Raheem Sterling will take more time to decide whether to return to Qatar before England’s World Cup quarter-final against France after the burglary of his Surrey home.
Sterling, who has scored 20 goals in 81 appearances for England, missed their victory over Senegal after flying back to the UK due to a “family matter”. Jewellery and watches were among the items stolen at the home of the Chelsea winger, who is understood to have been left “shaken” by the break-in and left fearing for the safety of his fiancee and children.
As it stands Gareth Southgate must prepare for the task of facing the world champions on the basis that Sterling is not available. England are not short of options in attack. Sterling has lost his place since the start of the tournament and Southgate said the former Manchester City was not due to be in the starting XI against Senegal.
England had Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden on the flanks against Senegal. Southgate also has James Maddison, Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount competing for places in the wide positions.
It is likely Saka and Foden will keep their places on the wings against France. Sterling started the tournament by scoring when England beat Iran 6-2 in their opening game, but he was substituted after a disappointing performance in the goalless draw against the USA. He was then an unused substitute when England sealed their place in the knock-out stages by beating Wales.
Surrey police confirmed on Monday they are investigating a burglary at a property in Oxshott. The force said it had been contacted at 9pm on Saturday after Sterling’s family returned home from an international trip to discover items missing. It is unclear when the burglary occurred. There had been no threat of violence involved and no one present at the property when the burglary took place.
The English Football Association has reiterated to England’s players that additional security measures can be put in place at their homes while they are away. English football’s governing body spoke to the squad before the World Cup telling them they would have access to extra support before flying to Qatar. The FA liaises with local police forces when players request increased security at their residences.