12 November 2019 20:33
Ben Chilwell has shed some light on the aftermath of the altercation between England teammates Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez that pushed Gareth Southgate to drop Sterling from his squad to face Montenegro on Thursday. Chilwell says he did not witness the incident in the players' private quarters at St George's Park, where Sterling reportedly shouted at Gomez and grabbed at his face and neck after the pair had clashed during Sunday's match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield. But he revealed details of a team meeting on Monday evening, hours after the incident, in which Sterling apologised to Gomez and the wider squad while Southgate, Gomez and several senior England players had their say. Download the new Indpendent Premium app Sharing the full story, not just the headlines "The meeting happened last night [Monday]," said Chilwell, Leicester City's left-back. "Gareth spoke about the situation and spoke about what he thought, and he asked us about what we thought of it as well.
Joe and Raheem obviously got the chance to talk which they both wanted to do and for Raheem, he wanted to apologise and Joe wanted to get stuff off his chest as well and that was it – done. "Raheem was apologetic. He said that was not in his nature, which it is not. We all know as football players that emotions can run high. No one is trying to make excuses for him, including himself, but obviously this was a very emotional game [Liverpool vs City] with two great sides battling it out and things are going to get heated. But they have both moved on and squashed it." Some reports have suggested players within the squad are not all in agreement over how the situation has been handled, but Chilwell insisted the group – fronted by a leadership team of Harry Kane, Fabian Delph, Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson – were united behind Southgate's decision to drop Sterling for the next game while keeping him in the fold for Sunday's match in Kosovo. "Gareth was keen that he did not want to make the decision himself," said Chilwell. "He wanted to come to the right decision with the leadership group. So it obviously got spoken about the leadership group and Gareth, and the decision has been made and we are all on board with that." Chilwell knows Gomez well from their time playing for England Under-21s, and said the Liverpool defender has not been obviously affected by the incident. "Joe is himself. He is good. Obviously it is one of those things which can be quite difficult to overcome but Joe is a great character and has trained really well."