England’s decision to drop Raheem Sterling from the squad for their upcoming clash with Montenegro due to a bust-up was met with opposing opinions. While the player himself held up his hands and admitted to being wrong, some felt that Southgate was mistaken and held one of his greatest assets to hang.
The Man City ace was guilty of instigating a bust-up with Joe Gomez at the Three Lions training camp after locking horns over the weekend in the Citizens’ 3-1 loss to Liverpool. According to reports, the defender warmly greeted the winger but Raheem reacted aggressively and attempted to grab his neck before team-mates stepped in to separate the pair.
The Premier League stars eventually hugged things out and put the clash to bed but an emergency meeting was held which resulted in the 24-year-old getting banned from the Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro. Gomez reportedly pleaded with Southgate not to drop Sterling but one England player has offered a different story.
That man is Ben Chilwell, the Leicester fullback who spoke at a press conference on Tuesday. According to the Foxes defender, the squad was on board with the decision. Nonetheless, the defender admitted that the incident is a normal consequence of a heated game.
"Obviously, it wasn’t a very nice thing for him to have to come across but he dealt with it very well, straight away," Chilwell said (as per the Sun).
“It is one of those things which can be quite difficult to overcome but Joe is a great character and has trained really well.
“He spoke in the meeting, as did Raheem, who wanted to apologize and Joe wanted to get stuff off his chest.
“This is a great dressing room. There are no bad eggs in the squad. It is a good place to be.
“Obviously, like the gaffer said, there will always be disagreements between the squad.
“Club football is very passionate and with Liverpool and Man City fighting for the title, as they have done over the years, passions will run high.
“Training was the same as normal and the changing room seemed normal this morning. As far as I am concerned, it has been squashed and we move on.
“Gareth was keen he did not want to make the decision himself.
“He wanted to come to the right decision with the leadership group. So it got spoken about and the decision has been made and we are all on board with that.
“Raheem was apologetic. He said that was not in his nature, which it is not. We all know as football players that emotions can run high.
“No one is trying to make excuses for him but this was a very emotional game with two great sides battling it out and things are going to get heated.”
The Man City star will miss Thursday’s qualifier but he has not been sent home, which means he stands a chance of featuring against Kosovo on Sunday. Whether Southgate will hand him a start remains unknown.