Raheem Sterling had been expected to be dropped for England’s second World Cup Group G game against Panama but was given a reprieve by manager Gareth Southgate.
The Manchester City forward retained his place for the 6-1 victory but he failed to get his name on the scoresheet once more in an England shirt.
Here we assess Sterling’s performance in a game when even his Manchester City team-mate John Stones scored twice with two headers from set-pieces.
Sterling was once again charged with playing behind main striker and captain Harry Kane and his contribution came in more of a support role than as a goalscorer. His delicate return pass to Jesse Lingard teed up the Manchester United man to curl in England’s third goal.
He went in to the game having not scored for England for 989 days and that unwanted record did not come to an end. Despite getting free of his marker he could only watch Harry Maguire’s header back across goal float over the bar with half an hour gone. He headed straight at the goalkeeper from a training ground routine free-kick but luckily Stones was on hand to head in the loose ball for England’s third goal. Curled a long-distance shot wide of the target with eight minutes remaining.
Took his time to get involved in the game and was lucky not to be booked when he caught Roman Torres with a late challenge after 15 minutes. After that he played a part in England’s third and fourth goals and was unlucky not to get a chance during a fine all-round performance that only lacked a goal.
Got his header on target for England’s third goal but should have scored with what was an easy header from close range. Just failed to beat the keeper to Kane’s pass when he would have been through on goal and also curled a shot wide late on. But with forwards being judged by their goal tally he has still to get off the mark at this World Cup while Kane heads the scoring charts with five following his hat-trick.