Reason England star suddenly left World Cup revealed
England winger Raheem Sterling left the team’s camp in Qatar to return to the UK after his home was targeted by armed raiders, it has been revealed.
It was announced before England’s 3-0 win against Senegal on Sunday that Sterling, 27, would miss the match to deal with a “family matter.”
It later emerged that his home in Surrey had been raided on Saturday night in an incident which left the footballer “shaken” and concerned for his family.
According to the Sun, thieves are said to have made off with £300,000 ($370,000) worth of luxury watches from the mansion.
Details of how the raid unfolded have not emerged, although it was suggested that the gang may have believed the property was empty after Sterling’s partner, Paige Milian, posted social media images of herself in Qatar earlier during the World Cup.
It was initially reported that Milian and the two young sons she has with Sterling were at the mansion at the time of the raid.
However, a statement from Surrey Police on Monday contradicted those claims.
“Police were contacted just before 9pm on Saturday December 3 after the occupants of the property came home and discovered a number of items including jewelry and watches had been stolen,” read the statement.
“Enquiries to establish the circumstances are underway and the investigation is ongoing.
“No threat of violence was involved as the items were discovered stolen retrospectively. Enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.”
The Sun had earlier quoted a source as saying: “This was terrifying for [Milian] and obviously traumatic for all the family.”
“It looks like about £300,000 of watches have been taken. The police were there several hours.”
Speaking after England’s win against Senegal at Al Bayt Stadium – which set up a World Cup quarterfinal against France – manager Gareth Southgate said the “priority” for Chelsea star Sterling was to be with his family.
“We’re going to support that and leave him to have as much time as he needs,” said the Three Lions boss.
“He’s going home. I don’t want to put him under pressure. Sometimes football isn’t the most important thing, family should come first.”
It was not immediately clear if Sterling would return to Qatar for England’s match with France at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday night.
Sterling has made 81 appearances for England since making his debut a decade ago, scoring 20 times.
He was on target in England’s opening win against Iran in Qatar, also registering an assist in that game.