LONDON: England manager Gareth Southgate insists his England squad are ready to move past the altercation between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez, likening the dramatic development to a family disagreement.
The Football Association announced on Monday that Sterling would not be considered for Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro, after an incident involving Gomez at the team’s St George’s Park training camp.
The pair had been involved in an on-field clash during Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday, with tensions seemingly still running high as the players convened for Three Lions duty. The pair both trained on Tuesday morning, before Southgate brought forward his usual media appearance by 24 hours to address the issue.
He was careful not to offer too many details – there was no elaboration on an apparent scratch beneath Gomez’s right eye, suggestions that Sterling was initially sent home before being summoned back to camp or on the role of other individuals. Instead he attempted to draw the sting from the issue, emphasising that a line was being drawn.
What was clear from his opening statement, though, was that Gomez was absolved of blame.
Southgate said: “Raheem in his (social media) post last night explained for a very brief moment his emotions ran over. It would be correct to say that’s not the same for Joe.
“We are dealing with a very young squad in a sport where emotions often run high. These things happen in football. My priority is always the care and well being of all my players. All my players.
“Then you have a decision to make as to whether there needs to be something further, which is my reasoning for not selecting Raheem for the game on Thursday.”