The English FA have confirmed Raheem Sterling is not available for Sunday’s World Cup round of 16 clash with Senegal due to personal reasons.
The Chelsea winger started England’s opening two Group B games against Iran and the USMNT, scoring against Iran in a 6-2 victory.
A statement reads: “Raheem Sterling is not available for selection for the #ThreeLions tonight as he is dealing with a family matter.”
Sterling has 81 caps for the Three Lions, scoring 20 goals in total.
The 27-year-old is a trusted member of Gareth Southgate’s squad, helping England to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and the final of last summer’s European Championship.
Southgate has made one change from the side that sealed top spot in Group B. Despite scoring twice against Wales, Marcus Rashford drops out for Bukayo Saka.
England’s team against Senegal. (Image Credit: SPORTbible)Southgate discussed the importance of tonight’s game in his pre-match press conference, hoping to spread positive vibes across England during the cold autumn months.
He explained per The Guardian: “Part of the reason for doing the job is to bring happiness to others, frankly. Of course, we’ve got our own pride and we want to achieve professionally. But we have taken the country on two incredible journeys and you can feel that there’s the potential for another one and we want that to happen.
“We recognise the situation at home for everybody. And we want to bring smiles to people’s faces as they get towards the end of this weekend.”
Southgate watches England player train in Qatar. (Image Credit: Alamy)Senegal are the current Africa Cup of Nations holder and qualified after finishing second in Group A.
Whoever wins will have the honour of facing reigning world champions France in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Didier Deschamps’ side comfortably defeated Poland 3-1 earlier on Sunday. Olivier Giroud became France’s all-time top goalscorer in the first half before Kylian Mbappe scored two in the second.