Raheem Sterling says England have shown what Gareth Southgate brings to them and insists it is not “time to panic” following their UEFA Nations League relegation.
The Three Lions were condemned to bottom spot in Group A3 after a 1-0 loss to Italy on Friday, marking their fifth consecutive match without a win, their worst competitive run since 1992.
With the World Cup in Qatar looming, expectations for another successful tournament run following a semi-final appearance at Russia 2018 and finishing runners-up at Euro 2020 look to have plummeted for Southgate’s side.
Despite his achievements, form under the 52-year-old has come under increasing criticism, but, speaking ahead of Monday’s dead rubber with Germany, Sterling has defended his efforts and says he remains the right man.
“[We’ve made it to] a semi-final and a final,” he stated. “We should be trying to put positive messages out there to try and spur the boys on again. With the performances, I get why we’re not thinking like this at the minute.
“But I don’t think it is time to panic. We’ve shown over the last couple of years what [Southgate] brings to this team. He’s someone that all the boys trust and someone that we want to follow in his direction.
“I don’t think these last games change that narrative. I think the narrative needs to be can we go that one step ahead and how we can do it – to try and build positives.”
Sterling acknowledged performances have been below par as of late, with England struggling to find a satisfactory formation to prevent defensive fragilities, but remained adamant they can turn the corner.
“In football, there’s ups and downs,” he said. “I think over the last couple of years, we’ve been in good form. The game tomorrow is a great opportunity to go out there and take a step in the right direction.”