England's Raheem Sterling defended by David Beckham after World Cup criticism

England's Raheem Sterling defended by David Beckham after World Cup criticism

The Manchester City forward was castigated in some quarters as missed chances overshadowed a good overall display in the 2-0 win over Sweden.

Raheem Sterling paid tribute to England's fans after helping the team reach a "dream" World Cup semi-final.

ESPN's Mark Ogden noted that Sterling's finishing touch has been an issue thoughout the entire World Cup campaign, and to an extent the numbers bear that out, with the BBC's interactive player ratings seeing him given the lowest mark of anyone in the England side.

"Our last three games were different because we played teams with a defensive approach", he said. "Of course he hasn't scored the goals he would have liked to score but for myself and the players he has been a crucial part of the way we have been playing". He can come short and link the play. "He's had a fantastic tournament so far and hopefully he can continue to have one in the next week".

"The runs he was making, it is a key factor as a front player".

Southgate has engendered a more open, relaxed environment at national team level, with the players carrying less emotional baggage and playing with more freedom.

"But he has become anxious about getting on the scoresheet".

Trippier has been regarded as one of the stars of the tournament, with England having progressed through to the semi-finals, where they will face Croatia on Wednesday.

"The brain sometimes tells you to avoid the possibility of disappointment or failure but that is going to happen".

"None of us are satisfied and none of us are particularly hyped up".

There is no doubt that Southgate has been blessed with a plethora of English blood coming through the ranks all across top flight - if Ruben Loftus-Cheek seized his World Cup spot with a wonderful loan spell, the national team captain Harry Kane has had the most profound education - written off by many in his early years, the Tottenham Hotspur forward has been consistently sensational.

"Our league is not so strong but if we had England's money, who knows where we would be".

"I suppose what has surprised me is I have enjoyed it more than I thought I might", he added. "If you come into a job like this and look at the possible down sides for sure you don't take it".

Related Articles