Yaya Toure has suggested Pep Guardiola could be “a little bit disappointed” with Gareth Southgate over the way the England manager has handled the Raheem Sterling situation.
Southgate has ruled Sterling out of Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro after the Manchester City forward was involved in a training ground altercation with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez.
Who else has reacted to the Sterling incident? Five things to know…
- Sterling and Gomez had to be separated at England’s training facilities after continuing their clash from the weekend.
- Southgate has confirmed Sterling is not in contention for Thursday’s game but says the situation is “finished”.
- Sterling himself insisted he and Gomes “figured things out and moved on”.
- But Rio Ferdinand believes the incident “could have been handled better” by Southgate, who should have dealt with things “internally”.
- And now, Sterling’s former club teammate Yaya Toure has had his say on the situation.
After almost coming to blows during Liverpool’s victory over Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday, Sterling and Gomez had to be separated by their international teammates earlier this week.
Gomez was left with a scratch under his eye and Southgate has taken the decision to leave Sterling out of his plans for the Montenegro match.
Yaya Toure, who played alongside Sterling during his days in Manchester, believes Guardiola may react negatively to the situation.
“I think people are overreacting because in training this can happen. In the game (on Sunday) they were face to face and then straight to the international team,” he said.
“It can happen, me and brother we fight, we argue, we smash each other. The manager should just take him away. It’s not good for the player’s mentality.
“Raheem is one of the best players in England at the moment. I think Harry Kane is not in his best moment, Raheem is the best player for England.
“For him to be in this kind of situation, with all the pressure around him and on his shoulders, he has to deal with racism, plus the fact he was playing at Anfield where the fans are booing him – it can affect him. The manager does not have to be involved.
“Pep Guardiola could be a little bit disappointed with him [Southgate]. Raheem is still young and learning. If my player acted like that, being angry and showing himself like this, I would be very happy. This means he wants to win and achieve – that is important. A player without this character, for me, is nonsense.”
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Toure eyes Premier League return
Toure was thought to be on the verge of retirement after leaving Manchester City in 2018, but the 36-year-old has since had short spells with Olympiacos and Qingdao Huanghai.
Now without a club again, the former Ivory Coast international has hinted at a possible return to the Premier League.
He added: “I would love it but it depends on which kind of team. We will see because sometimes in Europe people look at ages in a different way – it’s not about that. It depends on the club and what they want to achieve.
“I don’t want to go too far and propose myself but I just want them to give me a chance, we will see.
“In my mind I give myself one or maybe two years maximum playing football, after that I want to enjoy myself with my family and try to work in other ways.”