England football star Raheem Sterling missed the 3-0 win against Senegal on Sunday, as he made arrangements to return home from the Qatar World Cup after burglars broke into his mansion while his partners and children were inside. According to reports, Sterling is returning home to be by the side of his family and is unlikely to return.
This has prompted other shocked Three Lions players to beef up security at their homes in England, while they are away playing the World Cup. According to England coach Gareth Southgate, Sterling has been given as much time as he requires to be by the side of his family during this time of crisis.
Family Over Game
Sterling, reportedly, left the England camp on Sunday after he was left "shaken" by the raid on his gated property in leafy Cobham, Surrey on Saturday night. The Chelsea forward flew back from Qatar to check on the health of his family.
Security was patrolling the opulent house late into the night on Sunday, and police were on the scene all weekend. According to Southgate, Sterling's return is uncertain. England takes on France in a quarterfinal match On Saturday.
Sterling is shaken and worried about his children after the situation, but Southgate assured him that he will be allowed "as much time as he needs" to deal with it.
When asked if Sterling would return, the England head coach told ITV: "I really don't know because at the moment it's a situation that he needs to be with his family to deal with. I don't want to put him under any pressure with this. Sometimes football isn't the most important thing and family has to come first."
"Our thoughts are with him and his family. It's a private matter but it's never easy to see one of your teammates and friends deal with something like that. We'll have to take it day by day. I'm sure Raheem will speak to the manager and take the best decision for him and his family. That's the most important thing. We send him our best wishes and hope to see him as soon as possible," England captain Harry Kane said.
Now that the raid is the most recent in a succession of break-ins at footballers' homes, many of Sterling's teammates are reportedly considering stepping up their own levels of personal protection.
The majority of the players' wives were present at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday for England's comfortable 3-0 victory over Senegal. However, many others have been juggling their own occupations with caring for young children while traveling back and forth from Qatar during the tournament.
Paige Milian, Sterling's partner, was back in the UK when the raid took place on Saturday. Milian, 27, had tweeted photos from a cruise ship in Doha before the Iran game last month.
A statement released 90 minutes before kick off last night revealed that Sterling - one of Gareth Southgate's most trusted lieutenants in major tournaments - would miss the last 16 clash to deal with a "family matter."
The players weren't informed of Sterling's omission or the startling events that led to it until the team meeting shortly before leaving for the Al Bayt Stadium.
Sterling is not the only player to leave the English camp during the online World Cup. Defender Ben White had earlier withdrawn from the England camp citing "personal reasons."
Sterling had started both of England's opening group games and had scored in a 6-2 victory over Iran. He was, however, replaced for the Wales match by Phil Foden, who also scored one goal.
The winger, who switched from Manchester City to Chelsea earlier this year, has 20 goals in 81 appearances for his country.