Gareth Southgate believes that Raheem Sterling has moved on…
England Under 21s manager Gareth Southgate has claimed that Manchester United defender Luke Shaw will benefit from his inclusion in the youth team squad, but explained that Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has too many other commitments.
The United full-back has struggled for fitness this season, and with Leighton Baines likely to start ahead of him for senior team, Southgate is keen to include him in the team that will face Croatia for a spot at next summer’s European Championships.
However Sterling, who is playing in Premier League and Champions League as well as starting for the England seniors, will not be expected to play in the two-legged tie.
Reports in the Daily Mail explain that while Sterling was included in the senior squad for the Euro 2016 qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia, defenders Calum Chambers and Shaw dropped into the Under 21s. The former was bumped back up after an injury to John Stones, although Shaw remains with the youngsters.
“Whilst as a coach you always want the best possible players available, sometimes I don’t think it is the right or appropriate challenge for the individual player,” Southgate explained.
“Raheem is one who I don’t say is finished at this level but, clearly, having played in the World Cup, he’s now made himself pretty much a first-choice for the senior team.
“What would we get back in terms of his feelings and his mood? He is a great professional, I have to say, so I am sure he would react to it in the right way because he did when he came back with us last year. His training was fantastic.
“But are you going to get exactly the same performance? He has got England seniors, he has got Liverpool with the league, he has got Liverpool with the Champions League.
“On the list of priorities, the 21s wouldn’t necessarily be so high. For the group, you think you’re bringing back the best players but it wouldn’t necessarily guarantee you get a better performance whereas the boys with us this week, for them this is everything.”
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