Sterling scored three times with a Harry Kane penalty and an own goal from Tomas Kalas helping England kick off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 5-0 rout of the Czech Republic.
And the Manchester City star celebrated his second strike by revealing a T-shirt with a picture of Dagenham schoolboy Dawkins, a Crystal Palace youth player, who died recently.
The 13-year-old lost his battle against leukaemia on March 17 despite a campaign to find him a stem cell donor, with his heartbroken dad Tony describing him as a “soldier to the end.”
Sterling said: “Damary was a kid I was trying to help. We thought we found a donor but sadly it didn’t match and he passed away. I wanted to give his family something to smile about.
“It was a beautiful team performance and I was happy to help the team get the win. I’m just being confident in myself, I’m trying to get in areas and take shots, not to worry about anything.”
Dawkins was diagnosed at the age of nine and had been visited at Great Ormond Street hospital by Sterling.
The City star could still face action over his T-Shirt as strict UEFA rules on goal celebrations state: “Players must not reveal undergarments that show political, religious, personal slogans, statements or images.”
But England boss Gareth Southgate hailed Sterling, who became the first England player to score a hat-trick at Wembley since Jermain Defoe in September 2010 against Bulgaria.
“I wanted to give his family something to smile about”
Southgate said: “I thought Raheem was electric all night. He has looked like that all week in training. I’m pleased for him, it is a special night for him.
“I think he’s really matured as a person and a footballer. He’s hungry for goals and hitting things instinctively without thinking too much.
“He’s very mature and comfortable at the moment. Delighted he got the reaction he did from the crowd tonight but we can’t hide the fact hes had difficult moments and he’s turned that full circle.
“He’s hungry for goals and I thought he was devastating tonight. I put him into the leadership group and he’s a role model for the younger players coming in.
“I thought we were a little slow at the start to move the ball and there was a period at the start of the second half where we lost a bit of tactical discipline.
“But I really liked how we won the ball back quickly and some of our attacking play and forward runs were really exciting.
“I think we can get better and we need to keep doing that because the guys have the potential to play at an even higher level.”
Skipper Kane said: “Our system tonight definitely suits Raheem – 4-3-3, the wingers staying high. It was a brilliant team performance.
“We pressed, we made it difficult for them, got the goals and were clinical. We’re enjoying it out there, we’re a confident team coming off back last summer and the Nations League.
“We’re playing good football, everyone is expressing themselves, we have young, hungry players and it showed tonight.”
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