Emotions got the better of me, says Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling said he allowed his "emotions" to get the better of him leading to a brief altercation, with Liverpool's Joe Gomez that resulted in Manchester City player being dropped for Friday morning's (Singapore time) Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro.
Sterling admitted on Instagram yesterday he and Gomez "had words" when they met up at the England camp the day after Liverpool's 3-1 win over defending champions Man City which left the latter nine points adrift of Juergen Klopp's side.
"Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on," Sterling said.
"We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.
"This is why we play this sport because of our love for it - me and Joe Gomez are good, we both understand it was a five to 10-second thing... It's done, we move forward and not make this bigger than it is. Let's get focus on our game on Thursday."
The Daily Mail reported that Gomez and Sterling had to be separated by teammates on Monday after a "physical confrontation". The pair had also clashed on the field towards the end of Sunday's match.
England manager Gareth Southgate moved quickly to deal with the issue.
In a statement before Sterling's Instagram post issued by the Football Association, Southgate said: "We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro.
"One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we've been able to separate club rivalries from the national team.
"Unfortunately, the emotions of yesterday's game were still raw. My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken..."
However, former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand disagreed with Southgate's decision, saying the England manager has "hung Sterling out to dry".
"This incident could have been handled better," wrote Ferdinand in a Facebook post.
"Why this couldn't be handled internally? Now Raheem is left to defend himself from all of the haters...
"If this were a terrible incident, then I would be all for public shaming & discipline. But, for this 'throat grab' that we are told it's for, I can't understand it.
"I just feel this could and should have been handled better to support the player & not hang him out to dry."