Manchester City star Raheem Sterling took to Twitter to defend Joe Gomez after England fans booed the Liverpool defender’s introduction in the 70th minute of England’s 7-0 victory over Montenegro on Thursday.
Sterling was dropped from Gareth Southgate’s team for the Euro 2020 qualifier at Wembley Stadium after confronting Gomez during an England training session. The altercation was linked to an on-pitch dispute between the two during Liverpool’s 3-1 win over City at Wembley last weekend.
“To all the England fans, I wanted to leave things (as) it was but tonight I have to speak again: It was hard for me to see my teammate get booed for something that was my fault,” Sterling wrote in a pair of tweets. “Joe hasn’t done anything wrong and for me to see someone who keeps his head down and work hard, especially after a difficult week, for him to be booed when he came on tonight was wrong.
“I’ve taken full responsibility and accepted the consequence. I felt as though I had to say this get home safe everyone.”
Gomez was photographed with a sizable scratch near his right eye after Sterling reportedly grabbed the central defender upon his arrival at the Three Lions’ training facilities.
The Football Association confirmed the incident, calling it “a disturbance in a private team area.” Both Sterling and Gomez have since apologized to their England teammates.
Sterling was seen applauding Gomez as he came on for Chelsea’s Mason Mount during the second half of Thursday’s lopsided result.
Southgate also addressed Gomez’s reception post-match, telling reporters, “I am hugely disappointed for Joe. Joe had done nothing wrong. No England player should ever be booed when they are wearing the shirt. All the players are particularly disappointed with that.”