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Raheem Sterling broke ‘psychological barrier’ against Spain, says Southgate

• Coach sees new self-belief in Sterling after double in Seville
• ‘We have got huge belief in him ... the missing piece was goals’

Raheem Sterling’s two goals against Spain last month took him through a “psychological barrier” that had been affecting his England form, according to Gareth Southgate, who detects a new sense of self-belief in the in-form forward.

England face the USA in a friendly on Thursday and then, next Sunday, host Croatia in a decisive Nations League match. They do so with Sterling, who has scored seven times this season for Manchester City, playing arguably the best football of his career, and the signs are that this is true of his international form, too. Both goals in Seville, his first for England since 2015, were confidently taken and Southgate believes a player whose end-product been subjected to intense scrutiny has turned a corner.

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