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27th Mar 2018

Raheem Sterling calls on England fans to “give some love” to the players

Sterling feels there is too much negativity surrounding the national team

Reuben Pinder

England fans are, among other things, fickle

The relationship between England fans and the players has been fractious ever since the golden generation failed to win something.

More and more, we have grown tired of the same depressingly dull performances against deep defences and premature tournament exits to the point where many have become disillusioned with the team. Many fans snap at the first opportunity to criticise the team which – while understandable – has been counter-productive and created an impossible task for the players. They are under so much pressure to perform that they become paralysed by fear.

That is exactly what happened two years ago against Iceland, and Raheem Sterling has called on the fans to help them avoid suffering the same fate.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live ahead of England’s friendly against Italy on Tuesday, Sterling said:

“I feel sometimes there is too much negativity.

“I would love to hear some positive notes coming in, just to let the boys know everyone is behind them.”

Sterling understands the fans’ frustration at the disappointments that England have suffered, and appreciates a metaphoric kick up the arse can be helpful, but wants he abuse to stop.

“Obviously it’s disappointing when you put on a shirt and get negative feedback, but at the same time it’s what the fans want to see, they want to see you perform well.

“They are probably not doing it in a malicious way, but doing it in a way to make you know you need to step up. In a way it’s good for someone like me, I kind of thrive on stuff like that to try to build.

“If you want your country to do well as everyone says, bring a positive light to it.”

Above all Sterling wants the squad to travel to Russia with clear heads, in the best mental and physical state to go as far as possible:

“Make the boys go off to the World Cup with a clear head, that everyone is behind them and everyone is with them, and trust me I think you would definitely see a better England.

“I think if we get behind those players, give them love, you wouldn’t know how much that will help them, how much that would boost their confidence.”