Gareth Southgate explains why Raheem Sterling went straight down the tunnel after substitution vs United States


Gareth Southgate has explained why Chelsea star Raheem Sterling headed straight down the tunnel after being subbed off against the United States. Sterling could not help England record victory in their second World Cup Group B match in Qatar as Southgate’s side were held to a 0-0 draw by the Americans. England thumped Iran 6-2 in their opening game as Southgate decided to stick with the same XI against the USA, meaning Sterling kept his starting spot.

Sterling had scored in the victory over Iran but could not grab a goal this time around as he was replaced by Jack Grealish after 68 minutes. Some fans were left confused as Sterling headed straight down the tunnel after coming off with fears over a possible injury or some kind of fall-out with the boss. But Southgate has cleared those rumours up and has confirmed the reason why Sterling had to leave.

‘With Raheem, he is one of the players in dope testing,’ Southgate said following the 0-0 draw against the USA on Friday night. ‘So I think he started refuelling straight away on his recovery. I think he went to the bench first anyway and then went in.’

Sterling changed clubs in the summer – moving to Chelsea in a £47.5m deal to end his seven-year spell at Manchester City – and has registered five goals and two assists across his opening 19 games for the Blues. He scored 131 goals across 339 games for City between 2015 and 2022, helping them win four Premier League titles, five League Cups and the FA Cup.

Sterling has knocked up 81 caps for England, scoring 20 goals, and has been a regular under Southgate. The 27-year-old played a key role as England finished as runners-up at Euro 2020 – their best- ever performance at the tournament to date.

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