Al Khor, Qatar England star Raheem Sterling flew home from world Cup after his home was attacked by armed intruders, head coach Gareth Southgate and the English Football Association confirmed on Sunday.
Sterling was excluded from the England squad. his 3-0 victory over Senegal in the 16th round after his property near London was broken into while his family was inside on Saturday night.
“He’s already on his way home,” Southgate said at the post-match press conference. “We have to give him time to try to solve this (problem) or be close to his family. We’re obviously mindful of the fact that he’s allowed personal space, so we don’t want to go into too much detail.
“It’s not ideal for a group before a big game, but it fades into the background. In those moments, the individual is more important than the group.”
England advanced to Saturday’s quarter-final with Francethanks to goals from Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane as well as Bukayo Saka – but all thoughts were with Sterling, who moved to the London team Chelsea from Manchester last summer
There was no word on whether Sterling, who played a total of 139 minutes in England’s first two games, was before Waleswill be able to return to Qatar later in the tournament.
This was first revealed when, 90 minutes before kick-off, the FA released a statement that Sterling had not been out due to a “family matter”. However, further clarifications soon emerged.
“Raheem Sterling missed out on England’s World Cup win against Senegal after armed intruders broke into his home at night while his family were there,” the Press Association said in a statement.
Southgate and Sterling spent a lot of time together on Sunday morning before the winger’s flight back to London, which was hastily arranged by English support staff.
According to a later statement, Sterling’s main concern was “the welfare of his children”. He added that the player was “understandably shaken”.
If he can return to Qatar, Sterling will remain a valuable option for Southgate due to his speed and cunning with the ball at his feet.
For more than a decade, Premier League footballers from well-known teams have often been hacked during games, trips to the Champions League or tournaments.