Gareth Southgate has played down Raheem Sterling’s altercation with Joe Gomez, insisting England “are like a family, and all families have disagreements”.
Gomez emerged at training on Tuesday morning with a scratch under his right eye following an incident in the squad’s private quarters 24 hours earlier in which Sterling shouted and grabbed at the centre-back in a continuation of their clash during Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday.
Southgate admitted several players intervened and praised the senior members of his squad for their maturity, but he refused to be drawn on the details of the incident and whether or not he had initially chosen to banish Sterling from the camp before later changing his mind.
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“We are the England team, and I understand our public profile,” said Southgate, speaking at St George’s Park. “There is an insatiable interest in what goes on in our camp. That’s the reality of why things become public that in a club wouldn’t do. The detail is not for me to take further.”
Asked whether he feels let down by Sterling, who is part of the team’s leadership group, Southgate said: “I love all of my players. We are like a family, and all families have disagreements. The most important thing is that you communicate through those disagreements. I expect as a manger to deal with things that are unexpected or difficult, that’s part and parcel of working with elite players.”
More to follow...