Raheem Sterling has decided to return to England’s World Cup camp before the side’s quarter-final against France on Saturday.
Sterling, who missed England’s last-16 victory over Senegal last Sunday after flying back to the United Kingdom following the robbery at his Surrey home, will rejoin the squad in Qatar on Friday. The winger has prioritised his family’s safety after the incident and has spent the week bolstering his security arrangements.
The winger was understood to have been left “shaken” and fearful for the safety of his fiancee and three children. Jewellery and watches were among the items stolen at Sterling’s home and the break-in is being investigated by Surrey police.
England have not pressured Sterling into making a decision on whether to return to the team’s Al Wakrah base. But the news that the 27-year-old is coming back is a boost for Gareth Southgate before his side take on the world champions.
Southgate will still need to make an assessment on whether Sterling is ready to be part of the matchday squad. The Chelsea forward, who has 20 goals in 81 caps, has been unable to take part in any preparations this week and has been through a difficult ordeal.
Equally, Southgate needs every attacking tool at his disposal and he will want strength in depth on the bench. Sterling had lost his place in England’s starting lineup before flying home last Sunday, but he is one of the most experienced players in the squad and played a vital role in Southgate’s side reaching the final of Euro 2020.
Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden are favourites to start on the flanks against France, with Harry Kane certain to lead the line. Southgate also has Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount and James Maddison as options in wide areas.