Harry Maguire promises England focus despite Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez spat

Harry Maguire insists England stars are more interested in football than fighting.

The Three Lions squad has been rocked this week following the clash between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez in the canteen at St George's Park.

'Canteengate' resulted in boss Gareth Southgate taking the brave but bold decision to axe Sterling for tonight's penultimate Euro 2020 qualifier with Montenegro at Wembley, when England can book their place at next summer's finals.

The controversy has sent shockwaves through English football and threatened to divide Southgate's dressing room.

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But Maguire couldn't care less about what happens off the pitch and insists all that will ever count most is what happens on it instead.

The Manchester United ace, who has emerged as one of Southgate's most trusted and reliable stars in the past 12 months, said: "First and foremost, as a player, you look forward to the training, you're playing games.

"My sole focus all week has been on Montenegro. It's an important game for us.

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"We know the situations that could go on, yes they happen, but I'm sure that all the players would say the same.

"You go in, you work hard on the training pitch and you take it into the game and the bottom line is that the 90 minutes in the game is what matters.

"So the full focus as a player is definitely on the game. The players are fully focused on playing the 90 minutes and preparing as well as we can for it."

Southgate admits Sterling will have the hump on with him – but insists he cannot win because sometimes being England manager is an impossible job.

Southgate, who will recall Sterling for Sunday's final Group A qualifier in Kosovo, said: "You don't have to be an expert in human behaviour to think it (the hump) was possible.

"I know, as a player, my relationship with my managers and how I felt about them changed day to day, and there were many occasions when I had the hump with them, usually when I wasn't in the team.

"So, I understand that. I hope that all of my players know that, first and foremost, I care about them, that I want to be fair with them, that I want to do what's right for all of them, and that they can lean on me when they need me.

"And I also accept that at times they're not going to be bouncing with joy when they see my face walking through the meal room. So, that is part and parcel of being a manager. And if you're not up for that challenge, then it's better to go and do something else.

"I wouldn't imagine that he's (Sterling) hugely enthusiastic (towards him), but I can understand that and, you know, in the end he's with the group and that's the most important thing."

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