Chelsea and England star Raheem Sterling has flown home from Qatar after his house was broken into by burglars, according to reports. The experienced Three Lions wide man made himself unavailable for selection before the round of 16 win over Senegal on Sunday, with a statement confirming that he had to attend a ‘family matter’.
England kept quiet over the reasoning behind Sterling’s last-minute withdrawal from the squad to face Senegal, with the two teams each fighting for a spot in the quarter-finals. Manager Gareth Southgate skirted around the issue before kick-off as fans were left to speculate over what was behind the development.
According to The Telegraph, the late U-turn was due to a burglary on Sterling’s home as robbers broke in on Saturday evening. The 27-year-old has supposedly taken the decision to fly back to England and check on his family after pondering whether or not the issue could be resolved from the Middle East.
Despite initial fears, it appears as though his tournament may not be over amid claims that he is expected to fly back out to Qatar with a crunch World Cup quarter-final between England and France scheduled for the weekend.
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Southgate and England captain Harry Kane were both more open to addressing the matter once England sealed their 3-0 win over Senegal, thanks to goals from Jordan Henderson, Bukayo Saka and Kane himself. “Our thoughts are with him and his family,” said the Tottenham striker.
“We’ll have to take it day by day. We send him our best and hope to see him as soon as possible.” Meanwhile, Southgate refused to speculate over whether Sterling would definitely return in time for the quarter-final clash with France, admitting: “I really don’t know.”