Raheem Sterling insisted “there is no panic” as he called on England players to respond after a humiliating defeat to Hungary as he backed Gareth Southgate.
England are in serious danger of being relegated from the Nations League First Division after going winless in the June internationals, losing twice to Hungary either side of draws with Germany and England. ‘Italy.
The Three Lions have only scored once, thanks to a Harry Kane penalty in Germany, but the latest 4-0 home thrashing against Hungary has caused the greatest concern.
Hungary became the first team to score four goals in an away match against England since the Hungarians themselves won 6-3 at Wembley in November 1953.
It was also the first time England had lost a home game by four or more goals since March 1928, when they lost 5-1 to Scotland.
It led to questions about Southgate, with boos ringing out around Molineux on Tuesday, but Sterling placed his support in the England manager.
When it was suggested Southgate was a good manager for England after leading them to the World Cup semi-finals and Euro 2020 final, Sterling added to BBC Radio 5 Live: “And the country.
“I keep saying after these last two games – you can’t be judged on that. If you look at the steps he’s taken in the last two tournaments, semi-final and final, I think ‘a couple of Nations League poor results are not something we can judge him on.
“He led us incredibly well. And he showed us the way, he helped us mature, from young men to senior pros, a lot of us in the dressing room.
“He’s doing it now with a lot of young guys and he’s trying to make sure everyone has enough experience for when we hit the big time when we’re all ready.”
The Manchester City star was sent off at half-time with England trailing 1-0, before three more Hungarian goals followed in the second half.
Sterling thinks there is no cause for concern as England look to bounce back in September, before heading to the World Cup in Qatar two months later.
“I think there is no panic for me,” he added. “Of course, yes, it’s really difficult to take this result.
“It’s a game we should win, but it’s been a long season and, again, we’re going to leave, readjust and come back even better.
“Nobody expected it. I think it was an overall disappointing camp in the sense that there were games that we should have won.
“Of course it’s disappointing, there are going to be question marks, there are going to be doubts. But I’m more than confident in the group we have. It’s just up to us as players.
“We’ve put in enough good teams for every game we’ve played and we just don’t have the results.
“We weren’t competitive enough, we weren’t ruthless enough – me too.
“So we see ourselves as a collective and I know that once we get that well-deserved break that we need and come back, we’ll be ready again.”