Gareth Southgate: England boss criticises fans who booed players taking a knee
Gareth Southgate says “some people aren’t understanding the message” after fans at the Riverside Stadium jeered when players took a knee before England’s friendly win over Austria.
Boos circulated around the stadium before kick-off but were drowned out by applause from other supporters.
“I was pleased it was drowned out by the majority of the crowd but we can’t deny it happened,” said Southgate.
Players have been taking a knee to highlight racial injustice.A total of 7,000 supporters watched England in the ground for the first time in 563 days, having last seen their team in action against Kosovo.
Speaking of the booing, Southgate added: “It’s not something on behalf of our black players that I wanted to hear because it feels as though it is a criticism of them.
“I think the most important thing for our players to know is that all their team-mates and all the staff are fully supportive.
“I think the majority of people understand it. I think some people aren’t quite understanding the message and I suppose we are seeing that across a number of football grounds at the moment.”
England won the game 1-0 courtesy of Bukayo Saka’s second-half goal and face Romania in their second friendly on Sunday before starting their European Championship campaign against Croatia on 13 June.
© The Fan Experience Company 2020