England fans are enjoying the ride as they prepare to watch the Three Lions in the World Cup semi-final.
Gareth Southgate’s side take on Croatia for a chance to compete for the biggest trophy in world football.
Harry Kane and Kieran Trippier are among those who have excelled in Russia.
But if there’s one player who has divided opinion, it’s Raheem Sterling.
The Manchester City winger has come under heavy criticism as he awaits his first goal at the tournament.
Gary Neville, David Beckham and Gary Lineker are among those to have come to Sterling’s defence, highlighting the important role he plays for the team.
Sterling’s movement benefits those around him while his speed terrifies defences.
CROUCH'S THOUGHTS ON STERLING
The debate will continue but Peter Crouch has weighed in with his own thoughts.
Crouch has been left “bemused” by the criticism, insisting Sterling does so much for the team.
“Raheem would be the first player to tell you his end product needs to improve for England, with his only goals so far coming against Lithuania and Estonia,” Crouch wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.
“Some of the criticism I've heard come his way, though, has left me bemused.
“It's just a matter of calming down in those situations, which he is going to get more and more because of how breaks the defensive lines with his pace.
“People have become fixated about his finishing at the World Cup but it is crucial to look at the bigger picture - Raheem gives us so much.
“He is quick, skilful and determined, always provides a threat and Harry Kane, Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli all benefit from the space he creates.”
Well said, Peter.
The fact of the matter is that England are harder to play against with Sterling in the team.
There isn’t another player in the squad who can manipulate defences in the way that he does.
Crouch believes it’s only a matter of time before Sterling begins scoring consistently for England - he hasn’t only netted two goals in 42 appearances, despite finding the net 23 times for Manchester City last season.
There wouldn’t be a better time for Sterling to silence his critics with a goal than against Croatia against Wednesday.
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