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De Bruyne: Sterling doesn't deserve the criticism

Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne

Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne says he doesn't understand why club teammate Raheem Sterling has received so much criticism for his England performances.

Sterling has been used in a more advanced position for England, under manager Gareth Southgate, than he is perhaps used to at club level. However, he failed to score a single goal throughout the World Cup which has led to widespread criticism from pundits and fans alike.

De Bruyne believes the criticism aimed at Sterling is largely unfounded and that the England star deserves more praise for the effort he has put in to help the team.

"I don't understand why you should criticise the people of your own country because, in the end, all they are trying to do is win," he said.

"I think he did really well in the games that I saw. Obviously, if you don't score a goal, then it's different but not everything in football is about goals.

"Hopefully the press and the media can give him the love that he deserves because, obviously, he's a very easy going guy and he gives everything for England - even with the criticism sometimes."

De Bruyne and Sterling could face each other on Saturday when Belgium and England fight for third place at the 2018 World Cup.