The fall-out from the dispute between England internationals Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez dominates the back pages of the UK newspapers today.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has spoken about the matter and The Times reports that he “had to ban Sterling” after the Manchester City forward’s confrontation with Liverpool defender Gomez.
Pictures from England’s training session show Gomez with a scratch on his cheek, although it was not confirmed if it came from the incident with Sterling. The Daily Telegraph describes it as the “eye of a storm”.
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Speaking about the “family feud”, Southgate said: “I love all of my players. We are like a family. The important thing is for a family to communicate and work through problems.
“I don’t expect as a manager to not have to deal with issues.”
Southgate did confirm that Sterling was the aggressor in the incident and that dropping him for the Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro on Thursday was the correct decision.
“Raheem in his [social media] post explained for a very brief moment his emotions ran over. It would be correct to say that’s not the same for Joe,” Southgate added.
“In the end I have to find the right solution for the group. That’s a difficult line, you try to be fair when dealing with all players. I won’t always get that right but I am the manager.
“Raheem is very important for us but I felt it was the right thing.”
The Daily Express says Sterling is forgiven for the “storm in a team room” and the one-match ban means the slate is wiped clean.
However, the Daily Mail reports that England’s squad has been left divided by the Sterling-Gomez saga.
Liverpool star Gomez was reportedly among the players who did not want Sterling axed, but the Mail adds that others agree with Southgate’s stance to the bust-up.
England’s Euro 2020 group A clash with Montenegro takes place at Wembley Stadium tomorrow night (7.45pm, live on ITV).
Southgate’s side require just one more point to confirm their qualification to next summer’s championships.
Today’s newspaper back pages
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