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England's Sterling to return to Qatar as Rice back training following illness
Sterling spent time in England following a robbery at his home, while Rice missed training on Wednesday due to an illness.

LAST UPDATE | Dec 8th 2022, 4:07 PM

ENGLAND FORWARD RAHEEM Sterling is to return to the World Cup in Qatar on Friday after spending time in England following a robbery at his home, England’s Football Association said on Thursday.

“Raheem Sterling will return to England’s World Cup base in Qatar. The Chelsea forward temporarily left to attend to a family matter but is now expected to rejoin the squad in Al Wakrah on Friday ahead of the quarter-final with France,” the FA said in a statement.

Sterling did not feature in England’s squad for the 3-0 win against Senegal with Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka playing either side of striker Harry Kane.

It would be a surprise should Sterling be picked to start against France although his return does increase manager Gareth Southgate’s options from the bench.

British media reports had said that Sterling’s home was broken into by armed intruders while his family were in the property on Saturday night.

However, Surrey Police later said that no-one was at home at the time of the burglary and no threats of violence were involved.

The police said the house’s occupants were away on an ‘international trip’ and discovered on their return that a number of items of jewellery, including watches, had been stolen.

Southgate had been supportive of Sterling’s decision to leave the camp and return to England.

“At the moment clearly the priority is for him to be with his family. We’re going to support that and leave him to have as much time as he needs,” he had said.

Sterling has been a key player for England during Southgate’s six years in charge.

The 28-year-old has 20 goals in 81 caps for his country, including one at the 2022 World Cup in a 6-2 victory over Iran.

Meanwhile, England have also been boosted by the return of Declan Rice to training.

The midfielder’s absence from training on Wednesday at their Al Wakrah training base caused alarm.

The 23-year-old felt unwell but fellow midfielder Kalvin Phillips confirmed he returned in Thursday’s session, which was held behind closed doors.

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“I believe Dec is fit, he’s back in training and he’s fine,” the Manchester City man said.

“If something goes wrong then I’ll be there and I’ll do my best to be fit for 90 minutes.

“I want to play as many minutes as possible. Regardless of whether Dec is playing or I am, we’ll do our best.” 

– © AFP 2022

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