Raheem Sterling missed England’s last-16 win over Senegal after armed burglars broken into his home while his partner and young children were there, it emerged tonight.
The 27-year-old has rushed home from Qatar to check on the wellbeing of his family following the raid on Saturday night.
A statement released 90 minutes before kick-off on Sunday night revealed Sterling would miss the World Cup clash to deal with ‘a family matter’.
And Gareth Southgate confirmed the forward would be leaving the camp to fly back to the UK, but didn’t set a timescale on when he was expected back.
Chelsea star Sterling, a father of three, was also targeted by burglars when he played for Manchester City and lived in Cheshire in 2018.
But the gang were scared away when the alarm system was activated and left empty-handed.
While it is not known if and when Sterling will return to the England camp, he has been determined to play a pivotal role in their quest to win the World Cup for the first time since 1996 and only the wellbeing of his children has pushed him to take the decision to leave the rest of the squad to fly home.
Speaking after the Three Lions’ victory over Senegal, Southgate said of Sterling: ‘The priority for him is to be with his family.
‘We’re going to support that and leave him to have as much time as he needs.
‘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.’
Sterling has three children: his daughter, and eldest, Melody Rose, as well as two sons, Thiago and Thai.
England’s captain, Harry Kane, added: ‘Our thoughts are with him and his family. It’s a private matter but it’s never easy to see one of your teammates and friends deal with something like that.
‘We’ll have to take it day by day. I’m sure Raheem will speak to the manager and take the best decision for him an his family. That’s the most important thing. We send him our best wishes and hope to see him as soon as possible.’
It remains unclear if he will play any further part for England in Qatar, ahead of their quarter-final with France on Saturday night.