Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Beckham: Criticism of Sterling is wrong

Kieran Trippier at World Cup in Russia REUTERSKieran Trippier’s hero is his brother who fell out of football through injury
Kristopher Love | 11 July, 2018, 20:44

Jones, who made just nine global appearances for Wales, believes Sterling relies to heavily on his speed and slammed his finishing so far this World Cup.

To do so, and seal their first World Cup final in 52 years, England will need to see off a Croatia side who thrashed Argentina in the group stage and edged Denmark and Russian Federation on penalties to reach the last four.

He also said Croatia took great heart from the form of "the World Cup's best central midfield pairing" Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, with the latter playing "the best football of his career".

Everyone is talking about Raheem Sterling right now.

Raheem Sterling would be playing for Exeter City instead of England if he didn't have pace, according to Vinnie Jones.

"Watch the game again and try to imagine it without his running trying to stretch Sweden", wrote Dickinson, in words echoed by many other reporters quick to defend the 23-year-old, who for all the frustration he causes, does offer something different, and something rivals struggle to deal with.

Two moments from England's first half against Sweden made the highlight reel for Raheem Sterling - first when he was deemed just offside after being one-on-one with the keeper, secondly when he failed to beat the Swedish custodian from a close range.

"I am sure we are not getting carried away now that we are in the quarter-finals", he said.

And Dier, who plays alongside him at club level with Tottenham, could not hide his delight for the former Burnley full-back. "His work ethic is fantastic as well." he said.

Sterling has been heavily criticised by fans and media over his gun tattoo on his right leg, showing up one day late to training at St George's Park to his inconsistent performance so far in Russian Federation.

Forget the cutbacks across the goal amidst a crowded penalty area or the clever runs behind the defence to create goalscoring opportunities, Sterling's tactical intelligence makes him the flawless candidate for the situations when England want to press high up the field - whether he puts the finishing touch himself or selflessly sets up a teammate, Sterling threatens to produce moments of magic every time he receives the ball and that is a quality to be heralded, not ridiculed.

And this could benefit England if Sterling makes the most of the space presented to him.

England are now preparing to take on Croatia on Wednesday for a place in the World Cup final, with Sterling paying tribute to supporters after the win in Samara. Every player deserves to be applauded.