England midfielder Ashley Young has revealed he was first racially abused on a football pitch at the age of 11.
The revelation comes at a troubling time for football after a series of players have reported being racially abused during their stay in the Ukraine and Poland for Euro 2012.
Some players have even threatened to walk off the pitch if it happens during a game.
The Manchester United midfielder told The Sun on Sunday: “I was 11 years old and was racially abused on the pitch.
“It was another player, I’m not too sure what happened to him. But I was just a youngster. It was obviously so disappointing to hear it at such a young age.
“You don’t expect to hear it at any age, but when you’re a youngster even more so. But I just turned around, got on with the game and managed to score two goals.
“That’s me. I just want to go out there and play football. I’ve done that ever since I was young. I love playing football and that’s all I’m going to do.
“It’s one of those things we shouldn’t be sat here talking about in this day and age.
“It should not happen but, unfortunately, it does. Hopefully we won’t hear it in this tournament.
“UEFA, now, have taken it into their hands and said they’ll deal with the matter.”
English players were subjected to racial abuse when they travelled to Bulgaria in a Euro 2012 qualifying game, where home fans aimed chants at Theo Walcott, Ashley Cole and Young.
“In that game the abuse was disappointing. I can’t speak for other players but I didn’t let it affect me,” Young said.
“I had to block it out in that game and get on with it. UEFA dealt with it after the game and Bulgaria were fined.
“The fines aren’t up to me. It’s down to UEFA and how they deal with it.
“That was the matter left. Hopefully it doesn’t happen in this tournament but, if it does, I’m sure UEFA will deal with it.”
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