England manager Gareth Southgate says he would have no qualms making Raheem Sterling the national team captain if Harry Kane is unable to recover from an ankle injury in time for the UEFA Nations League semi-final.
The Three Lions face the Netherlands on June 6 in Portugal, and will have a second game, either the third-place match or the final, three days later.
Tottenham star Kane has been out since suffering an injury against Sterling’s Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final on April 9, and remains a doubt for next week’s final in the competition, against Liverpool.
The game against the Dutch will be Sterling’s 50th cap, and comes at the end of what has been a stellar season for the 24-year-old.
Sterling has scored 26 goals across all competitions, his best-ever return for a single season, and on Saturday scored a brace to help City complete an unprecedented domestic treble as Pep Guardiola’s side added the FA Cup to the season’s trophy haul of the League Cup and Premier League.
The City winger was named the PFA Young Player of the Year and also won the Football Writers’ Association award for Footballer of the Year, and Southgate is firm in his belief that Sterling would be ready to wear the armband against the Oranje.
“Raheem is in that leadership group now and he has fulfilled that brilliantly over the last 12 months in particular,” Southgate told a press conference.
“You can see his maturity now with what has happened to him on and off the pitch. I think he is realising that.
“He has risen to that challenge and embraced it and I wouldn’t have any hesitation in making him captain if that was the right thing.”
Know more about Sport360 Application