England vs Netherlands football: Raheem Sterling captaincy stuff-up
Raheem Sterling has revealed he was “fuming” at a statement from his management company claiming that he would captain England against the Netherlands on Thursday.
A press release issued on behalf of Colossal Sports Management late on Tuesday claimed the 24-year-old would lead his country out on his 50th international appearance, but Sterling has insisted he is unaware of what prompted the leak and has apologised to England manager Gareth Southgate.
With England captain Harry Kane and vice-captain Jordan Henderson both having played in the Champions League final on Saturday, Southgate has confirmed that Manchester City forward Sterling remains a contender to captain the side if the duo were to be left out of the Nations League semi-final.
Asked if he knew what had prompted the release during a press conference on Wednesday, Sterling said: “I couldn’t tell you that to be honest with you.
“I woke up this morning fuming. I haven’t had a conversation with Gareth. I haven’t had a conversation with anybody in my agency, so it was kind of a strange one for me to wake up to that.
“The first thing I did after coming off the phone to my agent was see Gareth down the hallway, luckily, and I had to kind of apologise to let him know on my behalf that I don’t know where this has come from.”
Sterling famously moved from Liverpool to Manchester City for a transfer package reportedly worth $90 million.
Liverpool captain Henderson led his side to victory over Kane’s Tottenham in Madrid on Saturday, and it appears Southgate may favour the group of players he has been able to work with over the previous couple of weeks.
That could mean Liverpool duo Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez will miss out on starts, along with Tottenham’s Danny Rose, Eric Dier and Dele Alli.
However, Southgate is unwilling to confirm his captain, due to fears about giving away his selection strategy to Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman.
“If I confirm anything about the team other than that Raheem is playing, then I’m doing half of Ronald’s job for him, so I don’t want to discuss the captaincy,” Southgate said on Wednesday.
“So I don’t want to discuss the captaincy. Basically, Harry Kane is our captain. If Harry Kane doesn’t play, then I have a decision to make.
“But if I tell you Harry Kane is the captain tomorrow then I’m giving Ronald half the team as well, so at this moment in time, I’m not prepared to do that.”
Originally published as $90m star ‘fuming’ over firestorm