September 27, 2021
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first_imgEngland boss Gareth Southgate has leapt to the defence of Raheem Sterling and insisted the Manchester City star is ‘desperate’ to play well for the Three Lions.Sterling featured in England’s 2-1 victory over Nigeria on Saturday evening, but received a yellow card for a blatant dive in the second half.It came after a week of intense scrutiny for the 23-year-old, who was lambasted by certain sections of the media after he was pictured with an assault rifle tattooed on his leg.However, Southgate insists the forward is focused on helping his country to World Cup success in Russia later this month.He said: “I think in this instance Raheem knows his intent behind the tattoo and he knows there’s nothing to be reproached for within that.“So he’s more comfortable with it than he might have been.“He’s very focused on playing; he’s so desperate to do well for England and so much looking forward to this World Cup.“He’s in a very focused and mature place on it.”After scoring 18 Premier League goals for Pep Guardiola’s side en route to the league title, much will be expected of the former Liverpool man.It is clear to see his positioning and finishing have improved drastically, but former Middlesbrough boss Southgate maintains the starlet is still firmly grounded.“He’s got a really engaging personality,” he continued.“He enjoys his life, he is one of the guys you hear laughing and enjoying his football when he is with us.“Equally, he’s very focused and wants to be a top player and is a top player.“He’s desperate to play for England.“He’s the type of player that, unless he really cannot play with a problem, he’s always reporting for international duty and desperate to play.”last_img