Details have emerged of the armed robbery which prompted Raheem Sterling to leave the England camp and fly home from the World Cup.
Chelsea forward Sterling started both of England’s first two games in Qatar, scoring against Iran and completing 68 minutes against the United States. However, shortly before the teams for the last-16 clash with Senegal were announced, it was confirmed that the 27-year-old was not available for selection due to a family matter.
It later emerged that this referred to an armed robbery on his house, which happened while his fiancee and children were inside. Further details have now been reported, amid other members of the England squad ramping up security on their own homes.
According to The Scottish Sun, Sterling’s fiancee Paige Milian raised the alarm when watches worth £300,000 were stolen. A source told the publication that police were at Sterling’s home – near Chelsea’s Cobham training base – for a number of hours.
“We will have to wait and see,” England manager Gareth Southgate told ITV after being asked whether Sterling would return to join the squad in Qatar. “At the moment, clearly the priority is for him to be with his family and we’re going to support that.
“We’re going to allow him to have as much time as he needs,” Southgate continued. “He’s going home, yeah. I really don’t know because at the moment it’s a situation that he needs time with his family to deal with and I don’t want to put him under any pressure.”
Despite Sterling’s absence, England were able to see off the challenge of Senegal and reach the last eight of the World Cup. Next up for them is a clash with France, who won the tournament in 2018 and beat Poland 3-1 in their own last-16 tie.
Jordan Henderson opened the scoring for England with his first goal of the tournament, with Harry Kane also breaking his duck with an effort on the stroke of half-time. Bukayo Saka rounded off the scoring early in the second half, turning a Phil Foden cross beyond Edouard Mendy, and Senegal were unable to get themselves on the scoresheet.
“I hope everything’s okay with Raheem’s family at home,” Henderson said. “I hope he goes back and he can sort everything out, and hopefully he can come back, but all our thoughts and support is with him.”
England are due to take on France on December 10, with kick-off at 7pm UK time, with the game taking place at the same Al Bayt Stadium where England beat Senegal. The venue will be the same if Southgate’s team make it through to the semi-final on December 14, where one of Morocco, Spain, Portugal or Switzerland would await.