England forward Raheem Sterling said he was left “fuming” after his PR company issued a release suggesting that he would be captaining England in Thursday’s Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands.
The press release was issued on Tuesday by Colossal Sports Management, who represent Sterling’s management company, saying he would be wearing the skipper’s armband in what will be his 50th appearance.
Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is England’s usual captain and would be expected to assume the role should he start against the Netherlands.
The statement was therefore surprising given that England manager Gareth Southgate rarely indicates his team selection choices ahead of competitive games and it would be normal practice for him or the Football Association to announce any captaincy decision.
At a scheduled news conference on Wednesday, Southgate said: “I don’t want to discuss the captaincy. Harry Kane is our captain and if he doesn’t play I have a decision to make. But if I tell you Harry Kane isn’t playing I’m doing half of (Dutch manager) Ronald (Koeman’s) job for him.”
Kane and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson would be ahead of Sterling for the skipper’s role, but they were among those involved in the Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday.