Sterling’s Stunning Start at Chelsea
Raheem Sterling’s prowess this season is nothing short of remarkable. Having been pivotal in Chelsea’s attack, he’s already tucked away two goals from a mere three games. Yet, with England’s upcoming clashes against Ukraine and Scotland, he finds himself sidelined on the international stage.
It’s been a while since we saw Sterling don the England shirt. His last escapade was during the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals. Post that, an injury kept him off the ground, and come June, concerns about his form and fitness found him out of the squad.
When quizzed on this exclusion, England’s manager Gareth Southgate was quite candid in his admission that Sterling wasn’t thrilled. Yet, he maintained that the decision wasn’t an easy one.
“At the close of the last season, the group we had was simply cohesive,” said Southgate. “Considering Raheem’s inclusion would mean sidelining another player after just three games, I genuinely felt no one in our current attacking roster deserved that.”
Southgate is not underestimating Sterling’s contribution, though. He added, “Seeing him kick off this season in spectacular fashion is heartening. Sterling’s always been pivotal for us, and this season has seen him reinvigorated. The competition for those attacking spots, just behind the main striker, is fierce. The current group, based on their recent performances, merits their place.”
Sterling’s Stint with England
Upon reflecting on Sterling’s absence from three sequential England gatherings, Southgate offered, “He was sidelined for the last two, paving the way for others to shine and solidify their position.”
The England manager sympathised with Sterling, saying, “It was undoubtedly a tough decision. While he might be disappointed now, I’m certain he’ll illuminate the Premier League with Chelsea. That’s inevitable.”
The New Blood
In lieu of Sterling, the England squad will see young talents stepping up. Players like Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, and Eberechi Eze will be strutting their stuff on the international scene, hoping to prove Southgate’s selection right.
In the grand theatre of international football, choices have to be made, and they’re seldom easy. As Southgate navigates the complexities of managing a nation’s hope, one thing is clear: Sterling’s brilliance is acknowledged and missed, but the future holds endless possibilities.