England winger Raheem Sterling faced criticism ahead of Euro 2020 and Gareth Southgate’s decision to start him against Germany raised eyebrows among some fans – although he emphatically answered his critics
Raheem Sterling had a brilliant response when quizzed on his selection against Germany after he produced yet more heroics for England.
Sterling, 26, faced criticism ahead of Euro 2020 after an underwhelming season with Manchester City and Gareth Southgate’s decision to start him against Die Mannschaft raised eyebrows among some fans.
That is despite the winger scoring both of England’s goals in the group stage of the tournament, in 1-0 victories over Croatia and Czech Republic.
But Sterling proved his doubters wrong again at Wembley on Tuesday by scoring the decisive goal against Germany, setting England on course for a quarter-final tie in Rome on Saturday.
When asked if he justified his selection during a post-match interview, Sterling simply repeated the question with an astonished look on his face.
“Have I justified my selection?!” he said in a clip shared by former England striker Ian Wright on Twitter, before staring into space in a somewhat bemused manner.
After his interview, Sterling took to Twitter to write: “Love to all the fans supporting at home and all the fans at Wembley stadium, you were with us all the way.”
The former Liverpool starlet received glowing praise from Gary Lineker, who responded with a message of his own, saying: “You’re doing the country proud. Well played.”
During the match, the former Three Lions ace had declared: “Another goal for Raheem Sterling. He’s been England’s best player by far.”
England boss Southgate addressed how Sterling has had to repeatedly answer his critics in his own-post match interview.
Discussing goalscorers Sterling and Harry Kane, he said: “They both have to prove people wrong all the time.
How do you rate Raheem Sterling’s Euro 2020 out of 10? Comment below.
“Raheem has been immense for us over a three-to-four-year period. He knows we’ve got faith in him and his performances have been electric, right from the start.
“For Harry, it was a really important moment. When you’re a centre-forward, it doesn’t matter what else you’re doing in the game – you need those goals. I was pleased to see the second one go in, I have to say.”
And explaining why Sterling and Bukayo Saka started in attack, Southgate added: “You know that you change the shape, you pick certain personnel instead of others – if it goes wrong, you’re dead.
“We have to go about in the way we believed: we wanted aggressive pressure all over the field and we felt it was the right way of doing that to match them up.
“We felt that speed in behind Harry would cause them a problem and I thought Bukayo and Raheem really created that jeopardy in their backline.
“We knew they [Germany] would have moments of possession because they’ve got really good footballers and experienced players, but our defenders and the whole team defended incredibly. It was a fabulous performance; I can’t give enough credit to the players.”