Alan Shearer and Micah Richards concur about Raheem Sterling but four players hinder Chelsea’s star
Alan Shearer and Micah Richards are in sync about Raheem Sterling, but four players hinder Chelsea’s star
Alan Shearer and Micah Richards agree that “something must have gone on” between Raheem Sterling and England manager Gareth Southgate following the Chelsea forward’s recent omissions from the international squad.
The Blues winger was one of many standout performers in their 4-4 draw with Premier League champions Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon – scoring the second goal for Mauricio Pochettino’s side. Despite his consistent performances this term, the 28-year-old has been overlooked for the Three Lions for the fifth successive time.
Southgate named his latest England squad earlier in the week with Sterling again left out in favour of other Premier League stars who have become regulars in the national team. But with James Maddison and Callum Wilson withdrawing from the squad through injury, Sterling’s opportunity of returning to the squad was again scuppered – Southgate electing to call up Rico Lewis and Chelsea team-mate Cole Palmer for their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.
Sterling has earned 82 caps for his country but hasn’t featured in almost a year after coming on as a substitute in England’s World Cup quarter-final defeat against France. Explaining the decision to not include Sterling, Southgate stated at the time: “The door is 100% open not only for Raheem but for other players who aren’t in this squad, there’s no doubt about that.”
However, both Richards and Shearer believe there is something behind Sterling’s omission from the national side. Both believed he should be within the 26-man squad, but the Premier League’s all-time top scorer questioned who would be dropped from the current squad.
Speaking on The Rest Is Football podcast, Shearer said: “Something must have gone on. But, what I would come back to you and say to both of you, who would you leave out for him? You have got (Phil) Foden, (Jack) Grealish, (Marcus) Rashford and (Bukayo) Saka, who is going to be left out for him?”
“It’s a very good point, but you could squeeze him in, it’s a big squad,” Lineker answered.
Richards questioned the form of the players within the current squad, identifying Manchester United’s Rashford as someone Sterling could replace. He said: “You could squeeze him in – we talk about playing players in form, so Rashford has not scored in the league this year. and Sterling has been outstanding all season, so imagine playing for one of the top clubs and not getting in the England team – something has definitely happened.”
While Sterling has started to replicate the consistency at club level, there is no denying the 28-year-old has been one of the top performers for England at international tournaments. He scored three times in the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 campaign, and Lineker believes his impact on the big stage will see him in contention to feature in next year’s competition in the summer.
“I would be surprised if he isn’t in and around the squad in the summer. The other thing about Sterling I would say is that a lot of players don’t necessarily turn up and play their best stuff at tournaments. He has done, particularly the last two tournaments – he’s arguably been England’s best player.”