By Calum Wilson
Last Updated: 12/11/19 3:58pm
England manager Gareth Southgate insists his squad are like a ‘family’, and sometimes families fall out
Gareth Southgate has likened the row between England team-mates Joe Gomez and Raheem Sterling to a family disagreement and insists the group are united.
Sterling is understood to have taken offence to Gomez laughing with several other England team-mates in the training ground canteen before asking “you think you’re the big man now?” – and then trying to grab the Liverpool defender round the neck.
Emotions had carried over after the pair came were involved in an argument towards the end of Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday.
Sky Sports News reporters Rob Dorsett and Kaveh Solhekol explain how Raheem Sterling’s row with Joe Gomez unfolded in the England camp
Sterling has since been dropped by Southgate for England’s European Qualifier against Montenegro on Thursday and has apologised for the incident.
Speaking on Tuesday, Southgate refused to go into specific details about the row, but said: “The decision has been made not to consider Raheem for the game on Thursday and that’s the end of the matter for me. We have to move forward and that’s why keeping the group together was the most important thing.
Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez during England training on Tuesday morning
“As emotions calmed yesterday, that was still a possibility. Everybody worked that through and I’m very impressed with the players.
“I love all of my players. We are like a family and all families have disagreements. The most important thing for any family is that you communicate those disagreements and work through them.”
‘We are drawing a line under it’
England manager Gareth Southgate explains why he dropped Raheem Sterling, following a bust-up with Joe Gomez.
Sky Sports News understands Sterling and Gomez were separated by team-mates and Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson then mediated via telephone in a meeting between the pair in one of their bedrooms.
Southgate revealed he had consulted with a number of England’s senior players before making the decision to drop Sterling, but allow him to stay in camp.
“It is important to be as fair as possible with any decision making, whether that is a senior player of junior player,” Southgate said.
Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez exchange words during Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat of Manchester City at Anfield
“Quite a number of our senior players have been active in discussions. That is an important process because I want to get a feel for where we are as a group.
“But then I’m the manager and I have certain decisions that are my responsibility. I always have to find the right solution for the group and that’s a very difficult line.
“We have a very good understanding of the way that we have worked over the last couple of years, which has brought us a lot of togetherness that is still there.
“We are a united group. Now we have to turn our focus onto the football. We have a hugely important qualifier to reach a European Championship. I’m speaking now because we are drawing a line under it and moving forward as a team.”
Gary Neville believes Gareth Southgate has made the right decision by dropping Raheem Sterling from the England squad following his row with Joe Gomez
‘He knows he overstepped the mark’
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol…
“Gareth Southgate has been firm but fair. The last thing he wants is for cliques to appear in his squad like the days when Manchester United and Liverpool players used to eat at separate tables.
“As a leader, Southgate had three options in this case. He could have downplayed it and dealt with it behind closed doors, he could have sent Raheem Sterling home or he could have dropped him from the next game.
“By choosing option three he has kept arguably his best player in his squad as well as sending a strong message that he will not tolerate club rivalries disrupting the peace and harmony at St George’s Park.
“Southgate has four Liverpool players in this squad and two from Manchester City. Apart from this one-off incident there is no issue between Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson, and Sterling and John Stones.”
After the Montenegro clash at Wembley, England travel to Kosovo on Sunday, knowing a point from these next two games will be enough to qualify for Euro 2020.