Dier inspired by Sterling's handling of criticism

England players training in Russia

While Croatia and Belgium were driven by their golden generation of midfielders, England men's team's incursion into a semi-final for the first time since 1990 took many by surprise.

Despite playing in his second World Cup, the Manchester City forward is yet to score at the quadrennial tournament.

Sterling's pace did pose the Swedes issues throughout and Hurst admired the way he frequently got behind England's opponents.

To drop Sterling may create uncertainty in the England camp and may lead to Southgate having to subtle changes to his play-style and tactics which may disrupts the rest of the team's form.

More specifically, he's anxious about Raheem Sterling. Yet, anybody who observed England's quarter-final win over Sweden without any bias would tell you how influential Sterling was to England's gameplay.

Croatia's coach Zlatko Dalic attends a training session at the Adler training ground in Sochi on July 5, 2018, ahead of the Russian Federation 2018 FIFA World Cup quarter final football match between Russian Federation and Croatia.

"He offers so much to the team".

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Having failed to score in an England shirt for almost three years, Sterling has been strongly criticised by supporters and some pundits, with the BBC's fan-driven player-rater tool repeatedly giving him the lowest mark on the team.

However, Southgate insists the 23-year-old's worth to the side is not judged purely on goals and he remains a crucial part of the game-plan. Off the ball his work rate is incredible.

After the tension of extra-time and penalties in a bad-tempered clash with Colombia, England's progress to the last four was relatively serene in easing past Sweden 2-0 on Saturday.

After a quiet opening World Cup game against Tunisia, there was speculation Sterling would be dropped for the following group match against Panama.

The flak Sterling receives doesn't bother him as much anymore, in his own words, the youngster focussing on his duties instead.

Every player is in the form of their life: Jordan Pickford is Gordon Banks, Harry Maguire is Bobby Moore, Harry Kane is Geoff Hurst. By starting Sterling, England have a better plan B late in the game.

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