Raheem Sterling has said that playing in a stadium in front of no fans was ‘still a better atmosphere than the Etihad’, according to sources.
England travelled to the Stadion Rijka where they were forced to play behind closed doors against Croatia in the UEFA Nations League.
The World Cup finalists were serving the last of a two-match punishment for an incident back in 2015.
According to an unofficial source, Lee Satchell, who snuck into the stadium and hid behind the dugout, Sterling told team-mate James Maddison that the atmosphere was still better than the Man City’s Etihad Stadium.
“Sterling had just been subbed off and took his place on the bench,” explained Satchell.
“I had to quickly duck down to make sure he didn’t see me.
“Sterling lent in towards Maddison, who was a sub, and told him that he thought the atmosphere was really good.
“Maddison originally thought he was joking, but Sterling said he was deadly serious.
“He explained that the crowd was louder than anything he’d ever experienced at the Etihad with Man City.
“Sterling actually requested that he was replaced in the second-half because he felt intimidated by the hostile atmosphere.
“He came over to the touchline and told Gareth Southgate that he couldn’t cope with the pressure of playing in front of such a large crowd.”
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