David Beckham condemns criticism aimed at England forward Raheem Sterling

David Beckham condemns criticism aimed at England forward Raheem Sterling

England have defied expectations this summer, easily seeing off Sweden in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final.

Sterling played a key role as Gareth Southgate's men overcame Sweden 2-0 in Samara to set up a semi-final against Croatia - their first since 1990.

The semi-final also represents a financial mismatch between the riches of England's Premier League and Croatian football.

But, for all his critics, Sterling has more supporters, the most important of whom is Southgate, who has kept Sterling in his starting lineup, and the forward has a groundswell of support from several other important figures.

Those rumours proved unfounded as Sterling played the full 90 minutes of the 6-1 rout, setting up Jesse Lingard for England's goal of the tournament so far.

Two moments from England's first half against Sweden made the highlight reel for Raheem Sterling - first when he was deemed just offside after being one-on-one with the keeper, secondly when he failed to beat the Swedish custodian from a close range.

Sterling has yet to score in Russian Federation, but has made plenty of menacing runs in the opponents' half and brought others into play.

"He offers so much to the team", he said.

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"And the most magnificent thing is he is 23 years old, so he is still focused, keeping the desire to get better, as a player".

"His willingness to make forward runs".

Eric Dier believes there should be no debate about the displays Sterling has put in. "His work ethic is fantastic as well." he said.

Sterling endured vitriolic abuse after a series of tame performances at Euro 2016, and he was widely criticised again ahead of the World Cup for having a tattoo of a gun on his leg.

And this could benefit England if Sterling makes the most of the space presented to him.

Beckham was not the only former England global to support Sterling following his Sweden showing, with 1966 World Cup victor Sir Geoff Hurst even arguing it was the forward's finest performance of the tournament.

"Every player wants to win the World Cup, every country wants to win the World Cup, so anything less than that is not really a bonus".

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