- Rio Ferdinand believes Raheem Sterling should have been called up by England
- The Chelsea forward was left out of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the fifth time
- What’s the story with Raheem Sterling? Listen to It’s All Kicking Off
Rio Ferdinand has told Gareth Southgate to free Raheem Sterling after admitting his surprise at the Chelsea striker being left out of the latest England squad.
Southgate has omitted Sterling from his Three Lions squad, which will face Malta and North Macedonia in their final European Championship qualifiers, with the Three Lions having already secured their place in next year’s competition.
Sterling was once a regular in Southgate’s line-up but has now been left out of five consecutive squads. His last appearance for the national team was last year’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to France.
The 28-year-old has been in brilliant form for Chelsea this season – scoring five goals and registering two assists in all competitions – and shone again in their exciting weekend draw against Man City.
His Chelsea teammate Cole Palmer was added to Southgate’s England squad as a late addition on Monday, but there was no call-up for Sterling and the player will now enjoy time off during the international break.
Rio Ferdinand has criticized England for not calling up Chelsea striker Raheem Sterling
Gareth Southgate has not selected Sterling for his latest England squad, which plays against Malta and North Macedonia
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However, Ferdinand opposed the striker’s omission from the national team and delivered an impassioned tirade demanding Sterling be given another chance.
‘Free pound sterling. Free my man Raheem Sterling,” Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube show.
‘I don’t know what he did, who stuck his nose out. I do not know what happened.
‘But the fact that he is not in the England selection is beyond me. Listen, there’s a lot of talent, don’t get me wrong, but in terms of form, he has more goals and assists or goal involvement than Rashford and Grealish combined.
‘Has he been tried and tested at the highest level? He was England’s best player at the European Championship,” Ferdinand said.
“The Euros were good a few years ago, so people might say it’s been a few years ago, but Kalvin Phillips is playing with a good Euros, Maguire is playing with a good Euros.
Sterling featured in the exciting 4-4 Premier League encounter between Chelsea and Man City on Sunday
Ferdinand believes Sterling deserves to return to the England squad
Sterling has not played for England since coming on as a substitute in the World Cup against France last year
“If that’s what gets them in, what happened to Sterling? Free him. Free Sterling,” he said.
The attacking players picked ahead of Sterling are Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Jarrod Bowen, Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka and Ollie Watkins.
Southgate has preferred to play Saka, Kane and Rashford in attack when all three are fit and a big name has to be dropped to accommodate Sterling.
The Liverpool legend similarly questioned why the Chelsea star was not called up, claiming Sterling ‘has a case’ as he felt let down.