Raheem Sterling has been left out of the England’s EURO 2020 qualifiers squad to face Montenegro following clash with national team counterpart Joe Gomez.
The Football Association explained that Sterling was dropped “as a result of a disturbance in a private team area”.
The Manchester City forward, 24, then took to social media to confirm “a five to 10 second thing” with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez, 22, in the England camp.
Sterling and Gomez had an on-field argument during the Reds’ 3-1 Premier League victory at Anfield on Sunday.
Admitting that “emotions got the better of” him, Sterling however said that pair were now “good”.
“Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on,” Sterling said via his Instagram account on Tuesday.
“We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.
“This is why we play this sport because of our love for it – me and Joe Gomez are good, we both understand it was a five to 10 second thing… it’s done, we move forward and not make this bigger than it is.
“Let’s get focus on our game on Thursday,” Sterling added.
It is understood Sterling turned on Gomez in the canteen, and other players pulled them apart.
The Liverpool defender was unhappy about what happened, but Sterling apologised and both now consider the matter to be over.
England boss Gareth Southgate consulted with senior players and they agreed with the plan to drop Sterling.
“Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday’s game were still raw,” said Southgate on Monday.
“One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we’ve been able to separate club rivalries from the national team.
“We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday. My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken.
“Now that the decision has been made with the agreement of the entire squad, it’s important that we support the players and focus on Thursday night.”
England play their 1,000th senior men’s international on Thursday and a point at Wembley would book a spot at Euro 2020 with one qualifying game to spare.
The Three Lions are top of Euro 2020 Qualifying Group A, three points clear of the Czech Republic and four ahead of Kosovo with the top two nations advancing.
A win or a draw for Southgate’s side will see them qualify.
England then play their final group match away in Kosovo on Sunday.
Sterling, who joined Manchester City from Liverpool in 2015, has made 55 appearances for England, scoring 12 times, and netted in the 5-1 away win in Podgorica in March, while Gomez has featured seven times for the national side.
However, Gomez has struggled for first-team action for Liverpool this season, starting only one Premier League match.
Sterling has started 11 of City’s league matches in 2019-20 and has scored 14 times in 17 appearances in all competitions for his club, as well as scoring four times for England.
Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said the incident could have been “handled better”.
In a post on Facebook, Ferdinand suggests Southgate “would no doubt have seen worse many times during his time as a player and manager”.
“I just feel this could and should have been handled better to support the player and not hang him out to dry,” he continued.
“One of our world-class players who has conducted himself wonderfully through racism and unwarranted criticism in an England shirt will now come under more scrutiny and be vilified in the media no doubt – when this could have been dealt with internally. Hindsight is a great thing though.”