Sterling returns for England against Kosovo as Pope makes first start

By Sports Desk November 17, 2019

Raheem Sterling has been restored to England's starting XI against Kosovo after being dropped following a bust-up with Joe Gomez, while Nick Pope will make his first start between the posts.

Sterling was left out of the squad for the 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro on Thursday as punishment for an incident that occurred in a private area of England's training base.

The two players had clashed in last Sunday's Premier League meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield, and Sterling is reported to have reacted poorly when greeted by Gomez the following day as the England squad met up.

Gomez came on as second-half substitute in the win over Montenegro but was jeered by some at Wembley Stadium as he entered the pitch, leading to Gareth Southgate and Sterling condemning the fans for the frosty reception.

The Liverpool defender has since returned to his club due to injury.

Sterling's restoration is one of five alterations to the team from Thursday, with the City star coming in for Marcus Rashford, while Jadon Sancho moves to the bench in favour of Callum Hudson-Odoi.

In midfield, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Harry Winks retain their places, with Declan Rice coming in, while Tyrone Mings and Pope also enter the starting XI.

England have already secured a place at Euro 2020 before the contest in Pristina, the final outing of the qualifying campaign for both nations.

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