MX23RW : Wednesday, December 11 13:38:47| >> :600:2494346:2494346:
Nov 14, 2019 at 7.45pm UK at ​Wembley Stadium
Attendance: 77,277
England
7-0
Montenegro
Oxlade-Chamberlain (11'), Kane (19', 24', 37'), Rashford (30'), Sofranac (66' og.), Abraham (84')
FT(HT: 5-0)

Gareth Southgate keen to move on from Raheem Sterling, Joe Gomez bust-up

Gareth Southgate keen to move on from Raheem Sterling, Joe Gomez bust-up
© Reuters
The pair had been involved in an on-field clash during Liverpool's 3-1 win over Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday.

England manager Gareth Southgate insists his England squad are ready to move past the altercation between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez, likening the dramatic development to a family disagreement.

The Football Association announced on Monday that Sterling would not be considered for Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro, following an incident involving Gomez at the team's St George's Park training camp.

The pair had been involved in an on-field clash during Liverpool's 3-1 win over Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday, with tensions seemingly still running high as the players convened for Three Lions duty.

— Mark Mann-Bryans (@MarkyMBryans) November 12, 2019

The pair both trained on Tuesday morning, before Southgate brought forward his usual media appearance by 24 hours to address the burning issue.

He was careful not to offer too many details – there was no elaboration on an apparent scratch beneath Gomez's right eye, suggestions that Sterling was initially sent home before being summoned back to camp or on the role of other individuals. Instead he attempted to draw the sting from the issue, emphasising that a line was being drawn.

What was clear from his opening statement, though, was that Gomez was absolved of blame.

"Raheem in his (social media) post last night explained for a very brief moment his emotions ran over. It would be correct to say that's not the same for Joe," he said.

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A post shared by Raheem Sterling x 😇 (@sterling7) on

"We are dealing with a very young squad in a sport where emotions often run high. These things happen in football. My priority is always the care and well being of all my players. All my players.

"Then you have a decision to make as to whether there needs to be something further, which is my reasoning for not selecting Raheem for the game on Thursday."

Asked if he was disappointed in Sterling's conduct, Southgate took a conciliatory tone and did not add harsh words to his decision to withdraw the Manchester City man from the match.

"I love all of my players. We are like a family and all family have disagreements," he said.

"Most important for any family is to come through those disagreements and work through them. I don't expect as a manager to never have to deal with things that are unexpected or difficult.

"It's part and parcel of the job and part and parcel of working with elite players. Our focus now is to move forward.

"The reality is I'm not prepared to go into details. There is enough conjecture and opinion and talk out there and we don't need to add to it.

Gareth Southgate is keen to move on from the incident involving Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez
Gareth Southgate is keen to move on from the incident involving Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez (Mike Egerton/PA)

"As a group we've decided the best way forward and we're in agreement on that. We move on from there."

Southgate did not mention Jordan Henderson by name, following suggestions the Liverpool skipper was central to de-escalating the bust-up, but did suggest he was thankful for the intervention of calmer heads.

"We have some excellent senior players who've played a part in bringing everyone together," he said.

Sterling's social media suggestion that he and Gomez had come to an understanding over the incident was queried, with Southgate asked to confirm if the pair had sat down to talk together.

Midfielder Jordan Henderson reportedly played a peacemaker role.
Midfielder Jordan Henderson reportedly played a peacemaker role (Martin Rickett/PA)

He stopped short of doing so, but indicated the whole squad was content with the situation and interacting as normal following a team meeting.

"It was crucial to me that everyone in the group is comfortable and speaking and ready to move forward with football," he said.

"That's why everyone is still in camp, everyone is still in the squad and working together towards beating Montenegro on Thursday."

Southgate sounded one note of frustration before leaving the cameras, hinting that the in-house fall-out had cast light on a growing trend of team matters being leaked into the public domain.

"There seems to be all sorts of information being passed from all different areas. This is a consequence of the England football team at the moment," he said.

"That is a very difficult situation and something we have to think about moving forward: the team getting out, information getting out. There seems to be so many voices in the background.

"I understand our public profile, there's incredible interest in everything that goes on in our camp – beyond anything that goes on in any sporting organisation.

"I've said what I think needs to be said publicly but we have to keep as much as we can between ourselves."

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England manager Gareth Southgate during the press conference on October 3, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool16151040142646
2Leicester CityLeicester16122239102938
3Manchester CityMan City16102444192532
4Chelsea169253124729
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd166642519624
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves165922319424
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs166553023723
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd165741916322
9Arsenal165742424022
10Crystal Palace166461418-422
11Newcastle UnitedNewcastle166461723-622
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton165472024-419
13Burnley165382129-818
14Everton165291928-917
15Bournemouth164481824-616
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham164481828-1016
17Aston Villa164392328-515
18Southampton164391835-1715
19Norwich CityNorwich1632111734-1711
20Watford16169930-219

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