifiers I have always spoken about new experiences and progress, about improving, “he added.