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09th Jul 2018

Vinnie Jones claims Raheem Sterling would be playing for Exeter if not for his pace

Simon Lloyd

Vinnie Jones, the former Wales international, is a bit worried about England’s inability to convert chances

More specifically, he’s worried about Raheem Sterling.

Somewhat unfairly, Sterling has been on the wrong end of criticism from some over his performances at the World Cup, where he is yet to score – despite finding the net 23 times for Manchester City last season.

Although Jones acknowledged that the 23-year-old’s movement and positioning had been fine during the tournament, he appeared to question how good he’d be were it not for his blistering pace.

“I know there’s been a lot of criticism for Sterling,” Jones told the Alan Brazil Breakfast Show on talkSPORT.

“He is getting in all the right positions, but sometimes you look at Sterling and you think, if he didn’t have that pace he’d be playing for Exeter or someone.”

Sterling has had opportunities to score in Russia, one of which came during the second half of their quarter-final win over Sweden on Saturday. Jones explained that he believed Jamie Vardy – who was unavailable for the game in Samara with a groin strain – would have taken such a chance.

“It’s a bit of a worry. For me, Vardy would have scored. He would have knocked that one in over the top, he’s got a great touch. I’m a big Vardy fan, I think he would have scored a couple against Sweden.”

England beat Sweden 2-0 to set up their first World Cup semi-final since their defeat to West Germany in 1990. They will face Croatia in Moscow on Wednesday night. Should they win, they’ll return to the Luzhniki on Sunday to face Belgium of France in the World Cup final.