Gareth Southgate has hit the section of fans who booed when England players knelt before their friendly win against Austria at Riverside Stadium on Wednesday night.
Southgate winced after the anti-racism gesture was greeted with loud boos just before kickoff. On a night when right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold suffered a thigh injury during the final stages, Southgate said he will be evaluated in the next two days, the coach defended his players and emphasized that the act of kneeling should not to be seen. as a political message.
“I heard it,” Southgate said. “It’s not something on behalf of our black players that I want to hear because it feels like criticism of them. I think we have a situation where some people seem to think that it is a political position that they do not agree with. That’s not why the players are doing it. We support each other. I was glad that most of the crowd drowned it out.
“We cannot deny the fact that it happened. I think the most important thing for our players to know is that all their teammates and all the staff are very supportive. I think most people get it. I think some people misunderstand the message. I guess we’re seeing that on various soccer fields right now. “
Bukayo Saka, who secured England’s victory with his first international goal, was equally perplexed. “I don’t understand why they did it,” the 19-year-old said. “I heard some boos and some applause. But you’ll have to ask the fans who were booing to understand why they did it. “
England, who were left without a host of key players against Austria, must wait to learn of Alexander-Arnold’s form. The Liverpool defender, who is one of four right-backs on Southgate’s team, stopped as full time approached and was on the verge of crying as he walked down the field.
England, who host Romania in another warm-up match on Sunday, have six players on their waiting list. Jesse Lingard, Ollie Watkins, Ben White, James Ward-Prowse and Ben Godfrey are the outfield players who could benefit from Alexander-Arnold’s retirement.
“We will have to evaluate it for the next 24 to 48 hours,” Southgate said. “The medical team is still evaluating it. We just have to see. It’s not a good sign to see him have to leave the way he did. Let’s see what Trent is like first and then we’ll go there. We do not know the full scope. It’s clearly not a good sign that it seemed uncomfortable. “
The Alexander-Arnold injury is another complication for Southgate, who will likely no longer have Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire when England face Croatia in their first group match. Henderson, who has not played since February with a groin injury, was unavailable against Austria after experiencing discomfort yesterday morning.
“With Jordan, we were hoping to get him involved today,” Southgate said. “This morning I was not so happy with how he was feeling. We have scanned it just to be sure. There is no problem in the scan, so he will be able to resume training, but we have made the decision to leave him out of the game. “
Jack Grealish, who just returned from injury, needed ice on his shin after being substituted. “I’ve had an injury recently so having 70 minutes under my belt was a perfect week,” said the playmaker. “It’s not shin cramps, it’s a bit of stress on my shin. It does not worry me. I still need to keep up, to heal him after the games, so that’s why I put the ice on him. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism