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England forward Raheem Sterling to miss Senegal clash at Qatar World Cup due to ‘family matter’


Raheem Sterling will miss England’s World Cup last-16 tie against Senegal due to a “family matter”.

Sterling might have been expected to start in one of the front three positions for England as they look to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the second time under Gareth Southgate.

The 27-year-old Chelsea forward moved from Manchester City in the summer and has been one of the better performers for his new club in an underwhelming first half of the season, and has generally performed well under Southgate.

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However he will not be able to take part in the game on Sunday evening, as announced by the FA on social media.

“Raheem Sterling is not available for selection for the #ThreeLions tonight as he is dealing with a family matter,” the Twitter post read.

Southgate was asked about Sterling’s absence ahead of the game.

“He’s dealing with a family matter so I’ve had quite a bit of time with him this morning,” said Southgate. “But I’ve now had to pass that on to other people to help him with that.”

Asked whether he would stay with the squad, Southgate added:

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“Well, he’s going to go and deal with that matter and then we’ll have to take it from there really.”

Harry Kane will skipper the England XI as he reaffirmed his fitness in a press conference ahead of the match, saying that he was “as match fit as can be” after playing consistently for Tottenham in the Premier League before the break for the Qatar World Cup.

Sterling’s absence could provide an explanation for Southgate’s decision to pick Phil Foden to start, with Bukayo Saka named alongside the Manchester City forward and Kane in England’s front three.

Southgate had received criticism for failing to select Foden in his starting line-up in their goalless group game draw with the United States as his team struggled in front of goal.

England did however win their two other group games against Iran and Wales to ensure qualification to the knockout stages.

The 22-year-old Foden has been one of the standout performers for Pep Guardiola’s City side this season and is one of England’s most exciting young talents.

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Marcus Rashford will begin the Senegal game on the bench, despite his starring, two-goal display against Wales.

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