Southgate – England players considered walking off


England coach Gareth Southgate says his side considered leaving the field after suffering racist abuse during their 6-0 win over Bulgaria.

The Three Lions moved closer to Euro 2020 thanks to a superb performance in Sofia. Marcus Rashford opened the scoring with an excellent finish, while Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling both grabbed braces.

Captain Harry Kane finished off the scoring with five minutes remaining, but the game was marred by racist abuse from the stands.

The game was halted on two occasions although England’s players decided to finish the game and Southgate was proud of how they handled the situation.

He told reporters in his post-match press conference: “The players were keen to finish the half and then have the discussion at half time.

“I’m incredibly proud of the players and all the staff. Of course, we could be criticised for not going far enough. But I think we have made a huge statement and, frankly, we were in an impossible situation to get it right for the satisfaction of everyone.

“We were clear that if there was anything at the beginning of the second half, we would have walked straight off and frankly we wouldn’t have come back. But the officials here threw a fair number of supporters out of the ground and in the second half our football did the talking.

“We’ve got players that have been through things they should never experience, but they’ve come off with a smile on their face because of the way they’ve played. They always want the story to be about football but they’ve been a part of something that will be bigger.”