Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling has spoken out on his incident with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez after being axed from the England team when their “raw emotions” from their Anfield clash continued while on international duty.
Sterling quit the Reds for the Etihad Stadium in the summer of 2015 after refusing to sign what manager Brendan Rodgers had described as an “incredible” new contract offer and his time on Merseyside with Gomez overlapped by less than a month with the defender having just arrived from Charlton Athletic.
It has since been reported that the disagreement continued when they reported for England duty the following day, and after they had to be dragged apart again, the FA took the decision to withdraw Sterling from selection for their Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday.
However, Sterling has now taken to social media to attempt to play down the rift.
He wrote on Instagram: “First and foremost everyone knows what that game means to me!
“We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.
“We move (sic) this is why we play this sport because of our love for it – I and Joe Gomez are good we both understand it was a 5-10 second thing it’s done we move forward and (sic) not make this bigger than it is.
“Let’s get focus on our game on Thursday.”
Sterling will stay with the squad and could feature in Kosovo on Sunday.
England manager Gareth Southgate said: “We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday. “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.”