Injury heartbreaks have continued during the international break as clubs try to cope with the busy schedule amidst Covid-19. Liverpool were hit hard when centre-back Joe Gomez injured his knee while in camp with the England national team. Manchester City suffered a similar misfortune with Nathan Ake injured while with the Netherlands squad. Raheem Sterling was due to feature for England in the European Nations League. But the Manchester City winger was reported to be nursing an injury as well.
That raised concerns among City faithful as the 25-year-old remains crucial to manager Pep Guardiola and the team this season. He did not feature for England in a friendly win over the Republic of Ireland, but was expected to return for the crucial Nations League encounter with Belgium.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t involved in the crucial Group B match in Belgium, with the official England Twitter account confirming he was out due to injury.
The tweet read: “There’s no @sterling7 in the #ThreeLions squad this evening, as the forward misses out through injury.”
However, England manager Gareth Southgate later allayed fears of Sterling suffering a serious problem that could keep him on the sidelines for long.
”Raheem felt something a couple of days ago, didn’t train on Friday as a precaution,” Southgate said ahead of England’s clash with Iceland coming up on Wednesday.
“He started training yesterday (Saturday) and wasn’t really happy with it. So we’ve discussed it, it’s not one we should take a chance on. I think he’ll be fine for the end of the week, but the games for us will just come too quickly.”
England lost 2-0 to Belgium, ending their chances of progressing to next year’s Nations League final. But Southgate’s comments show Sterling was rested more as a precaution than as a result of the seriousness of the injury.
That will come as a huge relief for Guardiola as he seeks to get the team back on track after an average start to the new campaign. With crucial fixtures ahead for the Blues who face Tottenham on Saturday, availability of key players will be vital. Jose Mourinho’s side has made a strong start to the season and sits second on the league table.
Sterling has proved crucial to the Blues in the last few seasons. He scored 17 and 20 league goals respectively in the last two campaigns, helping the side secure several major silverware. He will be looking to also play a significant role to help the team move forward this term.