England star Raheem Sterling hails supporters after captaincy debut

GUIMARAES, PORTUGAL - JUNE 06: Raheem Sterling of England poses as captain during the UEFA Nations League Semi-Final match between the Netherlands and England at Estadio D. Afonso Henriques on June 6, 2019 in Guimaraes, Portugal. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Raheem Sterling of England poses as captain. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Raheem Sterling has thanked supporters after making his debut as England captain in the 3-1 defeat to Netherlands.

England took the lead in the Nations League semi-final when Marcus Rashford won a penalty from Matthjis de Ligt and converted.

But the highly-rated defender headed home in the second half to take the game to extra time, where a Kyle Walker own goal and Quincy Promes strike won the game for Ronald Koeman’s men.

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And Sterling, 24, hailed fans on Twitter after having the opportunity to lead his nation in Portugal.

His tweet read: “Despite the result and disappointment, it has been an absolute honour to captain this England team for my 50th cap.

“Almost 7 years. Thank you all for the incredible support through this journey, with still many more to come hopefully.”

The match was Sterling’s 50th for England and featured as captain in place of Harry Kane, who started as a substitute.

Tottenham talisman Kane subsequently came on for Rashford in the second half and reclaimed the armband.

But fans praised Sterling’s achievements after his debut as captain capped a remarkable season for forward.

Alongside his unintentional role of leading the fight against racism in sport, Sterling has managed 31 goals in 57 appearances for club and country.

And fans - including former footballer Gary Lineker - heaped praise on the Manchester City man.

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