Rio Ferdinand is not happy with Gareth Southgate's reaction to Sterling's clash with Gomez

Rio Ferdinand has criticised Gareth Southgate's treatment of Raheem Sterling

Gareth Southgate has ensured that all talk before England's game against Montenegro on Thursday will be about Raheem Sterling.

The Three Lions manager released a public statement last night declaring that Sterling will play no part in the Euro 2020 qualifier after a clash with Joe Gomez in training.

Both players were involved in a heated argument during Liverpool's 3-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday and it seems emotions were still running high on Monday.

However, there is a school of thought that Southgate's decision to make the incident public knowledge was the wrong one.

It's an analogy shared by Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand, who was heavily critical of Southgate's decision to release the information.

Ferdinand wrote on Facebook: "GARETH has handled being England manager brilliantly - up to this point...However, I feel this incident could have been handled better. Keep it behind closed doors & deal with it internally surely?!

"Come International Week, it’s meet up time between Sterling & Gomez... Raheem Sterling was still upset with Gomez about the result on Sunday & their little pushing/words said during the #lfc vs #mcfc game.

"So he has obviously gone into the England camp heated & gone for Gomez, in doing so grabbed Gomez by the throat. Obviously as a manager I’m sure having a harmonious squad is the best scenario - handshakes and hugs on sight not confrontations. But let’s be honest now this kind of stuff isn’t uncommon in squads full of testosterone.

In the various squads I have been a part of I have seen players get punched in the face, ribs broken, nose busted, head kicked like a football.....a throat grab was the equivalent of the intricate handshake embraces that are all too familiar today!

Sterling in England training

"Now Raheem is left to defend himself from all of the haters that had had their keyboards turned off due to him becoming a very worthy ambassador for the English game, and rightly so.

"If this was a terrible incident then I would be all for public shaming & discipline. But for this 'throat grab' that we are TOLD it's for I can't understand it.

"One of our World Class players who has conducted himself wonderfully through Racism and unwarranted criticism in an England shirt will now come under more scrutiny...when this could have been dealt with internally. Hindsight is a great thing though.

It seems to me, Raheem felt embarrassed by all that went on at the weekend... a sign of winning mentality...however channeled wrongly. Help educate him!

Sterling and Gomez

It's an opinion that will be shared by many, but fellow United legend Gary Neville believes Southgate has made the correct decision.

"I've been involved in quite a few of these things over the years with England and there is no right or wrong in a way, in the sense that I've seen managers sweep it under the carpet, and try to keep a low profile on these sorts of things," Neville told Sky Sports.

"I've also seen managers go public, as Gareth has. What I would say is that the decision that Gareth has made... I feel like it's the right one without knowing the detail of what's gone on.

"There's nothing worse than sweeping it under the carpet, and then all the players going back to their own rooms they all share together, and having that feeling that they're all talking about you being weak, and that you've not dealt with it because he's a big player and that he's shied away from a big decision.

Neville speaking on Sky

"I've seen incidents like this dealt with in both ways with England and there is no ideal because it's so public and the media want their pound of flesh, including ourselves. But the reality is that these things happen in football, and it will blow over."


GIVEMESPORT'S Danny Ryan says:

If both Sterling and Gomez quickly resolved their differences on the training pitch after the incident, it has to be questioned whether going public was the correct call.

In the competitive nature of the Premier League, club rivalries are, of course, going to play a role in the England setup during the season.

Inviting more criticism on a player heavily targeted by the media in the past probably wasn't Southgate's wisest move as England manager.

Internal punishments probably would have sufficed, but at least Sterling will have learned his lesson!

News Now - Sport News