Raheem Sterling says ’emotions got the better of me’ after being dropped for England’s clash with Montenegro on Thursday night following his angry confrontation of Joe Gomez on international duty.
The Manchester City winger clashed with Liverpool defender Gomez during the huge clash between the two sides in the Premier League this weekend, though the 24-year-old has now been punished by Gareth Southgate for again confronting international teammate Gomez at St George’s Park after linking up for international duty.
It is claimed that Sterling said ‘You think you are the big man now?’ after he walked into a room to find Gomez laughing with some fellow players. His actions will see him dropped by Southgate for England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro this week, though he will remain with the squad ahead of their second fixture against Kosovo three days later.
Sterling has moved to clear up the incident via his Instagram account, admitting emotions were still running high following the huge Premier League clash between the title rivals at Anfield the previous day.
“Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on,” Sterling said.
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“We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.
“This is why we play this sport because of our love for it – me and Joe Gomez are good, we both understand it was a five to 10 second thing… it’s done, we move forward and not make this bigger than it is.
“Let’s get focus on our game on Thursday,” Sterling added.
England manager Southgate has also given his take on Sterling’s actions, admitting it remains a great challenge to separate club rivalries from the national team.
Southgate added that the decision was made to drop Sterling with the agreement of the entire squad, a game that will see England qualify for next summer’s championships with victory at Wembley.
“Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday’s game were still raw,” said the England boss.
“One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we’ve been able to separate club rivalries from the national team.
“We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday. 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.”
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