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Raheem Sterling admits frustrations during time on Man City bench

Raheem Sterling admits frustrations during time on Man City bench
© Reuters
Raheem Sterling has been linked with a move away from the Premier League champions after often finding himself among the substitutes.

England forward Raheem Sterling has admitted he was "not happy" with his lack of playing time at Manchester City last season.

Sterling has been linked with a move away from the Premier League champions after finding himself on the bench on a number of occasions towards the back end of the 2020-21 campaign, including crunch Champions League quarter-final and semi-final ties.

But the 26-year-old has been a key figure for the Three Lions in their opening two games of the European Championship, scoring the winning goal against Croatia last week.

And Sterling puts his form down to doing what he loves best.

"It is just happiness, just being happy, enjoying my football and that is what I am doing being here with the national team," he said.

"If you're not playing, you're not happy. That's me, that's been me since I was a kid, if I'm playing football I am really happy, if I'm not I'm not happy."

Sterling was part of the England team that laboured to a goalless draw against Scotland on Friday – a performance which drew boos from the Wembley crowd at the end of the match and heavy criticism from elsewhere.

The City forward believes there has been a "panic" from outside the camp and insists his squad know not to listen to the outside noise.

"I do feel there's a bit of an overreaction on the whole in terms of I don't know if it's... I just feel there's more of a panic on the outside than inside the building," he said.

Sterling was benched for a number of key games in the second half of City's season
Sterling was benched for a number of key games in the second half of City's season (Martin Rickett/PA)

"At the same the players who have been at a few tournaments, who have huge experience, try to help the other ones.

"I don't see anyone in the camp that feels any pressure or feels hard done by. As much as we can inside the building the best thing we can do is focus on the training field, focus on what's being doing inside.

"We really shouldn't be looking what's the papers are saying, what pundits are saying.

"That's something we need to take for the rest of this tournament, the more you listen to outside noise, the more it can affect you.

"If you're not really looking into that the better it is for you as an individual and as a collective as well.

"We don't really, I'm not saying on the outside it's negativity, but we don't want any negativity creeping in and performance levels dropping, and confidence levels dropping, and that's all that it will do."

On the Wembley crowd booing, he added: "I feel the fans have an expectation of us with the players we have in the squad and that is rightly so.

"But as you can see from different games in the tournament, not just in our group but other groups as well, it is tricky in international football. It is not as easy as people think."

Despite the disappointment from Friday night, England will top Group D with a win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

Winning the group will guarantee a last-16 tie at Wembley, though it will be against one of France, Germany or Portugal.

Finishing second would offer an easier game on paper, though in Copenhagen, and Sterling says home advantage could be crucial.

"There is always an advantage being on home soil, that's for sure," he said.

"With the fans raring and making it a hostile place to come, I do think it can be a good advantage and, like I say, we've got four points, I keep stressing we've got four points and we've got one game to go and we're going to need our fans on Tuesday to get us across the line.

"We haven't spoken on that (the permutations of finishing second). The objective is to try and win the group and that's it."

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina29171662
United StatesUnited States22251764
JapanJapan1761033
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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