10 Oct Raheem Sterling knows England’s forwards still have plenty to prove
Raheem Sterling is excited by England’s attacking options, but does not believe they can be considered great until they shine on the biggest stages.
Gareth Southgate’s side will qualify for Euro 2020 with victory in the Czech Republic on Friday evening.
The Three Lions are among the favourites to lift the trophy next summer, with the fact the finals start and end on home soil helping England’s chances as much to do with the exciting, dynamic options at their disposal.
Southgate sees few better front threes than Marcus Rashford or Jadon Sancho with Harry Kane and Sterling, but the latter knows they have a lot to prove.
“I think that there are a lot of great front threes in the world,” Manchester City forward Sterling said.
“I think with the four players you mention, they’re all players that are still getting better, still learning, but at the same time are producing as well, so, yeah, it’s an exciting front three.
“But, you know, we’ve got to do it in big games, big tournaments. That’s when we’ll be judged if we’re a great front three or not.”
England are starting to build a strength in depth that is the envy of many a nation.
Such quality means in-form Leicester midfielder James Maddison arrived at his third international camp without a cap to his name – a wait that will continue after returning to his club on the eve of the Czech Republic clash.
“It’s been a difficult week for James, really,” Southgate told talkSPORT.
“He still had a bit of the ankle problem that he had pre the Liverpool game with Leicester.
“And then he has fallen ill over the last couple of days, so he wasn’t going to be able to train and we decided the best thing was to send him back to his club.”
Asked if Maddison could have played a part against the Czechs or Bulgaria, Southgate said with a laugh: “Not looking at how he was this morning, no!
“Again, no point travelling with the rest of the team ill as well, so that was one of the issues.
“But he hasn’t trained all week, he wouldn’t have trained until Saturday at the earliest and I don’t think he’d have been in a fit state for Monday.”