England boss Southgate’s ‘biggest test yet’ after Sterling-Gomez incident

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England team-mates Joe Gomez and Raheem Sterling during Sunday’s Premier League match at Anfield, where Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-1England manager Gareth Southgate faces the biggest test of his time in charge after dropping Raheem Sterling – arguably his most important player – following an altercation with Joe Gomez.The ramifications for England and Southgate run much deeper and are potentially more long-term than the incident – described by the Football Association as “a disturbance” – that took place in a private team area at St George’s Park when the squad assembled on Monday for their final two Euro 2020 qualifiers.Southgate has dealt with the situation strongly and publicly once details of the confrontation between Sterling and Gomez emerged. It came the day after the pair had clashed late in Liverpool’s highly charged 3-1 win over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City at Anfield, which put them firmly in control of the title race.Raheem Sterling dropped by EnglandThree Lions: One World Cup, 147 years and 1,000 gamesPick your England all-time XI’Bad blood spilling over’The test for Southgate now is to ensure there is no lingering ill-feeling that casts a shadow over his territory and disrupts the carefully assembled unity of this England squad.Southgate has made this one of the cornerstones of his success after succeeding Sam Allardyce on a permanent basis in November 2016, guiding England to their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, and also to the brink of qualification for Euro 2020 with games against Montenegro and Kosovo to come.This is an England squad that has been happy, unified and very much together – publicly and privately – and, most pertinently after what happened at St George’s Park on Monday, free of the club cliques that have had an impact on the national team in the past.The inter-club rivalry between players from Manc

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