By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter
Police are working to determine when a burglary reported at the home of England forward Raheem Sterling took place, and say no witnesses have come forward at this stage to say armed suspects or threats of violence were involved.
The 27-year-old Chelsea star was given leave to return to the UK from England’s World Cup camp in Qatar after he learned about the burglary.
Sources close to Sterling had indicated on Sunday that armed intruders had broken in to Sterling’s home while his family were inside, but an updated statement issued by Surrey Police on Monday afternoon said the occupants of the house were not present during the burglary and that there was no evidence at this point of armed intruders or threats of violence being involved.
Raheem Sterling is not available for selection for the #ThreeLions tonight as he is dealing with a family matter. pic.twitter.com/CR6cU8J0wE
— England (@England) December 4, 2022
“We are currently investigating a report of a burglary at an address in Oxshott, Leatherhead,” the statement read.
“On Saturday, December 3 the occupants returned to the address after arriving home from an international trip.
“They contacted police just before 9pm to report a number of items of jewellery, including watches, had been stolen. Officers attended the address later that night and returned to speak to the occupants this morning.
“At this time it remains unclear on which date the property was stolen and establishing this forms a key part of our investigation.
“Enquiries into the full circumstances remain ongoing and officers will look at all available evidence including any CCTV opportunities.
“We are aware of media reports stating there were armed suspects involved, however, at this time, we would reassure our communities that no witnesses have come forward to this effect and there are no reports of any threats of violence linked to this incident. Anyone with information should contact police directly if they have not already been spoken to.
“No arrests have been made at this time.”
The news of the break-in led to Sterling being unavailable for Sunday night’s 3-0 victory over Senegal, which has taken England into the World Cup quarter-finals.
It is not yet clear whether the 27-year-old will return for Saturday’s match against France, with England boss Gareth Southgate admitting he and everyone else would have to “wait and see” regarding Sterling’s availability.
Southgate was asked about Sterling in the press conference following Sunday’s win over Senegal.
“Raheem, as the FA statement says, is having to deal with a family situation, so he’s going back to England,” he said.
“We’ve got to give him time to try to resolve that or be there for his family. That’s the most important thing at this time, so we’re going to give him that space.
“It didn’t impact team selection. I spent a lot of time with Raheem this morning, but you know you have days where events happen and you have to deal with them.
“He’s on his way home and, yeah, we’re obviously mindful of him being allowed space and (having) privacy respected, so we don’t want to talk in too much detail.
“Of course it’s not ideal for the group ahead of a big game, but it pales into insignificance – the individual is more important than the group in those moments.
“So, I needed to look after the situation, and then I had to pass it on to others to deal with this afternoon in order to get him home.”
The Football Association offered extensive security guidance to players before leaving for Qatar and has an experienced security team on hand to advise and provide support as and when needed.