Gareth Southgate has promised England’s players and his coaching staff will continue to take the knee before games during Euro 2020.
Since the Premier League resumed in June 2020 following a coronavirus-enforced lay-off, players and management have taken the knee prior to kick-off in a display against racial discrimination and injustice.
The act has also translated to the international stage, with the England team showing their support.
However, before Wednesday’s friendly win over Austria in Middlesbrough, some sections of the socially distanced, limited-capacity crowd at the Riverside Stadium booed the demonstration, although other spectators responded with applause.
Having said after the game that some people “were not understanding the message”, Southgate vowed on Saturday not to bend to the naysayers. He also insisted his players would not be fielding questions on the topic during the Euros.
“We feel more determined than ever to take the knee,” Southgate told a news conference ahead of Sunday’s final pre-tournament friendly against Romania.
“Those people should put themselves in the shoes of the young players.
“How would they feel if their kids were in that situation? We feel more than ever determined to take the knee during the tournament.
“We accept there might be an adverse reaction, and we’re just going to ignore that and move forward.”
It was a sentiment echoed by midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who added: “I was just happy that the boos got cancelled out by the fans cheering in the end, but I don’t think it’s a great situation, especially for us players.
“All we can do is just focus on the game and speak about it afterwards.
“The team spoke about it together and we came up with the conclusion that regardless of what goes on around, we’re still going to participate in the kneeling, and I think that’s a great idea.”
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