Raheem Sterling has been dropped for England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro following an altercation with team-mate Joe Gomez on Monday.
The incident was a hangover from the highly-charged Premier League match between Sterling’s Manchester City and Gomez’s Liverpool on Sunday.
It is the latest high-profile story regarding Sterling, and here the PA news agency looks at some of the forward’s highs and lows.
Exit from Liverpool
By April 2015, Sterling’s contract talks with Liverpool had proven an unwanted sideshow. Sterling did little to ease the situation after he participated in an ill-advised interview with the BBC, which was not sanctioned by the club. It proved a PR disaster with Sterling insisting he did not reject Liverpool’s £100,000-a-week deal because he was a “money-grabbing 20-year-old”. Sterling courted criticism from a host of former Liverpool players before moving to Manchester City in a £49million deal three months later.
Disappointing World Cup
Despite featuring heavily for an England side that reached the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1990, Sterling failed to hit the heights he had set during Manchester City’s Premier League-winning campaign. Sterling faced numerous calls to be axed from Gareth Southgate’s starting line-up but the England manager stood by the forward. Sterling however, failed to find the back of the net in a below-par tournament.
Suffering racial abuse at Chelsea
Last season, Sterling was subjected to racial abuse from a Chelsea supporter during Manchester City’s Premier League visit to Stamford Bridge. Television footage appeared to capture the fan aiming a derogatory term at Sterling as he collected the ball in front of the home supporters. One supporter was banned for life by Chelsea while five more were barred for between one and two years for incidents at the same match.
Reaction to racist abuse
The day after the events at Stamford Bridge, Sterling issued an Instagram post accusing newspapers of “fuelling racism and aggressive behaviour” in their portrayal of young black footballers. Sterling was widely applauded for speaking up, sparking a national debate, and he has become a leading figurehead on the issue. In January, Sterling wrote a letter to a young City fan who said he had been racially abused while he has condemned racist abuse aimed at England players during recent internationals.
Becoming a key man for Pep Guardiola
Despite the wealth of star quality at Manchester City, Sterling has emerged as arguably their biggest asset. He scored 25 goals for his club last season, helping them win a treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup and has continued this season with 12 City goals to his name already in all competitions, including his first Champions League hat-trick against Atalanta. Rumours regarding interest from Real Madrid persist.
Bouncing back from the World Cup
Refusing to lie down after a disappointing summer in 2018, Sterling bounced back with a string of match-winning displays for England. First, he scored a brace as England secured a 3-2 victory in Spain en route to the semi-finals of the Nations League before bagging a treble as the Three Lions opened their qualification campaign for Euro 2020 by hammering the Czech Republic at Wembley. He has scored in three of England’s last four games and will undoubtedly be missed against Montenegro.