There were 523 yards between Raheem Sterling’s goal for England and where he grew up as Manchester City star told he’s earned Gareth Southgate’s loyalty

Football was definitely coming home for Raheem Sterling, whose goal for England was just over 500 yards from the place he grew up.

The Manchester City forward scored as England beat Croatia 1-0 in the Three Lions’ opening Euro 2020 game at Wembley, which was also his first at a major international tournament.

Sterling silenced his critics with the winner at the Wembley clash and his celebration could probably be heard down the road where he grew up

The Man City forward was raised in Brent, around the corner from Wembley stadium and felt he was destined to score at the famous grounds. 

To score it in what he called his ‘back garden’ is what dreams are made of and the 26-year-old even has a tattoo of him wearing number 10 standing in the famous arch. 

In an interview a few years ago he said: “As a young boy I used to walk around Wembley or be on my bike. 

Sterling spent his childhood in the shadow of Wembley’s famous arch
The Times

“Hopefully one day I can be wearing that number 10 in that stadium, be in my hometown, and hopefully be the king of Wembley one day.”

Speaking on his all-important strike, which was the first time England have won an European Championship opener, Sterling said: “It’s a great feeling. I’ve always said if I played at Wembley in a major tournament, I have to score.

“Growing up two minutes down the road, I know I have to score here. It was a great feeling to finally do that.

“I couldn’t wait to get here and get started. I knew it would be a positive one.”

England had never won their opening game at the Euros until local lad Sterling scored the winner against Croatia

The trickster has enjoyed a great week, and earlier became an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to racial equality. 

He then helped England exact revenge on Croatia for the heartbreak in 2018 where they sent them crashing out of the World Cup semi-finals.

After criticism for his performances in the 2016 Euros, in which England were beaten by underdogs Iceland it will be massive for the forward to play a key role in this victory. 

Sterling is only 26 but has played 62 times for England already and scored 15 goals. Along with Jordan Henderson, he was included in the Queen’s birthday honours

One man who was delighted was talkSPORT’s Stuart Pearce, who played for England at Euro ’96.

“If Raheem drops his standards even slightly, there is the mindset in this country for people to then start asking: ‘what’s Sterling playing for?’

“Gareth [Southgate] backed him like all good managers do. Raheem has been brilliant for five years for England and you don’t just discard him to one side.

“Certain players earn loyalty and he’s earned Gareth’s loyalty and I’m pleased to see him score the goal and play particularly well.”