Gareth Southgate makes clean slate promise to Raheem Sterling after England vs Montenegro | Football | Sport
Raheem Sterling has been promised by Gareth Southgate that the slate will be wiped clean once he has served his one-match ban against Montenegro tomorrow night.
However, only time will tell what effect a remarkable night at St George’s Park has had on the buoyant spirit that England have built their success upon.
On Monday, Southgate took the unprecedented step of axing his star player from his squad for one match after he fought with Joe Gomez.
That punishment, the England manager insisted, would be an end to the matter.
“The decision has been made not to consider Raheem for the game on Thursday,” he said. “That is the end of the matter for me.
“We then have to move forward and that is why it was important for me to get the group together.
“I had to make some difficult calls on that. But that is done and end of discussion.”
Otherwise, Southgate remained resolutely tight-lipped about further details of the incident – a spill-over from Sunday’s heated title battle between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield.
Liverpool defender Gomez is reported to have leant over the back of Sterling to shake hands with the seated player 24 hours after the pair clashed at the end of the 3-1 Liverpool win.
Sterling grabbed him round the throat and the pair had to be separated by other senior players, with the Manchester City leaving the campus in his car for an hour to calm himself down. Both players were part of training the following morning, with Gomez sporting a mark under his right eye.
Amid all the speculation, full-back Ben Chilwell was rather more helpful than his manager in filling in some more of the details.
“Gareth spoke about what he thought and he asked us about what we thought of it as well,” he said.
“Joe and Raheem obviously got the chance to talk which they both wanted to do.
“Raheem wanted to apologise and Joe wanted to get stuff off his chest as well and that was it – done.
“Raheem was apologetic and said that was not in his nature, which it is not.”