England’s Raheem Sterling, who played in the 3-2 win over Croatia on Wednesday, discusses his country and Euro 2020 with Gareth Southgate.
Raheem Sterling, an English footballer and forward for Manchester City and England, discusses England & Euro 2020 with Gareth Southgate.
Sterling: If you grew up in a given location, you may have a sense of limitations.
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling chatted with England head coach Gareth Southgate during his appearance as a guest editor on Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday.
They spoke about the England team’s unity, the Euro 2020 competition, taking a knee, the 2022 World Cup, and Sterling’s foundation work.
Sterling’s mother, Nadine, talked on the show about his childhood and her pleasure in her son’s “dream come true.”
You can listen to the whole interview here.
Under Southgate’s leadership, the England squad has ‘developed as one.’
Southgate became the first manager since 1966 to lead England to a major final.
Southgate took over as England manager in September 2016, and led the team to fourth place in the 2018 World Cup, their first participation in the semi-finals in 28 years.
He led England to their greatest result in a men’s major event in 55 years in July, as they advanced to the final of Euro 2020, which had been postponed a year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Southgate, Sterling said, “brought the squad together” and made the situation “enjoyable to be in.”
“We know we see the finest versions of you when you’re as free as you can be in your thoughts and can express yourself,” Southgate added.
England’s results in the previous two major championships have seen a substantial improvement from their performance at Euro 2016, when they were eliminated in the last 16 by Iceland in Nice.
“The team came out of the Euros in France with incredibly poor publicity,” Sterling said. Over the following several years, it was a very trying time. Within the squad, there was a lack of conviction.
“When Gareth first came in, he made a concerted effort to persuade us that sure, that is the problem, but how are we going to alter it?” The group has matured as a unit.
“We want to work together to accomplish our goals. One of the things I like about our team is how integrated we are when you walk into the facility.”
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka were targeted after their spot-kick misses in the Euro 2020 final, and “unforgivable” racial abuse was directed at them.
Despite considerable criticism, the England team elected to take a knee before games during the build-up to Euro 2020 and during the tournament to highlight racial inequality.
Southgate said, “This had to be a squad that was unified on how we viewed it.”
“Going into the competition, the guys had no idea how powerful that would be, and they just wanted to be assessed on their football skills. I really wanted to represent the athletes to the best of my ability.”
For Radio 4, Sterling and Southgate had a talk.
‘We want to hold a trophy in our hands.’
With eight victories from ten matches, England went undefeated in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, finishing six points ahead of Poland in the play-offs.
Following England’s triumph at Euro 2020, Sterling said that “nothing matters more” than winning a big tournament with the national team.
He stated, “I don’t believe you could top it for us as athletes.”
“I believe we have players who are of the appropriate age, who are competing for the right reasons, and who have the attitude to be the greatest in their position.”
“We have a fantastic manager here who strives to provide us with an atmosphere that allows us to work at our best.”
‘I wanted to be able to assist at least one individual,’ says the author.
The Raheem Sterling Foundation has provided “a great feeling of excitement and meaningfulness” off the field, according to the forward.
The foundation, which was established in November, aims to improve social mobility and education for young people in London, Manchester, and Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, where Sterling was born and raised before relocating to London when he was five years old.
“Apart from football, the most important thing I wanted to do was think about the 15-year-old version of myself who went through a lot of problems,” he stated.
“Society may be cruel at times. I simply wanted to make a difference in the lives of at least one individual.
“I’m helping out and giving back.” I usually say that it’s great that I’ve been able to do so much at the age of 27, but there’s a generation behind us, and I constantly think about 15-year-old me at QPR, set to go to Liverpool, when there were a lot of challenges.
“With the platform that I and many other players have, it’s critical that we reconnect with our human side, and I wanted to assist the next Raheem Sterling.”
Sterling came under increased scrutiny from the UK media after his high-profile transfer to Manchester City from Liverpool in 2015, and the forward said in 2018 that newspapers were helping to “feed racism” by the way they depict young black sportsmen.
“I felt targeted as a little lad,” he told Nick Robinson of Radio 4’s Today program.
“It occurs a lot when you’re the new kid in town, I believe. I’ll admit there were certainly some things I shouldn’t have been doing, as any 17 or 18-year-old child would, but I’ve grown up and football has been a lifesaver for me.”
Southgate agreed, saying that the 27-year-old understands the “power of speech” and when to use it.
Southgate added, “Sometimes there’s a sense that players don’t do anything, don’t give back.”
“I often hear people say, ‘Just concentrate on the football.’ When I was younger, I had the impression that if you did anything other than football, your football would suffer and you wouldn’t be as focused.
“That does not resonate with me. It’s a nice thing to have something to divert our attention away from football.”
‘Our England squad has a distinct profile,’ says Southgate.
Sterling’s ‘dream come true’ is a source of pride for Sterling’s mother.
Sterling’s mother, Nadine, expressed her satisfaction in her son and his accomplishments so far on Radio 4.
“For him, it’s a dream come true,” she remarked.
At a motel where Nadine worked, Sterling and his sister would often assist her with cleaning. When Nadine couldn’t, his sister would take him to training.
“When I was cleaning at the hotel and had no option but to take them since I couldn’t leave them at home,” Nadine said, “they came and helped.” It’s a team, and they’re all helpful.
“Whenever Raheem got money, he’d come directly to me and grab a treat from the vending machine,” says the narrator.
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Raheem Sterling is a footballer who plays for Manchester City and England. He was interviewed by Gareth Southgate about the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament, which he will be playing in. Reference: sterling raheem.
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