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World Cup 2018: Gareth Southgate backs Raheem Sterling before Colombia quarter-final

Raheem Sterling
England v Colombia
Venue: Spartak Stadium, Moscow Date: Tuesday, 3 July (19:00 BST)
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, live text commentary online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV. Highlights online on full-time.

England boss Gareth Southgate says he does not understand why there is "so much focus" on Raheem Sterling's place in the team at the World Cup.

Sterling, 23, is set to start his third game in Russia as the Three Lions play Colombia in Moscow on Tuesday at 19:00 BST for a quarter-final place.

The Manchester City forward has scored just two goals in 40 appearances for his country.

"I have great belief in him," said Southgate on Monday.

Sterling has not scored for England since a Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania in March 2015. He has made 22 appearances since then.

He said recently he no longer worried about the media "picking on him" because of a perceived love of "bling".

"For the last five or six games he has played in, with the change of system, he has been key with his movement, his ability to run at teams from deep, his interchanging of positions with other forwards," added Southgate.

"At times I have wondered why there has been so much focus on his position in the team and not others.

"But he is tough and resilient and a player who will be immensely looking forward to this occasion."

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