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Gareth Southgate Calls Out Fans Who Booed England Players Taking A Knee

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Gareth Southgate Calls Out Fans Who Booed England Players Taking A Knee

England manager Gareth Southgate has condemned fans who booed players taking the knee during their game against Austria on Wednesday night.

Ahead of kick-off, the symbolic gesture was met with a chorus of boos from a section of supporters inside the Riverside Stadium, before those jeers were eventually drowned out by applause.

"I did hear it," Southgate said in his press conference after the full-time whistle. "It's not something on behalf of our black players I wanted to hear because it feels as though it's a criticism of them."

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He continued, saying: "I think we have got a situation where some people seem to think it's a political stand that they don't agree with. That's not the reason the players are doing it. We're supporting each other. I was pleased that was drowned out by the majority of the crowd.

"We can't deny the fact that it happened. I think the most important thing for our players to know is all their teammates and all the staff are very supportive. I think the majority of people understand it. I think some people aren't quite understanding the message. I suppose we're seeing that across a number of football grounds at the moment."

BBC 5 Live Sport soon uploaded a clip of the booing on social media. "I'm quite taken aback as to how loud that was," said commentator John Murray on the incident.

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England's match-winner Bukayo Saka was confused as to why fans started booing when they had taken the knee.

"I don't understand why they did it," the Arsenal winger said. "I heard some boos and I heard some claps. But you'll have to ask the fans that were booing to understand why they did it."

Jack Grealish also expressed his dislike at the reaction, and said his England teammates 'didn't like it.'

"I obviously was aware of it,' said the Aston Villa captain. "I heard it and I didn't like it at all. None of the players liked it.

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"I think that will get talked about in the next few days. It's a thing we don't want in football in general and especially in our games."

It was an incident that angered many on social media, too.

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Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports/Twitter

Topics: Football, England, Austria, Gareth Southgate, Fans

Jack Kenmare
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