Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 10 December 2019

Raheem Sterling suspended by England after canteen clash with Liverpool rival Joe Gomez

Manchester City star says: 'I admit emotions got the better of me,' following altercation a day after top-of-the-table defeat to Premier League leaders

Raheem Sterling has admitted emotions got the better of him after he was suspended from the England squad following a canteen clash with Joe Gomez.

Manchester City winger Sterling clashed with Liverpool's Gomez after the England team met up at their Burton on Trent training centre on Monday - less than 24 hours after City lost 3-1 at Liverpool during which the pair also had an altercation on the pitch.

Sterling had fallen out with Gomez towards the end of the top-of-the-table clash at Anfield which left City nine points behind leaders Liverpool, and the emotions spilled over on Monday.

It was reported that Sterling attempted to grab Gomez by the neck following his arrival in the players' canteen at St George's Park. The English Football Association confirmed Sterling would not be considered for selection for the Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro on Thursday as a result but he will be allowed to stay in the squad and could play against Kosovo on Sunday.

Sterling said on his Instagram account: "Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on. We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.

"This is why we play this sport because of our love for it - me and @joegomez5 are good we both understand it was a 5-10 second thing ... it's done, we move forward and not make this bigger than it is. Let's get focus on our game on Thursday."

Sterling is understood to have apologised to Gomez and the squad after the altercation. Gomez and the squad accepted his apology.

An FA statement said: "The FA can confirm Raheem Sterling will not be considered for Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro as a result of a disturbance in a private team area at St George’s Park."

The FA statement, which confirmed Sterling will remain with the squad, did not address the specifics of the dispute or confirm if Gomez was the other party but England boss Gareth Southgate linked the incident to Sunday's top-of-the-table clash at Anfield.

“We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday," Southgate said.

"One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we’ve been able to separate club rivalries from the national team. Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday’s game were still raw.

“My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken. Now that the decision has been made with the agreement of the entire squad, it’s important that we support the players and focus on Thursday night."

Sterling has become a key player for England in the past year after being criticised for his displays at the 2018 World Cup.

Last season he was named Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers' Association after scoring 25 goals in all competitions as City won a domestic treble of the Premier League title and the two cup competitions.

For England, Sterling has scored 12 goals in 55 games and has been a regular under Southgate and scored twice in the recent 6-0 win away to Bulgaria.

England top Group A and will guarantee a place at the finals with a draw against Montenegro. They face another qualifier on Sunday away to Kosovo in which Sterling could feature.

Updated: November 12, 2019 12:38 PM

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