Southgate hails Sterling character

Gareth Southgate has lauded Raheem Sterling and says he will bounce back from his recent sending off for Manchester City.

The 22-year-old started for England in their 4-0 win over Malta on Friday, having scored the winner for his club in a 2-1 win over Bournemouth last weekend before being dismissed for over celebrating.

He was taken off at half-time by Southgate in the Three Lions’ World Cup qualifier following a sluggish display, for Marcus Rashford, who was instrumental in a m uch-improve second-half performance that produced all four goals.

Speaking after the game, the England manager praised Sterling’s professionalism and creativity.

He sad: “Look, he’s a lad we love. Of course it’s difficult [to be taken off] but he took it really professionally.

“He is a player we have a lot of time for. He’s really ballsy. As a creative player, some days everything you do works and some days it [doesn’t].

“It is much harder to be a creative player than the lump that I was, because I was just stopping people and that’s much easier.

“To go and beat people, and to beat people in tight spaces, some days that happens and some days, it doesn’t.

“In the first half, it was the latter for Raheem but he will bounce back from that.”

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