Southgate praises Sterling's reaction after Gomez clash with recall expected
Punished for confronting England team-mate Joe Gomez, the Manchester City attacker is poised to return to the fold against Kosovo in Group A."Yes," Southgate said when asked if Sterling will start on Sunday. "Without knowing what might happen in tomorrow's game and everything else, but I can see that being the case."His reaction has been brilliant. He spoke to the team really well and he's trained really well and I can't fault his reaction at all.
Sterling is understood to have taken offence to Gomez laughing with several other England team-mates in the training ground canteen before asking "you think you're the big man now?" - and then trying to grab the Liverpool defender round the neck.
Emotions had carried over after the pair were involved in an argument towards the end of Liverpool's 3-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday.
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The Tottenham forward is still 23 goals behind the all-time record, but his international boss thinks he is more than up to the task of breaking itGareth Southgate is backing Harry Kane to break the England goals record after the captain's hat-trick against Montenegro moved him to sixth on the all-time list.
Sterling has since been dropped by Southgate for England's European Qualifier against Montenegro on Thursday and has apologised for the incident.
Speaking on Tuesday, Southgate refused to go into specific details about the row, but said: "The decision has been made not to consider Raheem for the game on Thursday and that's the end of the matter for me. We have to move forward and that's why keeping the group together was the most important thing.
"As emotions calmed yesterday, that was still a possibility. Everybody worked that through and I'm very impressed with the players.
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"I love all of my players. We are like a family and all families have disagreements. The most important thing for any family is that you communicate those disagreements and work through them."'We are drawing a line under it'
Sky Sports News understands Sterling and Gomez were separated by team-mates and Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson then mediated via telephone in a meeting between the pair in one of their bedrooms.
Southgate revealed he had consulted with a number of England's senior players before making the decision to drop Sterling, but allow him to stay in camp.
"It is important to be as fair as possible with any decision making, whether that is a senior player of junior player," Southgate said.
"Quite a number of our senior players have been active in discussions. That is an important process because I want to get a feel for where we are as a group.
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"But then I'm the manager and I have certain decisions that are my responsibility. I always have to find the right solution for the group and that's a very difficult line.
"We have a very good understanding of the way that we have worked over the last couple of years, which has brought us a lot of togetherness that is still there.
"We are a united group. Now we have to turn our focus onto the football. We have a hugely important qualifier to reach a European Championship. I'm speaking now because we are drawing a line under it and moving forward as a team."'Out of character from Sterling'
England and Leicester defender Ben Chilwell revealed Gomez and Sterling both spoke at a team meeting on Monday and says the incident has not been spoken about since.
"I didn't see anything. I was one of the later ones to turn up yesterday," Chilwell said.
"(I was at the team meeting). It happened last night and Gareth spoke about the situation and what he thought, he also wanted to know what we thought about it as well.
"Raheem and Joe both got the chance to talk as well, which they both wanted to do. For Raheem, he wanted to apologise and Joe wanted to get some stuff off his chest as well.
Hudson-Odoi and Pope start for England
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Nick Pope will start for England against Kosovo in their final European Qualifier, Sky Sports News understands. Pope earns his first England start, after the Burnley goalkeeper was first called up in March 2018, while Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi makes only his second start as Gareth Southgate explores his squad options.Southgate could make further changes for the final European Qualifier at the Pristina City Stadium on Sunday with James Maddison a doubt with a minor calf strain and John Stones set to be rested.
"He [Sterling] was apologetic. He said it was not in his nature - which it is not.
"We all know as football players that emotions can run high, there is no one trying to make excuses for him - even himself.
"Two days ago, it was a very emotional game and like I said, things are going to get heated. They have both moved on. That was it done then. Since then it has not been spoke of."
After the Montenegro game at Wembley, England travel to Kosovo on Sunday, knowing a point from these next two games will be enough to qualify for Euro 2020.
In pictures: Gomez v Sterling and other teammates who've fallen out with each other [Read Sport]
England score most goals in over a century in historic 2019 .
Gareth Southgate's team strolled to a win on Sunday and set some team and individual landmarks along the way as a successful year drew to a closeEngland’s final goal in a 4-0 drubbing of the Balkans, scored by Mason Mount, was their 38th in the last 12 months, their most since 1908, according to Opta.