Raheem Sterling was forced to miss England’s 3-0 demolition job of Senegal after his home was broken into by burglars, according to reports.
The Chelsea winger rushed back to his Surrey mansion from England’s Qatar camp after being notified of the alleged smash-and-grab raid, The Sun reported on Sunday.
He is reportedly committed to returning to the World Cup campaign and was going back home to check on his family and children after the break-in on Saturday night.
Gareth Southgate confirmed that Sterling was on his way back home and couldn’t say if he would return to the England camp.
England captain Harry Kane said: “Our thoughts are with him and his family. We’ll have to take it day by day. We send him our best and hope to see him as soon as possible.”
England v Senegal FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar | Round of 16 | 4th December 2022
A spokesperson for the FA confirmed Sterling would not play in the game just moments before kick off.
The statement read: “Raheem Sterling is not available for selection for the #ThreeLions tonight as he is dealing with a family matter.”
The shock announcement came just hours before the Three Lions were due to kick off against the African Cup of Nations champs.
When asked if he thought Sterling would figure at the tournament from here, Southgate said on ITV1: “We’ve got to wait and see.
“At the moment clearly the priority is for him to be with his family, and we’re going to support that and we’re going leave him to have as much time as he needs. He’s going home.”
He added: “I really don’t know (the likelihood of him returning) because at the moment it’s a situation that he needs time with his family and I don’t want to put him under any pressure with that. Sometimes football isn’t the most important thing and family should come first.”
Sterling hopes to return to Qatar as England head into a quarter final clash with France next Saturday.
He missed free-scoring England extend their unbeaten record against African teams with a 3-0 victory over Senegal which included a first goal at this World Cup from captain Harry Kane as they set up a quarter-final clash with holders France.