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Southgate set to restore Sterling to England side for Kosovo clash

Punished for confronting England team-mate Joe Gomez, Raheem Sterling is poised to return to the fold.

England manager Gareth Southgate is set to restore axed star Raheem Sterling to the starting line-up for Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifying trip to Kosovo following his altercation with Joe Gomez.

Sterling will miss Thursday's fixture against Montenegro at Wembley as punishment for his confrontation with England team-mate and Liverpool defender Gomez.

The pair clashed during Sunday's Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool and were involved in an incident in a private area of England's St George's Park training base.

While Sterling will sit out England's 1,000th match in London, the City forward is poised to return to the fold against Kosovo in Group A.

"Yes," Southgate said when asked if Sterling will start on Sunday. "Without knowing what might happen in tomorrow's game and everything else, but I can see that being the case.

"His reaction has been brilliant. He spoke to the team really well and he's trained really well and I can't fault his reaction at all.

"So, there might be observation about where he might be in terms of me and giving you an honest answer of what I think he's likely to be thinking. But in terms of how he's trained and how he's been around the guys and with us, I'm happy."

While Sterling is expected to return, it remains to be seen whether Gomez will feature as he vies with the likes of Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings and John Stones for a place in Southgate's XI.

Southgate added: "I'm not going to pick the whole team for the next two games, but whatever decision I make, what happened last Monday won't have any bearing on selection for the next two games.

"He is up against three outstanding, experienced centre-backs at his club. But he's a young defender and we've always thought highly of him as a player and as a character. So he's developing well.

"I know he'll want to play more with us, but he's already proved to us against the likes of Brazil and Germany that he can cope at the highest level and thrive at the highest level.

"Of course, when you're not getting a number of games at club level it's more difficult to come straight into the national team. But that doesn't mean we've lost faith in him because that's why we've kept him in the squad."