Raheem Sterling to start for England vs Kosovo following one-game ban

Gareth Southgate will recall Raheem Sterling for England’s game in Kosovo after dropping him for the European Qualifier against Montenegro.

Only a point is needed against Group A minnows Montenegro to secure qualification for the finals and Thursday’s encounter at Wembley will also see England celebrate becoming the first nation to play 1,000 international matches.

Much of the talk, however, has focused on a fracas rather than football in the build-up following Sterling’s exchange with Liverpool defender Joe Gomez less than 24 hours after the pair clashed towards the end of Manchester City’s 3-1 loss at Anfield.

England manager Gareth Southgate accepts Raheem Sterling may not be best pleased with the decision to drop him for England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro

The FA announced late on Monday night that the 24-year-old would not be considered to face Montenegro as a result, with the forward making private and public apologies after emotions got the better of him.

While Southgate feels it may have caused a temporary rift in his relationship with Sterling, he insists he is ready to restore one of his key men in the final qualifier in Prishtina on Sunday.

Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez trained together on Wednesday, two days after their altercation at St George’s Park
“Yes,” Southgate replied when asked if he would be ready to turn to Sterling in Kosovo. “Without knowing what might happen in tomorrow’s game and everything else, but I can see it.”

Asked if he had any hesitation in making such a decision, he added: “None, none whatsoever.

“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. So, there might be observation about where he might be in terms of me and giving you an honest answer of what I think he’s likely to be thinking.

“But in terms of how he’s trained and how he’s been around the guys and with us, I’m happy.”

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