By 90Min
July 16, 2018

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he was surprised to see Raheem Sterling keep his place in the England squad for the Three Lions' World Cup third place play-off against Belgium, suggesting the forward did not have a good enough tournament to be included.

Sterling started six of England's seven matches in Russia but failed to score a single goal and was often the subject of criticism for his failure to convert chances or provide creative output for Harry Kane.

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Speaking to Russian outlet RT (via the Daily Mail), Mourinho said that Sterling should have been replaced by either Jamie Vardy or one of his own Manchester United forwards, Marcus Rashford or Danny Welbeck.

"He didn't have a good enough World Cup to be chosen for a match ahead of Vardy, Welbeck, Rashford – people with probably better condition from a physical and psychological point of view," said Mourinho.

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It is now almost three years since Sterling scored for England, with a dismal record of just two goals in 44 international caps. His failure to score at the World Cup comes as something of a surprise after the winger scored 23 goals in 46 appearances for Manchester City last season.

Mourinho also criticised England boss Gareth Southgate for playing Jordan Pickford in the play-off match, rather than handing an opportunity to one of England's reserve goalkeepers.

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The Portuguese said: "I think also for a second goalkeeper to feel I didn't even play in the third match of the group phase, I'm not playing in the third vs fourth match, when can I play.

"I think it's quite frustrating for a guy like [Jack] Butland or [Nick] Pope."

Pickford played in every minute of England's World Cup campaign, earning plaudits for his excellent displays in the quarter-finals against Colombia and Sweden.

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