Raheem Sterling dropped: FA and Premier League criticised for scheduling Liverpool vs Man City on eve of international break

12 Nov

Gareth Southgate made the right decision to not send Raheem Sterling home from England duty after his training camp bust-up with Joe Gomez.

This is according to Dean Ashton, the former England striker, who claims dismissing Sterling could have exacerbated the problem rather than solving all issues over the next fortnight.

Sterling has been dropped from the Three Lions’ squad for their next match, a Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro, after clashing with Liverpool defender Gomez at St George’s Park.

Sterling will not play against Montenegro but remains available for selection for the trip to Kosovo
GETTY Images – Getty

The row occurred the day after the two players confronted each other during Liverpool’s defeat of Man City that moved them nine points clear at the top of the table.

But Gomez refused to retaliate as Sterling provoked him, and the City forward later apologised for his actions on social media.

He has been punished by Southgate for the incident, but many believe Sterling should have been axed from the squad entirely and sent home.

Ashton, however, says keeping Sterling around St George’s Park is the best solution to end any problems as soon as possible.

“It is a massively difficult situation Gareth has had to deal with, and I think it is the biggest of his tenure so far,” Ashton told talkSPORT’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.

“This is a big test for Gareth now but this is where he excels. He is an intelligent man who has done the right thing, as it would be such a cop out just to send him home. That is too easy.


“Keep him in the squad as he’s been dealt with by missing one game, and now he’s got to sit there – with Joe Gomez – and I would have thought by the end of the week they would have sorted things out.

“If he gets sent home then I think it festers until the next international break and it could go on and on.”

Ashton has previously discussed the cliques in the England squad during his playing days, and he admitted such divisions made linking up with the Three Lions uncomfortable.

And arriving to a squad days after a huge game between two Premier League rivals – such as City’s trip to Anfield on Sunday – made it even worse.

“I think the FA and the Premier League to put this fixture on right before the international break is not great for Gareth Southgate,” Ashton continued.

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“I remember going to a squad straight after the [2008] Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester United, and the feeling after that was awful in the squad.

“You just didn’t want to be there. The feeling between the two sets of players clearly wasn’t great, and you had the cliques anyway.

“And Capello was a nightmare.

“So it was just a horrible squad to be part of, so that is why I think this is Southgate’s biggest test. It has been an issue in the past and it’s something he needs to sort out quickly.”

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