Rio Ferdinand sends strong Sterling message to Gareth Southgate as he advocate for total freedom
Manchester United great, Rio Ferdinand has called on Gareth Southgate to ‘free Sterling’, after the 28-year-old was again snubbed, as the England boss announced the latest list of players for the Three Lions’ upcoming qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.
Sterling has been in his best form since joining Chelsea from Manchester City last summer, having already netted five goals across all competitions this term.
The forward has also picked up two assists across all competitions, and his usefulness was evident when he helped Chelsea battle Man City to a 4-4 draw on Sunday.
The last time Sterling played for England was at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with the Chelsea star having been snubbed in five consecutive squads between then and now, while players like Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire, who haven’t exactly been at their best this season are handed an invitation.
Speaking on his Vibe with Five YouTube show, Ferdinand criticised Southgate’s treatment of Sterling, while calling on the England manager to rethink his position on the ex-Man City star.
“Free Sterling. Free my guy Raheem Sterling,” stated Ferdinand.
“I don’t know what he’s done, whose nose he has put out of join. I don’t know what’s happened.
“But for him to not be in the England squad is beyond me. Listen, there’s a lot of talent don’t get me wrong, but if we’re talking form then he’s got more goals and assists or goal involvements than Rashford and Grealish put together.”
“Has he been tried and tested at the top level? He was England’s best player at the Euros,” added Ferdinand.
“The Euros was a good couple of years ago so people might go it’s a couple years ago but Kalvin Phillips is playing off the back of a good Euros, Maguire is playing off the back of a good Euros.
“If they are getting in because of that what’s happened to Sterling? Free him. Free up Sterling.”