Raheem Sterling has apologised to his England teammates after he reported late to the squad's training base ahead of their World Cup preparations.
The Manchester City attacker was expected to return to St. George's Park last Tuesday evening, but only returned to the Three Lions base on the Wednesday morning, prompting manager Gareth Southgate to remind the 23-year-old of his responsibilities.
The majority of England's squad descended on the training base last Sunday, but Sterling had been given an extra 48 hours to arrive on the Tuesday as his family holiday in Jamaica had to be pushed back following a family issue in the UK.
However, a mix up with his return leg meant a direct flight from Jamaica to England was not possible and his flight was forced to stop in Miami, meaning his original time of arrival had been pushed back.
Sterling called Southgate to inform him that he would not be arriving at the time previously agreed, and the pair are understood to have later gone for a walk to discuss the matter further.
Earlier this week I defended Sterling over the tattoo. But today the England manager said he’d had to apologise for reporting late for WC duty. It’s unfortunate that it’s the same player but he has screwed up. And it’s certainly news.— Matt Lawton (@Matt_Lawton_DM) June 1, 2018
While Sterling has come under fire for a gun tattoo on his right leg, Southgate instead looked to address an issue which directly required his attention when talking to reporters ahead of England's World Cup warm up game against Nigeria on Saturday.
"He was given off until the Tuesday night and he arrived on the Wednesday morning, so he was late," Southgate said, via the Evening Standard.
"There was a mix-up on flights and a connection. In fairness to him he wanted to apologise to the group, explained his commitment to the team, and it's done. That was accepted and everybody has moved on."
Asked if he felt let down by Sterling after hitting the headlines in recent weeks, Southgate said: "No, because it was not an intentional situation.
"If someone doesn't want to be here and wants to be late, that's different. But I know how he was about it, so it was clear to me, his commitment and his focus.
"Managers want an easy life, really. They don't want to have [these] conversations and we know the world we live in. Nothing stays private. That's part of the long discussion we had when we went for a walk.
"I don't know why there are so many stories about him compared to others, but he is the type of player who can make a difference. There is a bigger expectation, a bigger focus on him. If you want to be a top player, you have to be able to handle that."