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Sport Sterling says Man City form is 'irrelevant' after win against Croatia

20:21  13 june  2021
20:21  13 june  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Sportsmail's experts pick their England starting XI to face Croatia

  Sportsmail's experts pick their England starting XI to face Croatia England manager Gareth Southgate raised eyebrows when he said he knew his starting XI for the Croatia clash on Sunday 'except maybe one'. So, Sportsmail's experts picked their own teams.That 'one' is expected to be in attack, though there are question marks surrounding the line-up all over the pitch.

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Raheem Sterling has insisted that his poor form for Manchester City is 'irrelevant' for now after scoring England's winner in the 1-0 victory against Croatia that kickstarted their Euro 2020 campaign.

Sterling was a surprise inclusion from the off for the clash but justified the selection after bursting through, taking in Kalvin Phillips' pass and finishing beyond Dominik Livakovic for the only goal of the game.

And after sealing the three points, Sterling admitted in his post-match interview that he is 'trying' to live up to being handed the start.

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'There are a lot of different reasons I haven't scored for my club and that's totally irrelevant now,' Sterling told the BBC. 'I'm here with England, I'm enjoying my football and that's the most important thing and I'm just happy to score.

Croatia 'will NOT take a knee at Wembley in Euro opener vs England'

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'It feels good. I've always said if I play at Wembley in a major tournament, I'm scoring. It's great to finally do that.

'It's great to get off to a win. Now we have the games to look forward to and hopefully go into them and win again.

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'It's been a long season for me, I couldn't wait to get started with England and I knew it would be a positive one.'


Gallery: Toni Leistner and other times athletes and coaches clash with fans in sport (Grid)

a man holding a football ball: Toni Leistner and other times athletes and coaches clash with fans in sport

When quizzed over his spot in Gareth Southgate's first XI of the tournament, Sterling simply responded with a shrug and said he is 'trying' to pay back the manager's faith.

His below-par campaign with City, the Premier League champions, led to renewed calls for Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish to be brought in ahead of him - but Southgate resisted the temptation.

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Sportsmail exclusively reported last month that Sterling has been placed on City's for-sale list this summer, raising doubts over his long-term future at the Etihad.

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The former Liverpool man scored 14 goals from 49 appearances across all competitions last season and was often criticised for a lack of end product, but he has remained a key performer for the Three Lions.

The 26-year-old grew up in the local area around Wembley and was named as the man of the match at the national stadium after looking to dazzle down the left.

His effort untidily skewed into the net on 57 minutes to spark scenes of ecstasy, and rounded off superb play from Leeds midfielder Phillips in the build-up.

Sterling was even handed the captain's armband for a brief spell after Harry Kane was substituted.

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His crucial goal marked the first time ever that England have claimed a win in an opening fixture at the European Championship.

The days leading up the clash were marked by Sterling, as well as Jordan Henderson, being recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Both current Three Lions internationals received MBEs - with Sterling recognised for his services to racial equality in sport.

Read more

The stats that show how Kane is NOT the same player from World Cup .
England captain Harry Kane was hit with a 'new reality' on Sunday when Gareth Southgate showed him that no man was safe when it came to keeping his place in the team at Euro 2020.With eight minutes left on the clock and England holding onto a slender 1-0 lead against the Croatians, Southgate made the ballsy move of subbing off his own skipper in an attempt to try a different approach in attack.

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