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Raheem Sterling says England players must ignore ‘over-reaction’ to Scotland Euro 2020 draw

·4-min read
England forward Raheem Sterling (The FA via Getty Images)
England forward Raheem Sterling (The FA via Getty Images)

Raheem Sterling believes that there is often an over-reaction to England’s results during major international tournaments and that there is more "panic" outside the camp than inside it after the goalless draw with Scotland.

England were booed off the Wembley pitch by some supporters after the stalemate on Friday night, despite earning a point that leaves them in a strong position to reach Euro 2020’s knock-out stages.

A win against the Czech Republic on Tuesday will guarantee that Gareth Southgate's side qualify as group winners but the failure to beat Scotland has led to some of the England manager's selections and decisions to be questioned.

Sterling was one of several England players to come in for criticism for his display against Scotland, but the Manchester City forward believes that he and his team-mates have to block out the views of the press and pundits and focus on the task at hand.

“I do feel there’s a bit of an over-reaction on the whole, in terms of I don’t know if it’s… I just feel there’s more of a panic on the outside than inside the building. At the same time the players who have been at a few tournaments, who have huge experience, try to help the other ones.

"I don’t see anyone in the camp that feels any pressure or feels hard done by. As much as we can inside the building the best thing we can do is focus on the training field, focus on what’s being done inside.

"We really shouldn’t be looking what’s the papers are saying, what pundits are saying. That’s something we need to take for the rest of this tournament, the more you listen to outside noise, the more it can affect you.

"If you’re not really looking into that the better it is for you as an individual and as a collective as well. We don’t really... I’m not saying on the outside it’s negativity, but we don’t want any negativity creeping in and performance levels dropping, and confidence level dropping, and that’s all that it will do."

After the players were booed off on Friday night, Southgate said that the fans have a right to express their opinions but stressed that England are in a strong position to achieve their main objective of progressing from the group.

Sterling echoed his manager's sentiments, understanding the expectations of supporters, but said that many people underestimate the quality of international sides like Scotland.

"I feel the fans have an expectation of us with the players we have in the squad and that is rightly so," Sterling said. "But as you can see from different games in the tournament, not just in our group but other groups as well, it is tricky in international football.

"It is not as easy as people think. We have got to give credit to the opposition on the day, they came out and battled really well and they fought really hard for that point.

"We as a team were disappointed not to win, but it is not the end of the world, we have got a massive game coming up on Tuesday and it's a game we need to win."

Sterling came into the tournament in a poor period of form, having lost his regular starting place under Pep Guardiola at City, but scored the only goal in England's opening win against Croatia.

The 26-year-old admitted last month that he has been "nowhere near the level" he can be this past season, but revealed on Sunday that he is enjoying his football again with the England set-up.

"It is just happiness, just being happy, enjoying my football and that is what I am doing being here with the national team," he said.

When asked if he has not been happy at times over the past year, he added: “If you’re not playing, you’re not happy. That’s me, that’s been me since a kid, if I’m playing football I am really happy, if I’m not I’m not happy. "

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