Sheffield Wednesday star Barry Bannan pays Raheem Sterling huge compliment after racist abuse
Sheffield Wednesday star Barry Bannan has sent a message of support to Raheem Sterling after he suffered racist abuse playing for England last night.
The Manchester City star was subjected to a tirade of monkey chants during England’s 6-0 win in their Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria.
Play was halted twice at the Vasil Levski National Stadium as England players received abhorrent abuse with home fans seen making Nazi salutes.
An announcement was made on the public address system before another pause in play just before half-time approached following more racist behaviour.
The match was allowed to continue however with Sterling putting in a man-of-the-match display capped with a fine brace.
Following the match, Scotland international Bannan has sent Sterling a message of support, praising the 24-year-old’s professionalism.
He tweeted: “Don’t know the guy but how he conducts himself and performs the way he does in that environment is unreal. What a credit to the sport @sterling7 and what a player.”
FA chairman Greg Clarke called it "one of the most appalling nights" he has ever seen in football, with the governing body asking UEFA to investigate as a matter of urgency.
England manager Gareth Southgate was quick to praise referee Ivan Bebek for his role, while the manager spoke to doctor Rob Chakraverty and coach Chris Powell to check he was acting in the right way.
Sterling said: "Feeling sorry for Bulgaria to be represented by such idiots in their stadium. Anyway.. 6-0 and we go back home, at least we did our job. Safe travel to our fans, u guys did well."
A three-step protocol from UEFA would have allowed the officials to take the teams off for a break in play as a second measure - before ultimately taking the final step of abandoning the game.
After the first-half incidents, the players spoke in the changing room at half-time, with England captain Harry Kane praising the fortitude of his colleagues for wanting to continue the match despite the issues.
He said: “I'm definitely proud of my team-mates and my friends and everyone involved with our nation tonight," he added.
"It wasn't easy for anyone, we made a decision as a team to carry on playing, you saw us come together before half-time and we said we would play until half-time, get together and decide what we wanted to do.
"Everyone wanted to carry on and do their talking on the pitch, which I am extremely proud of.”