England boss Gareth Southgate has praised Raheem Sterling’s “incredible resilience and hunger” after the Manchester City forward’s standout performances at Euro 2020.
Sterling has scored three goals, including the opener in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Germany, to help the Three Lions reach the quarter-finals.
Sterling has netted 15 goals in his past 20 England games, having gone 27 without scoring before that.
“He is a fighter,” said Southgate.
“He has got an incredible resilience and hunger.
“He has developed over the last couple of years this real hunger to score.
“Even in the games where the the ball has flashed across the box earlier in the tournament, he has been in between the posts.
“He is finding himself in these areas and yes, his drive is fantastic, we know the journey he has been on with England and I am so happy for him to be able to deliver the performances he has.”
Southgate also said he is happy for fans to continue to ask questions about the 26-year-old, who he feels uses criticism as motivation.
“To deliver them at Wembley will have been really special for him and, as you said, the goals return is incredible,” added Southgate, who highlighted Sterling’s two-goal performance in England’s Uefa Nations League win over Spain in October 2018 as a “real lift-off moment” for the former Liverpool winger.
“Absolutely incredible, really, but yes, please keep asking the questions because if we cannot motivate him everyone else will certainly be able to.”
England travel to Rome for the Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine on Saturday in a bid to reach the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time in 25 years.
Victory over Andriy Shevchenko’s side would set up a last-four encounter with Denmark or the Czech Republic.