England’s headcoach Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Raheem Sterling has left England’s World Cup squad after a reported arm robbery at the forward’s family home.
Sterling, who started England’s first two matches in Qatar, was absent from the squad for their last 16 win over Senegal. As reported by BBC Sport, the 27-year-old is travelling back to London after a break-in by armed intruders at his family home. When asked whether Sterling will return to the World Cup in Qatar, Southgate told ITV Sport after the Senegal win: ”We’ve got to wait and see. At the moment, clearly the priority is for him to be with his family. We’re going to support that, and leave him to have as much time as he needs. He’s going home. At the moment it’s a situation that he needs time with his family to deal with, and I don’t want to put him under any pressure with that. Sometimes football isn’t the most important thing, and family should come first.”
England initially released a statement ahead of kick-off against Senegal confirming that Sterling had withdrawn from the squad. “Raheem Sterling is not available for selection for the #ThreeLions tonight as he is dealing with a family matter,” the statement read.
Sunday’s game was the first time Sterling has not been in the starting XI for a knockout match at a major tournament since Euro 2012. It is unclear if Sterling will be available for selection for the quarter-finals, where England will take on 2018 World Cup winners France.
We pray he have the strength to bear the loss. Family will always matter and should come first.