Gareth Southgate has increased his security arrangements in response to photographs of his house being published while he has been managing England at the World Cup in Qatar.
Safety has been high on the agenda in the England camp after Raheem Sterling missed the last-16 tie against Senegal to fly back to the United Kingdom because of a robbery at his Surrey home. Sterling, who returned to Qatar on Friday and trained before Saturday’s quarter-final against France, has spent much of the week beefing up his security and did not want to rejoin his teammates until he was comfortable about his family’s wellbeing.
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England put no pressure on the winger and Southgate explained that he could understand why the 28-year-old’s anxiety about his partner and three young children led to him missing the Senegal game. “You know as a manager if a player is not in the right space to play,” the head coach said. “You want them around for the game but if they have got other things going on in their life that are difficult to be dealing with in that moment, I think any modern workplace has got to understand those things.
“I could relate to it because I’ve had to put extra security at home because pictures of my house have been published through this tournament. My wife was concerned about that. These are the sorts of spin-offs you have when you are involved with England. I could totally understand where Raheem was in terms of feeling the need to look after his family.”
Jewellery and watches were among the items stolen from Sterling’s home. Surrey police are investigating and the Football Association has reiterated the importance of security to England’s players. Southgate added of Sterling: “His wife was concerned with what had gone wrong. He felt the need to be with his family. I can understand that. If your home has been intruded, that is very difficult.”