The England international says he is worried about his family’s life after the UK media reported a burglary at his home.
England’s Raheem Sterling is leaving the World Cup in Qatar to return to the United Kingdom to be with his family as the media report that burglars have broken into his home.
The 27-year-old, who has 81 caps for England, was not in the squad on Sunday night for the match against Senegal which England won 3-0 to book a place in the World Cup quarter-finals against France.
Sterling is said to have been shaken and concerned for the lives of his children after “barging into their home with a gun while his family was inside”, UK news agency PA reported on Monday.
“Today I spent some time with him. They will fly home. And obviously, the family at the moment is the most important thing,” England defender Gareth Southgate told reporters on Sunday night in Qatar when asked about the reports coming home.
“So we want to give him that place. And we’ll see in the next few days how it all plays out,” Southgate said.
“He’s going home and, yes, we know he’s allowed to have a place [having] privacy is respected, so we don’t want to talk in detail,” he said.
The England coach did not comment on the incident, saying it was a private matter for Sterling, and would not say whether he would return to the Qatar team.
The Football Association in England said Sterling was absent from the Senegal game for “personal reasons”, and the England team’s Twitter account said he was away because he was “dealing with family matters”.
Raheem Sterling is not available for selection #Three lions tonight when he is dealing with a family issue. pic.twitter.com/CR6cU8J0wE
– England (@England) December 4, 2022
Support for the England international flooded social media, with former England international and TV presenter Gary Lineker saying his thoughts were with Sterling and his family “after their terrible and difficult situation”.
The mind has @chingwe7 and his family after their terrible and terrible sufferings.
– Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) December 4, 2022
It is not known whether Sterling will be included in the England squad for Qatar.
“Obviously it’s not good for a team to prepare for a game, but the individual is more important than the team at that time,” Southgate told reporters.
England star Harry Kane, who scored the second goal in the game against Senegal, said the club wanted Sterling the best he could and hoped to see him back “soon”.
“It’s not easy to see one of your friends and family go through something like this,” Kane said.
“So we have to do it day by day, I’m sure Raheem will talk to the manager and take the best decision for him and his family, that’s the most important thing,” he said.
“From us as a team we send him all we can and we hope to see him soon.”