Raheem Sterling returning to World Cup before England’s game with France

<span>Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Raheem Sterling has decided to return to England’s World Cup camp before the side’s quarter-final against France on Saturday.

Sterling, who missed England’s last-16 victory over Senegal last Sunday after flying back to the United Kingdom after the robbery at his Surrey home, will rejoin the squad in Qatar on Friday. The winger has prioritised his family’s safety after the incident and has spent the week bolstering his security arrangements.

He was understood to have been left “shaken” and fearful for the safety of his fiancee and three children. Jewellery and watches were among the items stolen and the break-in is being investigated by Surrey police.

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England have not put pressure on Sterling into making a decision on whether to return to the Al Wakrah base. But the 27-year-old coming back is a boost for Gareth Southgate before his side take on the world champions. Southgate will still need to make an assessment on whether Sterling is ready to be part of the matchday squad.

Equally, Southgate needs every attacking tool at his disposal and he will want strength in depth on the bench. Sterling, who has scored 20 goals in 81 caps, had lost his place in England’s starting lineup before flying home, but he is one of the most experienced players in the squad and played a vital role in England reaching the final of Euro 2020.

Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden are favourites to start on the flanks against France, with Harry Kane certain to lead the line. Southgate also has Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount and James Maddison as options in wide areas.