Football

Southgate vindicated by selection of Raheem Sterling, Kalvin Phillips

England manager Gareth Southgate's selection of Raheem Sterling paid off with the Manchester City forward scoring in their 1-0 win over Croatia in last night's Euro 2020 Group D opener at Wembley.

"I'm so pleased for Raheem. He was dangerous all game. His goalscoring record suggests we should have faith in him and I think he was motivated to show that," Southgate said.

Sterling, who grew up in the shadow of Wembley, said he knew he would break his duck for England in major tournaments when given the chance to play at the national stadium.

"I always said if I played at Wembley in a major tournament, I'm scoring. I had to score in my back garden and delighted to do that," said Sterling.

His strike ensured England won their opening game at a European Championship for the first time in 10 attempts.

The 26-year-old's place had been under threat from Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford after a disappointing end to the season with Manchester City.

With Liverpool defensive midfielder Jordan Henderson still not match fit, Southgate opted for Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips, who helped to stifle the Croats and provided the pass for Sterling's goal.

"Phillips is a player who is so understated... I thought he was immense throughout the game," said Southgate.

England next face Scotland on Saturday morning (Singapore time), with Croatia meeting the Czech Republic. - AFP

Football