John Terry has warned Chelsea winger Raheem Sterling could lose his place in England’s starting line-up after struggling for form this season. Sterling marked his 80th England cap yesterday with his 20th goal as Gareth Southgate’s side romped to a 6-2 victory over Iran in their World Cup opener.
The Blues forward was selected from the start in Doha alongside Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka and Tottenham’s Harry Kane in Southgate’s front three. The 27-year-old was also a creator for England in the Khalifa International Stadium with an assist for Saka’s second goal following a mazy inverted run off the left before being replaced by Jack Grealish in the 71st minute.
Ahead of England’s World Cup opener, many called for Phil Foden to start ahead of Sterling after his indifferent start to the season at Stamford Bridge. Since his £50 million move from Manchester City, Sterling has scored only five goals in 19 appearances and has struggled to hit the ground running in west London.
His form for Graham Potter’s side didn’t seem to alter Southgate’s decision making in Qatar and he continued to place his faith with members of the squad that led the nation to the European Championship final 16 months ago. Defender Harry Maguire, who has only made one Premier League appearance in 10 games, also started and put in a dominant display before coming on with blurred vision.
England face USA on Friday evening looking to confirm their spot in the knockout stages of the competition and speculation of who Southgate will select in attack has already begun after Grealish and Rashford both netted after coming off the bench. Ahead of yesterday’s win over Iran, ex-Chelsea skipper Terry claimed he would have started Foden against Iran amid Sterling’s form for the Blues. He said:
“They (Grealish and Foden) want to isolate defenders. They make you go 2 v 1. “Jack’s that type of player where he can commit two defenders. I would start Kane, Foden and Jack. (Raheem) Sterling’s not in form for Chelsea.”