England players are now protecting their homes with dogs and 24-hour bodyguards while at the World Cup, talkSPORT understands.
The heightened security has been put in place after Raheem Sterling’s home was burgled on Saturday, and the winger’s England teammates are now looking to ensure they are not targeted by organised crime gangs while they’re away in Qatar.
Sterling missed England’s 3-0 victory over Senegal on Sunday as he flew back to the house in Surrey to be with his family.
Surrey Police’s statement earlier confirmed there was no threat of violence in the burglary at Sterling’s home which happened when nobody was inside. The theft of jewellery and watches was discovered when Sterling’s family returned home.
Now, the other Three Lions stars fear they could become targets for opportunistic thieves who know they are thousands of miles away in Qatar and have put the extra measures in place.
Players were given extensive security guidance before leaving for the Middle East and the FA have an experienced security team on hand to advise and provide support as and when required.
It is also common place for high-profile England and Premier League stars to hire protection dogs and ex-military personnel to act as bodyguards.
In some cases the bodyguards camp out on driveways overnight to offer around-the-clock security.
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The Chelsea winger has been told he can come back to the camp when he wants to, but an imminent return is believed to be unlikely at this stage.
Coach Gareth Southgate and his teammates support Sterling’s decision, with Jordan Henderson seen wearing the star’s No. 10 shorts after the game against Senegal.
“I had a long time with him this morning [Sunday] just trying to work out how best for him to deal with everything,” the England manager told talkSPORT after the win over Senegal, which booked a quarter-final with France for next Saturday.
“He’s going to go home tonight. The priority at this time is his family and we’ve got to give him the space to sort everything out there and then we’ll see if he’s able to come back and when.
“That wouldn’t be a problem in terms of the bubble but obviously we’ve got to give him the space and time to work out exactly what’s going to go on.”
Meanwhile, Sterling’s teammate Maguire told talkSPORT: “It’s really disappointing to hear that Raheem has had to go home and sort things out this morning, so we haven’t had time to speak to him this morning. Our full focus was on the game.
“To lose a key player tonight, the game could have gone different and we might have needed Raheem tonight.
“To lose him over something that’s out of our hands is disappointing. We are all here for him.
“I think we’ll find out more in the next few hours, but we are all here for him and his family and it’s extremely disappointing to hear that when we are out here playing for our country and giving absolutely everything for our country and there are people back home targeting us.”
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