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Sub-edited by Jacques Porcheron

In the most recent international break, Gareth Southgate’s 23 man squad sparked controversy amongst fans across the country. In particular, the England manager’s choice to call up Marcus Rashford over in-form Raheem Sterling.

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The Chelsea forward has had a fantastic start to the 2023/24 campaign, whilst Marcus Rashford has been unable to pick up where he left off last season. Therefore, INMR chose to explore the pair’s season so far and why Sterling should still be in contention for the upcoming Euro’s in Germany.

Raheem Sterling has seven goal involvements in 13 starts this season across all competitions, all from open play, so fans were understandably shocked when Chelsea’s star man was left out of Southgate’s England selection in November for the fifth consecutive time.

When going forward, stats suggest that Sterling has been a much bigger threat for his club. In the Premier League, Sterling has 29 more progressive carries than Marcus Rashford in total; that includes seven more carries into the final third and nine more into the oppositions penalty area. This highlights how effective Sterling has been on the attack for Chelsea and how much more danger he is causing in front of goal compared to Marcus Rashford.

Rashford has made two more starts than Sterling this season but has made far less of an impact for Manchester United: he has scored two goals so far in 16 starts and from the 40 attempts he has had on goal, only nine of them have been on target, meaning he has a shot accuracy rate of just 22.5%. Sterling on the other hand has been much more clinical, with a shot accuracy rate of 37.9%. He also scores 55% of the time when his shot is on target, compared to Rashford’s measly 11%, further highlighting the Chelsea winger’s dominant presence in front of goal. Despite his impressive form last season, Rashford only scores 0.03 in terms of goals per shot, seven times less than Sterling’s 0.21 in the current campaign.

The data has proved that there’s no contest between Sterling and Rashford in club competitions, but lets have a look at their impact on the England national team over the years. More specifically, major tournaments in order to eliminate “stat padding” data from friendly games against countries such as San Marino and Lithuania. In major tournaments, Sterling has made nine goal contributions in just 18 starts, compared to Rashford’s three goals in nine.

When asked about this shocking decision to leave out Sterling, Gareth Southgate responded by asking the question “Who do I leave out to put him in?” However he did admit that Sterling has been “looking dangerous for his club” and that “the door is still 100% open” giving fans hope that they’ll see him in Germany next summer.

Overall it’s clear for all to see that Raheem Sterling provides a lot more going forward for both club and country than Marcus Rashford, so it shouldn’t be a debate on who would be better in the upcoming Euro 2024 campaign. Although Gareth Southgate’s choices have been under scrutiny for years, therefore it’s highly likely the fans won’t be happy over something in June, even if Sterling does make the cut.

Written by Isabelle Newnham

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May 2024