Now basking in adulation after knocking out Germany, England coach Gareth Southgate might seem universally adored across the nation.

Not quite.

The goals that sent England to the European Championship quarterfinals following a 2-0 victory over Germany came from players who Southgate faced calls to drop.

Raheem Sterling entered the team’s opening game at Euro 2020 having being unable to score at four previous tournaments.

EURO 2020: Belgium midfielder Tielemans still full of energy despite long season

Just why did Southgate persist with Sterling on the left of the front three? Even Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola had cooled on starting the 26-year-old winger in the team’s run to the Premier League title.

Sterling’s ability to take on opponents — darting down the wings, gliding through defenses — has the potential to create goals. That happened twice in the group…

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