Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

Liverpool’s Joe Gomez in action with Manchester City's Raheem Sterling during a recent Premier League match. Reuters
Updated 17 November 2019

Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

  • World Cup semifinalists ‘still have room for improvement as they chase first major title since 1966’

PRISTINA:  Gareth Southgate is set to bring Raheem Sterling back from his brief England exile in Sunday’s 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 center-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 criticized 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 playoffs 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 semifinalists 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.”


LIVE: Clash on the Dunes - Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia

Updated 10 min 19 sec ago

LIVE: Clash on the Dunes - Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia

  • Full coverage of huge night of boxing - including undercard
  • World heavyweight championship being held in Diriyah, Riyadh

RIYADH: The day has finally arrived - the eyes of the sporting world turn toward Saudi Arabia this evening for the highly anticipated rematch between world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and challenger Anthony Joshua who face each other in Diriyah in the ‘Clash on the Dunes’ – the biggest sporting event ever held in the Kingdom, and a night that could rival the historic ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ and ‘Thrilla in Manila’ fights.

Stay tuned throughout the day for Arab News coverage below. (All times KSA)

20:30 - The fans are filing in, despite the weather, the atmosphere is building up inside and outside the Diriyah Arena.

20:20 - FIGHT ACTION: Well, that was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it stoppage in the first televised fight of the night - Mahammadrasul Majidov of Azerbaijan lands a killer blow on the UK's Tom "Not So" Little and it's all over in the second round!

19:45 - FIGHT ACTION: He's done it! Saudi Arabia's Zuhayr Al-Qahtani dominates in his WBC Middle East title bout with Omar Dusary of Kuwait, who stood his ground through the eight rounds, but was visibly a beaten man by the end. The man from Jeddah takes the plaudits and is being interviewed by Sky Sports in the middle of the ring following his win...

19:00 - Check out this fantastic illustration for Arab News created by the Sporting Press especially for the Clash on the Dunes event...

18:30 - FIGHT ACTION: And the first action of the night is complete! Boxing out of the UAE, Majid Al-Naqbi gets a stoppage in the third round as he overpowers his Georgian rival Ilia Beruashvili in his lightweight contest to move 4-0 in his career. We are officially under way...

17:50 - In case you missed it earlier, Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone is in the Kingdom and he was loving the weigh-in on Friday - he was particularly delighted with Ruiz Jr.'s choice of song for his entrance...

17:20 - There is plenty of boxing action for tonight's card - here is a run down of all the bouts we have to look forward to tonight before the main event...

16:45 - Fans attending the fight might be in for a chilly evening, as the heavens opened briefly earlier and the wind has been picking up...

16:00 - The very impressive Diriyah Arena was put together in less than a month, you can read about it here...

15:15 - There is also a considerable undercard for the Clash on the Dunes event - including Saudi Arabia's own Zuhayr Al-Qahtani who is facing Omar Dusary from Kuwait for the WBC Middle East title, and Arab News caught up with him ahead of his big night...

14:30 - The fans of Joshua were in good voice at the weigh-in, with thousands of British fans in the Kingdom to support their hero, while a vocal crowd of Mexicans and Americans were cheering for Ruiz. The atmosphere in the Diriyah Arena should be electric tonight...

14:15 - It’s not just the boxing world taking an interest in this fight in Saudi Arabia - Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho (known to be a big fan of Anthony Joshua) was asked who he thought would win tonight’s bout ...

13:45 - The boxing world held its breath on Friday night as the two heavyweight rivals faced off at Friday's weigh-in at Al-Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh. See a full gallery from the showdown here...

13: 30 - The excitement is starting to build as we inch closer to the bell going in the Clash on the Dunes later tonight. You can read all this week's build-up to the huge fight in our dedicated Spotlight, highlights of which are below:

Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz Jr. weigh in for Clash on the Dunes bout in Diriyah

Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua focused on world heavyweight glory as they showcase skills at Riyadh public workout

Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua tour Diriyah stadium ahead of Saudi clash