Raheem Sterling has left the England World Cup squad in Qatar and returned to London after armed intruders broke into his home with his family inside. Manager Gareth Southgate confirmed the news after Sunday’s 3-0 last-16 win against Senegal.
“Sometimes football isn’t the most important thing and family should come first,” said Southgate. It is understood the incident happened on Saturday night. Sterling has three young children.
According to a spokesperson for the player, Sterling was “shaken” by the news and “as soon as he was alerted he wanted to get home, concerned for the well-being of his children.
Southgate added: “We want to give him that space and we will see over the next few days how that develops.”Speaking after the Senegal match Sterling’s team-mate Declan Rice said: “I saw him at breakfast this morning then the manager said he had the difficulties at home so we’ve all sent him a message.”
England’s next match at the World Cup is against France in the quarter-finals on Saturday
Sterling is the second player to leave the England squad after Arsenal defender Ben White, who returned to the UK on 30 November for personal reasons.
Two years ago, three burglars who targeted a number of homes in the north west of England, including an attempted break-in at Sterling’s then-home in Cheshire in November 2018, were jailed.
The Chelsea forward, 27, started and scored in England’s 6-2 win over Iran in their opening group game before being called on again for the 0-0 draw with the United States.
Southgate opted instead to play Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden either side of Harry Kane for England’s 3-0 win over Wales.
The England boss has often relied on Sterling during major tournaments; he started all seven of England’s Euro 2020 matches.
In other news – Keke Palmer is going to be a mom
Keke Palmer is going to be a mom!
The actress, 29, is pregnant and expecting her first baby with boyfriend Darius Jackson, she revealed while hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend for the first time. Learn more