Raheem Sterling has been enjoying a dream Euro 2020, scoring and assisting goals and playing a vital part in England reaching the final.
Former England defender Jamie Carragher has been impressed with Raheem Sterling’s display so far at the Euro 2020. The Manchester City winger played a crucial role throughout the tournament and was a star performer again when England beat Denmark 2-1 in the semifinals. Having scored three times in England’s first four games, Sterling started to have a major influence in the 4-0 quarterfinal win over Ukraine and the semifinal triumph against Denmark. The come-from-behind 2-1 victory against the Danes has sent England through to their first major final for 55 years. They will face Italy in the final at Wembley on Sunday night.
When asked who had impressed him most in the semifinal at Wembley, Carragher told Sky Sports News, “Raheem Sterling. I said this after the group games, I think Raheem Sterling has been England’s best player by a long way. There was a lot of talk going into the competition that his position in the team was up for grabs, which I couldn’t understand because he has been outstanding for [manager] Gareth Southgate since the World Cup, over a two or three-year period.”
“And especially the way Harry Kane is playing, coming deeper for the ball and trying to get on the ball, you have to have people making runs in behind and having pace in behind. I think before this tournament started, the two first names on the team sheet, if everyone was fit, would be Harry Kane and Harry Maguire – but now it has to be Raheem Sterling joining those two.”
Carragher also went to have his say about the player of the tournament contender. “Normally the player of the tournament does come from the nation who won the tournament, but not all the time. Italy will have a few shouts, the left-back [Leonardo Spinazzola] who is unfortunately not going to play in the final [due to injury] and (Federico) Chiesa has come in and done a great job. The two centre-backs as well,” he added.
“It’s not just Raheem Sterling in the England team – I think Harry Maguire has had a huge influence since he came back in, Harry Kane is now getting back to what we expect from him in terms of goals and performances. But I think Raheem Sterling, at this moment, has it to lose, shall we say.”
The former Liverpool centre-back admitted that England’s progression to Sunday’s final has even surprised him. “It’s massive because I didn’t think England were capable of getting to the final,” he added. “I thought getting to the semi-finals would be a great achievement for this squad before the tournament, and that was looking at the draw and who we were pitted against in the last-16.
“I thought it was going to be really difficult, whether we faced Germany, France or Portugal, and not since 1966 has an England team not just got the final but beaten a major nation in a knockout game. That’s what we did against Germany and we’ll have to do it again to lift the trophy against Italy.”