David Beckham condemns criticism aimed at England forward Raheem Sterling

Kieran Trippier at World Cup in Russia

The Manchester City forward was chastised over missed chances despite the Three Lions reaching the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990.

Sterling has found his performances being placed under the microscope arguably more than any other England player by certain publications.

"We as a country are united behind the team". "Of course he hasn't scored the goals he would have liked to score but for myself and the players he has been a crucial part of the way we have been playing".

While he finally got an assist at the ongoing edition, his performances have not been up to scratch and many fans have called on Gareth Southgate to drop him in favour of Marcus Rashford.

Sterling and co face Croatia on Wednesday evening, with the victor facing either France or Belgium in the final on Sunday in what is now an all-European affair, the third time this will have happened in four tournaments.

He explained that it was a tribute to his father, who was shot dead in his birthplace of Jamaica when Sterling was just two years old.

Sterling is yet to net a goal in the World Cup despite being in the team in four matches out of five and has also been missing goal-scoring opportunities in the tournament on a regular basis.

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"It's so clear to see if you were to watch back the games, the importance he has on the team".

'I think he's had a fantastic tournament so far and hopefully that can continue in the next week'.

"They dealt with Sweden relatively easily so we know they are going to be a hard opponent and we respect them", he said.

Raheem Sterling would be playing for Exeter City instead of England if he didn't have pace, according to Vinnie Jones.

He was rested for the 1-0 defeat to Belgium but restored to the line-up as England entered the knockout rounds.

"I think Raheem Sterling is an important player because he is really fast and his combination with Harry Kane is really unsafe".

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