Former England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson feels Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling may start the World Cup from the bench
Eriksson believes that due to the tournament being in the middle of the season, teams have not played any international friendlies before the group stages begin. As a result, the players who are currently in form may start the first game.
With Sterling not in the best of touches at the moment, his place in the England side from the start is a doubt. But, Eriksson says the 27-year-old has incredible pace and dribbling skills that he can use to win games from the bench.
Here’s what the Swede said (h/t Football.London):
“It’s a very difficult World Cup because there are no friendly games prior to the tournament. Normally you have the players several weeks before the World Cup starts. You have training and play one or two friendly games. Now, there are no friendly games.
“I think it’s very much dependent on the form the players are in currently which might not help him. Raheem Sterling has incredible pace and one against one he can dribble and win games for England but he can also do this from the bench.”
After a fairly decent start to life at Stamford Bridge after moving from Manchester City in the summer, Sterling has struggled for form and consistency in the last few weeks.
It is not helped by the fact that the Blues had a change in manager at the start of the season, and Graham Potter has played the Englishman as a wing-back in a few games.
Former Aston Villa striker Darren Bent on Talksport Radio called for Gareth Southgate to not start with the 27-year-old in England’s first game against Iran. He would rather select Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden alongside Harry Kane (h/t Football.London).
Speaking to The Times (Subscription Required), Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney though did believe that he will start for the Three Lions but warned him that Saka is lurking to take his place.
We have seen Southgate selects his line-ups in tournament games based on past experience. Sterling has done well for him in the last two tournaments, by forming a good relationship with Kane.
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Despite a lull in form, the 27-year-old is still a dangerous player who can come with big performances for England in Qatar.