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Angry Raheem Sterling refutes England captaincy claim

Furious: Sterling said he apologised to England manager Southgate PICTURE: PA

RAHEEM STERLING said he was ‘fuming’ yesterday after his representatives claimed he would captain England on his 50th appearance against the Netherlands.

Boss Gareth Southgate declined to say who would wear the armband in tonight’s Nations League semi-final, amid suggestions regular skipper Harry Kane, who has only just returned from injury, and Jordan Henderson, who led Liverpool to Champions League glory on Saturday, may be left out.

Reports had emerged via a PR agency representing Sterling that the Manchester City forward would have the honour and he admitted last night: ‘I was fuming.

‘I hadn’t had a conversation with anybody at my agency so it was frustrating to wake up to that. I came off the phone to my agent and saw Gareth, so I apologised to him. I don’t know where this has come from.’

Southgate said making public any decision would be helping Dutch boss Ronald Koeman.

‘If I confirmed anything about the team other than Raheem playing, I would be doing half of Ronald’s job for him,’ he said. ‘If I tell you Harry’s playing, I would be giving Ronald half the team as well.’

As he reaches his 50th cap, Sterling revealed the hardest moment of his international career to date had been the ‘backlash’ over the gun tattoo he had inked on his leg before last summer’s World Cup in Russia.

‘I was really looking forward to going to the tournament on a positive but the backlash put a downer on me,’ he said.