Raheem Sterling offers honest take on ‘scrutiny’ on Gareth Southgate, issuing key England demand

Raheem Sterling of England in action.FIFA World Cup qualifier, group I match, England v San Marino at Wembley Stadium in London on Thursday 25th March 2021

Raheem Sterling insists England’s players must share the scrutiny with Gareth Southgate for their recent loss of form.

Results in 2022 have not been ideal for England ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, which starts in November. Southgate’s side are winless in their last five fixtures in the UEFA Nations League, from which they have suffered relegation from their group.

One more commitment in that competition remains, against Germany on Monday. Then, the attention will turn to the World Cup in a couple of months’ time.

Ahead of that match, Chelsea winger Raheem Sterling – one of Southgate’s most trusted players – has faced the media to address his international manager’s future.

According to Sterling, pressure is part and parcel of the job for the national team. However, the ex-Manchester City man does not think England’s recent downturn under Southgate is reason to panic.

“We all know that is what comes with football and playing at the highest level,” Sterling said.

“You are under scrutiny and a lot of it is unfair, of course. But that is the level we are at with England.

“We are always under that pressure to win, and this small loss of form is not something we need to panic about. We now have a big opportunity coming up in the winter to go out and show what we can do again.”

At previous major tournaments, Southgate has done well with his England group. The Three Lions reached the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

“For what he has done since he has been in the job, he’s taken us to a semi-final and a final, and it just shows the direction we are going in,” Sterling added.

“Yes, we know we are not at the level we can be right now. But I still think we have positives to look at.”

Raheem Sterling urges players to take responsibility

The pressure on the England camp has stretched across the summer after a loss to Hungary and draws with Germany and Italy during June.

Sterling has affirmed it caused a lot of reflection among the squad. Yet he still believes they are of a high enough level to change things in time for their next tournament.

“Since the manager has come in he’s always tried to protect us,” he added. “He’s always tried to make the environment really calm for us so that we can go out there and do what we need to do on the football field.

“After the summer, we all had to come away and look at ourselves. None of us were proud of those performances and I don’t think it is for Gareth to shoulder all of that blame.

“We’ve got players in our squad that have played at the highest level, and we need to take some of that responsibility and start to put some of these performances right, and win football matches.

“That is what we are here for. We are not a country here to just take part, we want to win things. We’ve spoken as a collective and I think we are in the right state to put things right.”

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