Pochettino challenges Raheem Sterling to prove Southgate wrongf

Pochettino challenges Raheem Sterling to prove Southgate wrongf

 Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino has implored Raheem Sterling to prove England manager Gareth Southgate wrong after his latest Three Lions omission.

The former Manchester City and Liverpool man has been a standout performer in a troubled campaign for the Blues and put in a man-of-the-match display in Saturday's 4-1 romping of Burnley.

The Clarets stunned their West London counterparts through a Wilson Odobert opener, but Sterling's cross deflected into the back of the net off of Ameen Al-Dakhil before he won a second-half penalty for Cole Palmer to convert.

Having played key roles in Chelsea's first two goals at Turf Moor, Sterling clinically found the far corner to put the game to bed before Nicolas Jackson completed the Lancashire rout.

Only two days before running the show against Burnley, Sterling was left out of the England squad for the fourth time in a row, with Southgate opting for the likes of Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, Jarrod Bowen, James Maddison and Bukayo Saka - despite the latter's hamstring injury - as his wide options.

Pochettino challenges Sterling to prove Southgate wrong
Explaining his decision to overlook Sterling, Southgate told the press: "We spoke before the last squad and we've been happy with the wide players' performances in the last four games in particular and in the two in March. The team are playing really well and clearly there's some stability there.

"We have added Jarrod Bowen in those wide areas, he's scored five in seven games and is playing really well and with the Australia game as well there's the opportunity to learn some different things as well."

Sterling had failed to score or assist in four successive Premier League matches before his crucial contributions at Turf Moor, and Pochettino believes that the 28-year-old must continue in the same vein in order to prove Southgate wrong.

"He (Sterling) was fantastic, involved with scoring and creating three goals. It was important for him to feel the net for his confidence," Pochettino told Sky Sports News.

"I think a player with his experience knows he needs to perform and to show the manager of the national team he was wrong in the decision. Only with performances and scoring goals is he going to show he deserved to go."

Pochettino challenges Sterling to prove Southgate wrong
Sterling now has a total of 12 goals and five assists to show from 47 matches in a Chelsea jersey since joining from Manchester City in the summer of 2022, including three goals and one assist from nine games in the current campaign.

The Englishman's stellar showing at Turf Moor helped to propel Chelsea to just their third win of the Premier League season - a result which leaves Pochettino's men 11th in the table with 11 points from their opening eight games.

The Blues have two successive London derbies to end the month after the international break, meeting Arsenal on October 21 before hosting Brentford seven days later.

Meanwhile, a Sterling-less England side host Australia at Wembley for a friendly contest on October 13, before resuming Euro 2024 qualifying duties against Italy on October 17 at the same venue.

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