Sun, 08 Dec 2019

Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

News24
16 Nov 2019, 16:12 GMT+10

Pristina - Gareth Southgate is set to bring Raheem Sterling back from his brief England exile in Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo as he seeks to end the controversy over the Manchester City star's row with Joe Gomez.

Sterling was dropped for Thursday's 7-0 rout of Montenegro after clashing with England team-mate Gomez in the Three Lions' training base canteen.

It is believed Sterling was unhappy with Gomez following an altercation with the Liverpool defender during City's Premier League defeat at Anfield last weekend.

Although Sterling was left out of the Montenegro game as punishment for his attack on Gomez, Southgate has confirmed the winger will return for England's final Group A fixture.

Sterling and Gomez, left with a scratch under his eye after the incident, are said to have patched up their relationship, but the centre-back was jeered by England fans at Wembley when he came on as a substitute against Montenegro.

Both Southgate and Sterling expressed their support for Gomez and criticised the booing supporters, with the England manager reportedly comforting the shocked 22-year-old and his family after the match.

Now Southgate could include Gomez against Kosovo in a show of support for the Liverpool player.

With England already guaranteed to qualify for Euro 2020 in first place in their group, Southgate already planned to make changes, although he is keen to ensure England finish with a win as they eye a top-six seeding in next year's tournament.

"We will make some changes, for sure, but the seeding in the group could be critical and we know it's a big night for the Kosovans," Southgate said.

"It's a shame for them that they're now out of this part of the qualification, although they've still got the play-offs in which I think they'll be a huge threat in that format.

"So, it will be a good test for us because it will still be a lively environment.

"The enthusiasm for the game is high and we want to finish the group with as many points as we can."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson could return following a one-match ban, while Southgate has to decide whether to keep faith with Ben Chilwell ahead of Danny Rose at left-back.

Harry Kane may have scored a hat-trick against Montenegro but it was Leicester's Chilwell who was named England's man of the match following a fine display in which he provided three assists in the opening 24 minutes.

"Ben, I liked the hunger in his game, the enthusiasm to get forward," Southgate said.

"The whole team pressed well but he also pressed well from that full-back position, got into overlaps, his quality of delivery was excellent."

Although England have cruised through their qualifying group, Southgate believes the 2018 World Cup semi-finalists still have room for improvement as they chase a first major title since 1966.

"There were a couple of chances we conceded that just shouldn't happen, so that's still part of our game that we've got to improve upon," he said.

"If we are to be a team that are going to challenge seriously, although we're young, we've got to manage games well.

"We've got to make sure that, although we're such a fantastic attacking threat, the rest of the team is right as well. There are things we've got to be better at."

Collated Euro 2020 qualifying results from Groups D, F and J on Friday:

Group D

At Copenhagen

Denmark 6 (Skov 12, 64, Gytkjaer 47, Braithwaite 51, Eriksen 85, 90+4) Gibraltar 0

At St Gallen, Switzerland

Switzerland 1 (Itten 77) Georgia 0

Group F

At Oslo

Norway 4 (Reginiussen 4, Fossum 8, Sorloth 62, 65) Faroe Islands 0

At Bucharest

Romania 0 Sweden 2 (Berg 18, Quaison 34)

At Cadiz, Spain

Spain 7 (Morata 23, Cazorla 41, Pau Torres 62, Sarabia 63, Olmo 69, Gerard Moreno 71, Navas 85) Malta 0

Group J

At Yerevan

Armenia 0 Greece 1 (Limnios 35)

At Helsinki

Finland 3 (Tuominen 21, Pukki 64-pen, 75) Liechtenstein 0

At Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina 0 Italy 3 (Acerbi 21, Insigne 37, Belotti 52)

Playing on Saturday (21:45 SA time unless stated):

Group C

At Moenchengladbach, Germany

Germany v Belarus

At Belfast

Northern Ireland v Netherlands

Group E

At Baku

Azerbaijan v Wales (19:00)

At Rijeka, Croatia

Croatia v Slovakia

Group G

At Vienna

Austria v North Macedonia

At Jerusalem

Israel v Poland

At Ljubljana

Slovenia v Latvia (19:00)

Group I

At Nicosia

Cyprus v Scotland (16:00)

At Saint Petersburg, Russia

Russia v Belgium (19:00)

At Serravalle, San Marino

San Marino v Kazakhstan (19:00)

Played on Thursday:

Group A

At Plzen, Czech Republic

Czech Republic 2 (Krai 71, Celustka 79) Kosovo 1 (Nuhiu 50)

At London

England 7 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 11, Kane 19, 24, 37, Rashford 30, Sofranac 66-og, Abraham 84) Montenegro 0

Group B

At Faro, Portugal

Portugal 6 (Ronaldo 7-pen, 22, 65, Pizzi 52, Paciencia 56, Bernardo Silva 63) Lithuania 0

At Belgrade

Serbia 3 (Mitrovic 11, 43, Radonjic 70) Luxembourg 2 (Rodrigues 54, Turpel 75)

Group H

At Elbasan, Albania

Albania 2 (Balaj 6, Manaj 55) Andorra 2 (Martinez 18, 48)

At Paris

France 2 (Varane 35, Giroud 79-pen) Moldova 1 (Rata 9)

At Istanbul, Turkey

Turkey 0 Iceland 0

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