The Manchester City forward had scored winning goals for the Three Lions in group stage games against Croatia and Czech Republic and delivered once again – this time against Germany.
Sterling gave England the lead with a composed finish in the 75th minute of the game and has been the standout performer for the team so far.
Many had question Southgate’s decision to pick the 26-year-old in his starting-eleven at the tournament after a below-par Premier League season, but Sterling has answered his critics in style at Euro 2020.
Rio Ferdinand was full of praise for the City star when speaking after the match at Wembley and revealed a text message he sent the England international heading into the competition.
Explaining his reasoning for contacting Sterling prior to England’s opening match with Croatia, Ferdinand told the BBC pre-match: “I just texted him because I get on with a few of the guys.
“I said to him ‘It’s time’ and he said ‘Yes, it’s that time’. And he scored. Hopefully we get the same result.”
“We said before the game that this is an opportunity to become like a national hero,” Ferdinand said.
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“He’s got three goals already in this tournament. He’s been the person, when we’ve needed that moment to lift us, to get over the line in a game and get us a result, he’s been the one we’ve looked to.
“He’s a fantastic kid, he’s a fantastic human being above everything else, but what a professional, what a hard worker.
“The quality you see out there, the courage you see is one of the things I love about him, he wants to receive the ball, he wants to run at you.”