Southgate explains Sterling axing

English Premier League

England manager Gareth Southgate has explained his decision to drop Manchester City star Raheem Sterling for the upcoming European Championship qualifer after the bust-up with Joe Gomez.

Sterling and Gomez had a heated exchange during the latter stages of Sunday's clash between Liverpool and City, which boiled over to the England camp.

News broke on Monday that the pair had clashed in the canteen at England's training base ahead of Thursday's qualifier against Montenegro.

READ: Sterling axed from England squad

"I wouldn't normally speak at this stage but it is important to speak publicly about this. I am dealing with a very young squad and we are in a sport where emotions run high," Southgate said, as per Mirror.

"We are a team. I understand our profile and the insatiable interest in our camp which we have to be aware of. That's the reality of why things become public which would not happen at a club.

"Raheem explained last night that for a brief moment his emotions ran over. It would be correct to say that's not the same for Joe [Gomez].

"These things happen in football. We have some excellent senior players who have played a part in bringing everybody together.”

“When you’ve made a decision like that it’s going to be public on Wednesday or Thursday anyway and I’d rather deal with it now than on the day of the game.”

“I’m not prepared to go into detail. There is enough conjecture and opinion and talk out there, [and] we don’t need to add to that.

“I’ve said what I think needs to be said but we have to keep as much as we can between ourselves.”