Gareth Southgate praises Raheem Sterling and England’s black players in wake of racist abuse

England manager Gareth Southgate has praised Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham for how they dealt with racist abuse during the 4-0 win over Hungary on Thursday evening.

England were in Budapest for a World Cup qualifier where goals from Man City winger Sterling, Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice saw them maintain their 100% record in the group to move five points clear of their nearest rivals at the top of Group I.

But after Sterling ‘s opening goal in the second half, there were audible monkey chants and he was pelted with missiles from the crowd. Hungary are currently due to play a game behind-closed-doors for abuse their supporters dished out previously, but FIFA didn’t impose the ban as it falls under UEFA competition only.

Despite the abuse, England were triumphant and professional during the game while outspoken and defiant after it. As such, manager Gareth Southgate has praised all of his black players for their response and promised to continue standing against racism.

“I don’t know how many camps we have had in the last four years but I seem to be talking about this subject every time we’ve been together,” Southgate said in a video call on Saturday.

“Our players are incredibly mature in the way they deal with it. They feel supported by their team-mates, which is very important to them. Their team-mates realise how challenging it must be for our Black players and how disappointing it is in the modern world that we continue to have to answer these questions because of the incidents that happen.

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“But we can only keep taking the stance we have done and hope we continue to send the right messages, not only to people in football but across society.”

England take on Andorra on Sunday evening at Wembley in their first international at the stadium since the Euro 2020 final, before travelling to Poland on Wednesday night.

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