England players all trust Gareth Southgate and want to follow him – Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling addresses the media ahead of England's UEFA Nations League game against Germany.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Raheem Sterling says all of the England players are behind under-fire manager Gareth Southgate ahead of the Three Lions' UEFA Nations League clash against Germany at Wembley on Monday.

England's 1-0 loss to Italy in Milan on Friday was their third defeat in the last five matches and Southgate's side have scored only once in that sorry streak – a Harry Kane penalty against Germany in June.

Friday's result means England have been relegated to the second tier of the Nations League, but of more concern is the team's poor form just weeks ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

"I wouldn’t say I could put it down to anything," Sterling told reporters at Tottenham's training ground on Sunday. "In football there’s ups and downs and over the last couple of years, we’ve been on some quite good form and it’s one of those signs that it’s not quite going as we planned.

"In a lot of the games, individual performances haven’t been up to par and me myself, I take responsibility for my performances.

"It’s not a time to panic, the game tomorrow is another opportunity to go out there and put on a great show on for the fans, take a step in the right direction and we know, if we get that win, we’re a good side."

Under Southgate, England have reached a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship final – and Sterling insists he is still the right man to take the team forward.

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"[We’ve reached] a final and a semi-final," he said. "We should be trying to put positive messages out there, to try to spur the boys on again.

"As I said, with the performances, I get why we’re thinking like this at the minute, but I don’t think it’s time to panic, he (Southgate) showed over the last couple of years what he brings to this team and he’s someone that all the boys trust and someone that we all want to follow in his direction and I don’t think these last couple of games change that narrative.

"I think the narrative needs to be that can we go that one step ahead and how are we going to do it, to try and build a positive [dynamic]."

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.