London (AFP) – Raheem Sterling says England are shutting out the “noise” and “panic” from outside their Euro 2020 camp after their laboured goalless draw against Scotland.
The Manchester City forward was part of Gareth Southgate’s team that was booed off the pitch at Wembley on Friday and came in for widespread criticism from elsewhere.
But the 26-year-old, who scored the only goal in England’s opening win against Croatia last week, said the players knew how to ignore the external pressure.
“I do feel there’s a bit of an overreaction… I just feel there’s more of a panic on the outside than inside the building,” he said.
“At the same the players who have been at a few tournaments, who have huge experience, try to help the other ones.
“I don’t see anyone in the camp that feels any pressure or feels hard done by. As much as we can inside the building the best thing we can do is focus on the training field, focus on what’s being doing inside.”
“The more you listen to outside noise, the more it can affect you,” he added.
Despite the disappointing result against Scotland, England can top Group D if they beat the Czech Republic at Wembley on Tuesday.
That would guarantee a last-16 tie at Wembley, though it would be against world champions France, Germany or defending champions Portugal.
Finishing second would offer an easier game on paper, though in Copenhagen.
Sterling said home advantage could be crucial.
“There is always an advantage being on home soil, that’s for sure,” he said.
“With the fans raring and making it a hostile place to come, I do think it can be a good advantage and, like I say, we’ve got four points, I keep stressing we’ve got four points and we’ve got one game to go and we’re going to need our fans on Tuesday to get us across the line.”
Sterling has been linked with a move away from Premier League champions City after finding himself on the bench a number of times towards end of the 2020/21 campaign, including for crunch Champions League games.
He said he was enjoying playing under Southgate.
“It is just happiness, just being happy, enjoying my football and that is what I am doing being here with the national team,” he said.
“If you’re not playing, you’re not happy. That’s me, that’s been me since I was a kid. If I’m playing football I am really happy, if I’m not, I’m not happy.”
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