Rio Ferdinand Criticises Gareth Southgate For Dropping Raheem Sterling
Rio Ferdinand has hit out at Gareth Southgate's decision to drop Raheem Sterling from the England team, following his clash with Joe Gomez, saying the manager has 'hung the player out to dry.'
Sterling was dropped for the game against Montenegro on Thursday after the pair clashed at St George's Park on Monday, despite the Manchester City forward apologising to the Liverpool defender and the rest of the team.
That reportedly hasn't gone down well with some England players and it certainly hasn't gone down well with former England defender Rio Ferdinand.
Writing on Facebook, in a length 457 word statement, the former Manchester United man said he thought the incident should have been dealt with in house, saying, "Gareth has handled being England manager brilliantly - up to this point.
"He has conducted himself in a admirable, eloquent & engaging way. Helping to make a Nation feel like they can have some sort of confidence & respect for the national team.
"However, I feel this incident could have been handled better. Keep it behind closed doors & deal with it internally surely?!
"Come International Week, it's meet up time between Sterling & Gomez... Raheem Sterling was still upset with Gomez about the result on Sunday & their little pushing/words said during the #lfc vs#mcfc game.
"So he has obviously gone into the England camp heated & gone for Gomez, in doing so grabbed Gomez by the throat.
"Obviously as a manager I'm sure having a harmonious squad is the best scenario - handshakes and hugs on sight not confrontations.
"But let's be honest now this kind of stuff isn't uncommon in squads full of testosterone.
"In the various squads I have been a part of I have seen players get punched in the face, ribs broken, nose busted, head kicked like a football.....a throat grab was the equivalent of the intricate handshake embraces that are all too familiar today!
"The main question is: Why this couldn't be handled internally? I suppose the management have felt it would be better to nip it in the bud prior to the press, agents, family friends leaking the news.
"However, the worst case on this instance would have been someone asking in a press conference "what happened between Raheem & Gomez, we heard there was a fight". Easy answer & we have a game to concentrate on. Incident done and dusted.
"No player looks any worse, we move on.Now Raheem is left to defend himself from all of the haters that had had their keyboards turnt off due to him becoming a very worthy ambassador for the English game, and rightly so.
"If this was a terrible incident then I would be all for public shaming & discipline.
"But for this 'throat grab' that we are TOLD it's for I can't understand it.Gareth would no doubt had seen worse many times during his time as a player and manager.
"I just feel this could and should have been handled better to support the player & not hang him out to dry.
"One of our World Class players who has conducted himself wonderfully through Racism and unwarranted criticism in an England shirt will now come under more scrutiny and be vilified in the media no doubt - when this could have been dealt with internally.
"Hindsight is a great thing though. It seems to me, Raheem felt embarrassed by all that went on at the weekend.... a sign of winning mentality..... however channeled wrongly. Help educate him!"
The BT Sport pundit's thoughts on the handling of the incident are reportedly also held by several England players who saw their teammates apology as the end of the story.
Instead Southgate has decided to come out publicly about the situation, which was second time the pair clashed after the incident during Manchester City's loss to Liverpool on Sunday, and make a big deal out of it.
Sterling will miss the game against Montenegro at Wembley, England's 1000th international, but will be back for the game against Kosovo on Sunday.
Should Sterling have been dropped?