Gareth Southgate: Raheem Sterling being with his family after burglary more important than World Cup

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate says England will give Raheem Sterling all the time and space he needs after he left the World Cup following a break-in at his home in Surrey.

Sterling’s house was broken into by burglars on Saturday night while his family were out, leaving them shaken up by the incident. The Chelsea forward is now travelling back to England from Qatar to check on the well-being of his children.

Sterling was forced to miss England’s 3-0 win over Senegal in the last-16 of the World Cup so he could travel home. He remains fully committed to England but has decided to put his family first. It remains unclear when he will return.

Southgate has confirmed the 27-year-old will be supported in whatever decision he makes, telling reporters: “Raheem, as our statement says, is having to deal with a family situation. So he is going back to England.

“We have got to give him time to try to resolve that or be there for his family. That is the most important thing at this time, so we are going to give him that space. It didn’t impact the team selection. I spent a lot of time with Raheem this morning. But you have days where events happen and you have to deal with them.

“He’s on his way home and we are obviously mindful of him being allowed space and privacy respected, so we don’t want to talk in too much detail.

“Of course, it’s not ideal for the group ahead of a big game, but it pales into insignificance. The individual is more important than the group in those moments. So I needed to look after the situation and then I had to pass that on to others this afternoon in order to get him home really.”

England’s victory over Senegal means they will now face France on Saturday in the quarter-finals, with the French beating Poland 3-1 earlier in the day on Sunday.

Kylian Mbappe was the star of the show in that win, scoring twice and assisting a goal for Olivier Giroud too.

The forward is now the top scorer at the World Cup after scoring five goals in just three games, but Southgate insists there is more to France than just Mbappe.

“He is of course a world-class player. He has already delivered big moments in this tournament and in previous tournaments,” said Southgate. “But there are also…I think [Antoine] Griezmann is now over 70 consecutive games for France. I think he is also a phenomenal player.

“We know Olivier Giroud so well and they have outstanding young midfield players as well. So everywhere you look, when we are studying France at every age group, they have incredible depth of talent in every position.

“It is a huge test, but one that we are really looking forward to. It’s a great challenge for our team now.”