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Sterling-Gomez clash: Gareth Southgate says forward may not be ‘hugely enthusiastic’ about him

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England manager Gareth Southgate says he “wouldn’t imagine” that forward Raheem Sterling is “hugely enthusiastic” about him at the moment.

Sterling was dropped by Southgate for Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro after a clash with team-mate Joe Gomez at England’s training camp.

But Harry Maguire feels the squad has “moved on” from the incident on Monday.

“Joe and Raheem are talking now,” said the Manchester United defender. “It’s good for the team to move on.”

Manchester City forward Sterling has stayed with the squad and the 24-year-old will be available for Sunday’s qualifier in Kosovo.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Southgate said: “I wouldn’t imagine that he’s hugely enthusiastic – but I can understand that.

“He’s with the group, that’s the most important thing. He’s a massive part of what we do – has been, will be.

“He’s with us for the game tomorrow, he’s back with the team on the training pitch enjoying his football. [He] trained superbly well, as he always does.

“So for me, the thing is finished.”

Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez

Sterling and defender Gomez, 22, had an on-field argument during Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Premier League title rivals City on Sunday – a day before the England squad linked up – but Maguire said there are “definitely no cliques” between players from rival clubs.

“Everybody mixes,” said the 26-year-old centre-back. “We all share tables and share jokes and laughs together.

“You’ve seen how good the unity in the squad is over the past couple of years. The group has grown together. We continue to keep on growing and that’s really important.

“We’ve moved on since Monday and we’ve trained hard, fully focused on the game, because it’s a big game. We want to qualify for the Euros.”

England need just a point against Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday (19:45 GMT) to qualify for Euro 2020 in their 1,000th match.

Many of Southgate’s players faced each other in last season’s Champions League final, as Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 just five days before England’s Nations League semi-final defeat by the Netherlands.

The England boss added: “When you’re involved in high-emotion games it really challenges everybody’s feelings and it is a very difficult situation for everyone to come back immediately together. We had that with the Champions League final in a different way.

“Because we have so many of our players – nearly all – playing in England, it’s inevitable that we’re going to have those games and those rivalries.

“But the players are very, very close and that’s been the case right the way through the rest of the week. I don’t see that changing because they’re too tight for that not to be the case.

“What I saw on the training ground over the past couple of days, there was full focus on the game, with everybody very together, laughing, enjoying their football again. That’s where all of us want to be.”

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BBC Sport – Sport

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