Raheem Sterling has been dropped from England's next match after he gabbed a teammate 'by the throat' during a behind-the-scenes clash

Raheem Sterling/Joe GomezGetty/Robbie Jay Barrett

Raheem Sterling has been dropped from England's next match by manager Gareth Southgate after grabbing his teammate Joe Gomez's throat during a behind-the-scenes altercation.

Sterling and Gomez clashed at the weekend during Manchester City's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, and the disagreement spilled over into a "private team area" during international duty on Monday, according to Sky Sports.

The 24-year-old reportedly walked up to Gomez in the canteen of England's training facility, grabbed his neck, and said "you think you're the big man now?"

The pair then had to be separated by teammates.

"We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday," Southgate said in an official statement.

"One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we've been able to separate club rivalries from the national team. Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday's game were still raw.

"My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken."

Sterling confirmed the "5-10 second" run in with Gomez on his Instagram, however said they had both "figured things out and moved on."

He is yet to comment since Southgate announced his omission from the squad to face Montenegro.

 

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand has criticized Southgate's decision, saying he believes the issue between the players should have been settled in-house.

"Gareth has handled being England manager brilliantly - up to this point," he wrote on Facebook. "However, I feel this incident could have been handled better. 

"Sterling was still upset with Gomez about the result on Sunday & their little pushing/words said during the [weekend's] game.

"So he has obviously gone into the England camp heated and gone for Gomez, in doing so grabbed Gomez by the throat.

"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!"

 

He added: "The main question is: Why this couldn't be handled internally?

"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."

England plays Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday, where a draw or a win will be enough to seal its place at the 2020 European Championships.

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