Raheem Sterling missed England’s World Cup last-16 match against Senegal after travelling home following a raid by armed intruders on his home, Stats Perform understands.
The Chelsea forward was absent from Gareth Southgate’s squad for the 3-0 win over the Africa Cup of Nations champions on Sunday.
England officials put it down to “a family matter” before kick-off, and it remains to be seen whether Sterling travels back to Qatar in time to feature in the quarter-final against France next Saturday.
The BBC reported the break-in at Sterling’s London area home occurred on Saturday night.
Manager Gareth Southgate said after England’s victory: “Raheem is having to deal with a family situation. He’s going back to England. We have to give him time to try to resolve that, or be there for his family. That’s the most important thing; we are going to give him that space.
“It didn’t impact team selection. I spent a lot of time with Raheem this morning, so you have days where events happen and you have to deal with them. He’s on his way home. We are obviously mindful of him being allowed space and respect his privacy, so we don’t want to talk about it in too much detail.
“It’s not ideal for the group ahead of the big game, but it pales into insignificance – individual is more important than group in these moments.”
The scorer of England’s opening goal, Jordan Henderson, told ITV: “I hope everything’s okay with Raheem’s family at home and I hope he goes back and can sort everything out. Hopefully he can then come back, but I suppose he’ll have to assess when he gets there. All our thoughts and support is with him.”
England defender Eric Dier was asked by Stats Perform about Sterling’s absence, and said: “We all wish him and his family well. We hope everyone’s okay.
“I just found out before the game. I don’t know more than that, just wish him all the best.”
Thoughts are withand his family after their awful and harrowing ordeal.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker)
Midfielder Declan Rice indicated the day had begun as any other, with Sterling in camp.
“I literally saw him at breakfast this morning and then the manager said he’s had some difficulty with his family at home,” Rice said. “We’ll send him a message and wait to hear more.”
Sterling’s Chelsea team-mate, Senegal centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, was unaware of the reports.
“Really? I didn’t know. I really didn’t know, I’m really surprised,” Koulibaly told reporters.
“I hope that his family is good. Now I will call him and see what happened, I just hope he is good and his family is good.”