Forward Raheem Sterling admitted “emotions got the better of me” after being dropped for England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro following a clash with team-mate Joe Gomez.
The Football Association said Sterling had been dropped “as a result of a disturbance in a private team area”.
The Manchester City player, 24, then took to social media to confirm “a five to 10 second thing” with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez, 22, in the England camp.
But he added the pair were now “good”.
The pair had an on-field argument during the Reds’ 3-1 Premier League victory at Anfield on Sunday.
“Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on,” Sterling said via his Instagram account on Tuesday.
“We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.
“This is why we play this sport because of our love for it – me and Joe Gomez are good, we both understand it was a five to 10 second thing… it’s done, we move forward and not make this bigger than it is.
“Let’s get focus on our game on Thursday,” Sterling added.
England boss Gareth Southgate said: “Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday’s game were still raw. One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we’ve been able to separate club rivalries from the national team.”
“We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday. My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken.”
“Now that the decision has been made with the agreement of the entire squad, it’s important that we support the players and focus on Thursday night.”
England play their 1,000th senior men’s international on Thursday and a win at Wembley would book a spot at Euro 2020 with one qualifying game to spare.
The Three Lions are top of Euro 2020 Qualifying Group A, three points clear of the Czech Republic and four ahead of Kosovo with the top two nations advancing.
A win for Southgate’s side will see them qualify, while a point will also be enough if the match between the Czech Republic and Kosovo also ends in a draw.
England then play their final group match away in Kosovo on Sunday.
Sterling, who joined Manchester City from Liverpool in 2015, has made 55 appearances for England, scoring 12 times, and netted in the 5-1 away win in Podgorica in March, while Gomez has featured seven times for the national side.
However, Gomez has struggled for first-team action for Liverpool this season, starting only one Premier League match.
Sterling has started 11 of City’s league matches in 2019-20 and has scored 14 times in 17 appearances in all competitions for his club, as well as scoring four times for England.
Today is a media day with England and I’m sure the long lenses will be focused on Sterling and Gomez. The big point in all of this is that during the time Gareth Southgate has been the England manager, team harmony has been one of the key things.
He has often told us how they have worked on defusing club rivalries, because it has been a problem with England in the past. Sterling will remain with the squad and one of the things Southgate said was that the emotions from Sunday’s match were still raw and the decision to leave Sterling out has been made with the agreement of the entire squad.
Sterling has come on a storm in the last year or so, while his development has continued with Manchester City and England. He has scored 10 goals in his past 10 internationals and he did captain England when he won his 50th cap against the Netherlands in June.
Time will move on and we will always refer to this, but he is such an important player for England, I would go as far to say he is the first name on the team sheet. So I would not rule him out of captaining his country in the future.
Source: BBC News