Last but not least, Raheem Sterling perfectly addresses Gareth Southgate’s rejection of Burnley.
Raheem Sterling responds to Gareth Southgate’s decision against Burnley well.
Although Raheem Sterling’s ongoing exclusion from the England squad is notable for the abrupt rejection of a player who was once regarded as one of Gareth Southgate’s reliables, the Three Lions manager can rest easy knowing there are still plenty of effective attacking options available.
But Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t have that luxury, so he had to turn to the winger here when he reinstated Sterling to the starting lineup, and Sterling is what got his Chelsea team out of the Turf Mud.
The Blues were in danger of sleeping through their first Premier League loss at this Lancashire venue as they trailed 1-0 at halftime despite controlling possession and having played without guile or ambition for nearly 30 minutes following Wilson Odobert’s breakaway strike.
The visitors went on to win 4-1, giving them their first consecutive league victories since March. With bursts either side of the break, Sterling however, produced the two goals that turned the game on its head and then settled it with a third of his own.
When Mykhailo Mudryk scored his first goal for the Blues at Craven Cottage and was later deemed fit after an injury scare, Sterling, who started on the bench against Fulham on Monday, did not immediately return. The season had started off well for Sterling, but he had struggled after scoring two goals against Luton in late August. But Pochettino was praised for defying his international manager and not doing so.
Sterling earned the equalizer after slipping past two defenders to reach the byline and seeing his cross ricochet off the unfortunate Ameen Al Dakhil’s thigh and over the stranded James Trafford. For the second, he did not make it that far before being stopped by Vitinho as he sprinted into the box from wide, leaving Cole Palmer, who ironically may soon face off against another England adversary, to score from 12 yards.
This was the Sterling that Southgate had placed such high importance on for the most of his time as England manager; a player whose drive could serve as a stand-in for natural inventiveness on teams lacking it, like Chelsea’s, to unlock defenses. Conor Gallagher sent him off after the break, and he immediately showed the finishing touch that had once made him the only consistent scorer outside of Harry Kane for England after a goalless start to his international career.
These days, Southgate has more choices thanks to Jude Bellingham’s prolific play for Real Madrid, Bukayo Saka’s development as a reliable international scorer, Phil Foden’s goal just before the half, and Bukayo Saka. But with a few more days like today, Sterling’s England saga won’t have to end just yet.