Manager admits he once reprimanded Danny Rose for getting booked without realising player had suffered 90 minutes of abuse
The decision by the Inglaterra football team to take a knee during this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament partially came after manager Gareth Southgate reprimanded full back Danny Rose for getting booked during an earlier game in Montenegro – without realising he had been suffering racist abuse throughout the match.
Southgate admonished the Watford player for picking up a yellow card immediately after the game in March 2019.
But he has now revealed that he ended up saying sorry to Rose on the plane home after being made aware that both he and striker Raheem Sterling had been barracked throughout the 90 minutos.
“I didn’t realise earlier in the game that, on the other side of the pitch, there have been racist abuse going on," ele disse. “So when we got in the changing room, I’m having to go at Danny. And I had to apologise on the plane because I suddenly emerged that this has been going on.”
He suggested the episode had partially led him to support the team’s decision to take the knee before games in a bid to both raise the issue of racism in sport more widely and to help players discuss it more openly in the dressing room.
“I didn’t like the fact that the boys felt they couldn’t mention it in the changing room at half the time or report it,” he told BBC Radio 4 in an interview broadcast on Wednesday. “For me it was like, 'Nós vamos, God, this is awful. How has this environment [developed] where our players are allowed to be abused on the pitch and they don’t even feel comfortable to report it or feel anything is going to happen?’
“But at the very least, this had to be a team where we were united on how we saw it and we could send a message to young kids watching," ele disse. “I think the lads maybe didn’t realise how powerful that would be going into a tournament because they want to concentrate on the football, você sabe?”
Speaking during the same interview, Sterling – who has campaigned heavily on the subject throughout his career – said: “I think a lot of the time when racism comes up or something happens, a lot of time in football, and generally in society, we tend to address it for that period, that five days or that week, and then we normally brush it under the carpet and then things are [said to be] all fine…but us as players that have been in those scenarios – faced that abuse – we just wanted to keep highlighting that.”
The decision to take the knee before games led to some fans booing in early matches. One Tory MP Lee Anderson said he wouldn’t watch England until the stance was no longer part of the pre-match routine.
Mas, for many, the team was viewed as a perfect encapsulation of what modern England should be: diverse, hard-working, and demonstrably proud of the country they represented.
When they reached the final, Anderson said he would still not be watching – but would be checking the score on his phone regularly.