Sterling, 27, has recently come under fire for his poor performances for Chelsea since arriving from Manchester City for £47.5 million earlier this summer. He has netted just five goals and contributed two assists in 18 appearances across all competitions for the Blues.
Speaking on BBC’s Match of the Day, Richards asserted that Sterling will retain his starting spot for England in the quadrennial tournament despite his form of late. He said (via the Mirror):
“I still rate Raheem very highly but he looks a little lost. It’s like he is a bit frustrated in terms of Chelsea’s setup and, tactically, does not know what they want him to do. You want your players to be in form, of course, but I think Gareth will stick with him this time too. And I can understand why after what he has done for him in the past.”
Richards stated that Sterling should start in the Three Lions’ 2022 FIFA World Cup opener against Iran on 21 November. He added:
“All season, he has not been playing great but at least he is playing a lot, which is what he wanted when he left City. I would start him against Iran too, as part of a front three with Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane. He deserves that faith after what he has done for England in the past.”
Backing the former Liverpool man to shine, Richards said:
“Let’s see how he does in the first game, and assess it after that. If he does nothing, then it might be time to rotate. But we have seen before how Raheem has responded after basically being written off for England, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him remind everyone just how good he is.”
Sterling, who has scored 19 goals in 79 international caps, has failed to score in his last five appearances for England. However, as the likes of Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho are underperforming for their respective clubs, the pacy wide-man is expected to travel to Qatar next month.
Chelsea defender set to miss 2022 FIFA World Cup due to recent hamstring injury
Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell is set to miss the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup after sustaining a hamstring injury in his team’s 2-1 UEFA Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb earlier this month.
A club statement confirmed this development. It read:
“Following the injury sustained in our recent game against Dinamo Zagreb, Ben has undergone a scan on his hamstring. Results show that Ben has suffered a significant injury and the defender is unfortunately expected to miss the World Cup. Ben will now begin a rehabilitation programme with the club’s medical department.”
So far, Chilwell has scored one goal and laid out two assists in 14 appearances across all competitions in the ongoing 2022-23 season.