Raheem Sterling has been dropped by Gareth Southgate after a bust up with Liverpool's Joe Gomez on international duty, picking up from where the pair left off on the pitch on Sunday.
You know a Premier League rivalry has truly arrived when it spills over into international breaks. Manchester United and Liverpool players famously sat at separate tables during England duty in the past. With two big character managers and mutual domination of the league, Liverpool and Manchester City have entered that ether over the last year.
Liverpool's win on Sunday was a particularly feisty and controversial affair. Taking their cue from their manager, a number of City players in particular appeared to be on the verge of exploding throughout the second half. Nobody exemplified this more than Raheem Sterling.
For Sterling, the Liverpool game is obviously a bigger deal anyway, his trips to Anfield are notable for the toxic reception he receives from his former fans. During the second half, he was frequently wound up as he tried to get his team back into the game. During one of those moments, he got into a seemingly innocuous bust up with England teammate Joe Gomez.
Now it appears that bad feeling carried over to the pair meeting up with England this week and has led to Gareth Southgate ruling Sterling out for Thursday's game with Montenegro.
The FA confirmed a "disturbance in a private team area" between the pair, with Gareth Southgate saying that 'emotions were still raw' after Sunday. Southgate confirmed that Sterling won't be considered for Thursday's game at Wembley. England need just a point from two games to qualify for next year's European Championships.
We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday.
One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we've been able to separate club rivalries from the national team. Unfortunately, the emotions of yesterday's game were still raw.
My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken. Now that the decision has been made with the agreement of the entire squad, it's important that we support the players and focus on Thursday night.
Sterling responded last night on Instagram explaining the situation and will remain with the squad for Sunday's game in Kosovo.
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