The scratch under Joe Gomez’s right eye was reportedly caused by Raheem Sterling’s jewellery as the Manchester City winger tried to get his England teammate in a headlock at St George’s Park.
Sterling has effectively been handed a one-game ban for his altercation with Gomez, with the animosity from Liverpool’s win over City at Anfield on Sunday – in which the two players briefly squared up – spilling over into the England camp.
Emotions boiled over when Sterling saw Gomez in the canteen and, when the Liverpool defender offered to shake hands, the City star asked, ‘Still the big man?’ and tried to grab his teammate.
Sterling said on Instagram afterwards that it was just a ‘5-10 second thing’, but The Sun report that he tried to get Gomez in a headlock in front of stunned teammates.
In the process, Gomez was left with a scratch under his right eye after being grazed by Sterling’s jewellery, while food was sent flying from tables as the rest of the squad tried to pull the two players apart.
As referenced by manager Gareth Southgate at his press conference, Sterling was the aggressor and Gomez kept his cool, backing away from the altercation.
Sterling is believed to have initially packed his bags and left the England team hotel, but was called back after Southgate consulted England’s leadership group.
Jordan Henderson, who only joined up with the squad last night as he is suspended against Montenegro on Thursday, acted as peacemaker and phoned up both players, with Sterling subsequently apologising to Gomez.
The Liverpool defender also spoke to Southgate and urged him not to axe Sterling completely, with the winger allowed to remain at St George’s Park and is in contention to play against Kosovo on Sunday.
Both Sterling and Gomez stood up in front of the squad at a team meeting after the incident, with the former apologising to the whole squad, and they trained together as normal on Tuesday, though Sterling will play no part against Montenegro.
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