'Sadly, I expected it...' - Gareth Southgate vows England players will continue taking knee after more boos

Gareth Southgate expected his England players to be jeered for taking the knee ahead of their win over Romania but again insisted they will continue to make the gesture going forward.

By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
Sunday, 6th June 2021, 9:32 pm

The Three Lions boss had asked for supporters not to boo the stance on the eve of this final Euro 2020 warm-up game at the Riverside Stadium but, as they did here on Wednesday night, a minority ignored Southgate’s pleas.

An experimental and inexperienced England earned a 1-0 victory over Romania through captain Marcus Rashford’s second-half penalty but it was the pre-match reaction which again lingered over the contest.

Jordan Henderson’s return to action as a second-half substitute was marred by a penalty miss of his own, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jadon Sancho both hit the crossbar.

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England's manager Gareth Southgate (L) and Steve Holland, Assistant Coach of England (R) 'take a knee' ahead of the international friendly football match between England and Romania at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough (Photo by SCOTT HEPPELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Southgate and his players agreed on the decision to continue to take the knee as a gesture against racism and inequality despite the recent incidents, and he explained after the win that the stance will not change.

“I think I sadly sort of expected what happened to happen,” he said.

“We’ve accepted that, as a group. It isn’t going to stop what we are doing and what we believe. It certainly isn’t going to stop my support for our players and our staff.

“That’s it, we are going to have to live with that. We’ve said what we are going to say now.

“You are right to ask the question today but moving forward, it is pointless me going into any further detail on that.”

Rashford, who captained England for the first time, echoed his manager’s sentiments, telling ITV: “It is something we cannot control.

“For us it is the right thing to do so we are going to continue to do it.”