Raheem Sterling was awarded an MBE on Friday and scored in the European Championship game between England and Croatia on Sunday, thanks to an assist from Leeds United rising star Kalvin Phillips, who is now being compared to Italian soccer legend Andrea Pirlo.
The 26-year-old Manchester City forward was awarded an MBE in Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honors list on Friday evening for his services to football and charity.
There had been doubts around whether Raheem Sterling would make it to the primary group of eleven players, but now it looks like manager Gareth Southgate might be including him for the tournament.
After being awarded his MBE, Sterling said it was a “proud moment” for him and his family. He stated: “It’s a proud moment – not just for myself but for my family.”
During training, the England team had experimented with back three, but Southgate went on to choose a four-person defense. It was the same tactic used to beat Austria and Romania in warm-up matches.
Gareth Southgate chose Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, and Mason Mount to start the game, and Phil Foden, joined them.
Sterling’s teammate Jordan Henderson was also awarded an MBE for his services to charity but is currently recovering from a long-term groin injury and did not play in Sunday’s game.
Persistent injuries could prevent Marcus Rashford from starting, despite being a favorite of the manager, while Foden could be left out due to his lack of significant tournament experience despite starting on Sunday.
However, there is also a strong feeling Grealish will be among those starting on the bench, in spite of his successful track record before the tournament.
Southgate’s assistance Steve Holland said that “you hope you make the right choice,”‘ adding that they were being “very clear on the direction of travel” for the England v Croatia match.
Among those on the Queen’s Birthday honors list was Roy Hodgson, 73, who was awarded a CBE for his services to football after leading England at the Euro 2012 and 2016 and 2014 World Cup.
Most recently, Sterling was forced to address rumors claiming that he was leaving Manchester City and was heading to either FC Barcelona or Arsenal.
He tackled the chatter head-on by saying: “Do what they done before we had social media. Don’t check anything, don’t look at anything. That’s the most important thing.”
England is a favorite in the tournament and Sterling’s goal against Croatia on Sunday has helped to confirm that status.
After a complicated end of the season, Sterling seems to be getting back to form, although observers say he can still do better.