The Premier League may still be a few weeks away, but Jose Mourinho is making sure to get his revenge in early. Joining the chorus of divided spectators on the side of the unimpressed, Raheem Sterling has come under criticism by the Manchester United manager.
Although negative responses to England's World Cup run have been few and far between (within England itself, anyway), the effectiveness of a goalless Sterling remained a bone of contention. With many adamant that the Manchester City man was contributing regardless of his barren run, others took greater umbrage with his wastefulness in front of goal - the rest was just window-dressing.
Working with RT for the duration of this summer's World Cup, Jose Mourinho had his doubts that Raheem Sterling should have been in Gareth Southgate's starting XI to begin with:
He didn't have a good enough World Cup to be chosen for a match ahead of Vardy, Welbeck, Rashford – people with probably better condition from a physical and psychological point of view.
Although Mourinho may well be correct in suggesting Southgate would have been better equipped to give one of Sterling's teammates a chance in yesterday's third-placed playoff, questioning the player's 'physical and psychological point of view' is sure to spark a reaction.
Having enjoyed a fantastic season with Manchester City as they progressed to a record-breaking Premier League triumph, there is little doubt Mourinho's assessment comes from the perspective of the Manchester United manager; and not a bipartisan analyst.
Analysing Southgate's selections beyond the choice to play Raheem Sterling, Jose Mourinho also criticised his decision to play goalkeeper Jordan Pickford throughout: "I think also for a second goalkeeper to feel I didn't even play in the third match of the group phase, I'm not playing in the third vs fourth match, when can I play. I think it's quite frustrating for a guy like Butland or Pope."