Gareth Southgate has refused to supply assurances that Raheem Sterling could return for England on the World Cup – should they beat Senegal – after hinting he’ll return home to cope with a family matter. The Chelsea winger will not be available for the Three Lions this evening as they face the Africa Cup of Nations champions within the last 16 in Qatar after being granted leave by head coach Southgate.
It’s understood Sterling remained behind at England’s team HQ in Doha but Southgate has now suggested that he is about to depart camp similar to defender Ben White.
Southgate said on ITV ahead of the meeting with Senegal: “He’s coping with a family matter, I had quite a little bit of time with him this morning but now I even have needed to pass him on to other people to assist him with that.”
And when quizzed on whether this may very well be the tip of the road for Sterling at this yr’s World Cup, Southgate added: “He’s going to must cope with that matter after which we’ll take it from there.”
It’s unclear whether Sterling was in line to begin the match as Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden joined Harry Kane in attack for the Three Lions.
READ MORE: Raheem Sterling contemplating flying home from Qatar to cope with family issue
World Cup managers can now not make changes to their World Cup squads – even when a player is suffering with an injury or COVID-19.
Coaches had up until 24 hours before their opening fixtures in Qatar to make alterations – meaning Southgate is unable to exchange White and potentially Sterling, if he does indeed need to depart the group.
Southgate has also made it clear that his players are ready for penalties should spot-kicks be obligatory to separate the 2 sides after 120 minutes of motion.
His team ended the Three Lions’ barren penalty record on the World Cup in 2018 after they beat Colombia on spot-kicks before eventually losing to Italy in the ultimate of Euro 2020.
“We’re prepared. We have had a process that we have followed,” Southgate said at his pre-match press conference.
“We have won two of three shootouts and checked out how we will improve. But after all, there are such a lot of other facets we’ve to get right.
“We’re aiming to win the sport in 90 minutes and to avoid beyond regular time and penalties. But when we’d like to transcend that we’ve to be ready mentally and physically. I think we’re.”
The winners of England vs Senegal will face France within the quarter-finals next Saturday.