Raheem Sterling: It is not time for England to panic despite “loss of form”
England suffered relegation from the Nations League top tier following Friday’s 1-0 defeat to Italy.
Raheem Sterling has defended England boss Gareth Southgate ahead of his side’s UEFA Nations League clash with Germany on Monday.
The Three Lions suffered relegation from the Nations League following Friday’s 1-0 defeat to Italy, and on a poor run with no wins in five matches.
When asked about the criticism aimed at Southgate, Sterling said: “We all know that is what comes with football and playing at the highest level.
Loss of form
“You are under scrutiny and a lot of it is unfair, of course, but that is the level we are at with England,” he said.
“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.”
Sterling remaining positive
“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.
“Yes, we know we are not at the level we can be right now, but I still think we have positives to look at.”
Time to step up for World Cup
Chelsea forward Sterling, 27, added that England are not where they need to be at the moment and he called on the players to take responsibility.
“Since the manager has come in he’s always tried to protect us. 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.”
England v Germany
England welcome Germany to Wembley on Monday for what will be their final competitive game before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Southgate’s side have only collected two points from their five games to date. Group leaders Hungary take on Italy in tonight’s other Group A3 game.