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Raheem Sterling hails Gareth Southgate for England’s team spirit and racism fight

Manchester City star Raheem Sterling says England manager Gareth Southgate is ‘a wonderful manager that tries to give us the environment to perform at the highest level’

Gareth Southgate has been praised by Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling told today how manager Gareth Southgate had united the England side not only on the pitch but in the fight against racism too.

The Manchester City star hailed Southgate’s ability to foster team spirit after England came fourth in the 2018 World Cup and second in the Euro 2020 finals this summer.

Raheem, 27, said: “We have a wonderful manager that tries to give us the environment to perform at the highest level.”

Gareth, 50, said the team’s approach to racism changed after Sterling and teammate Danny Rose suffered racial abuse when England beat Montenegro 5-1 in 2019.

They decided players would go down on one knee before matches, to show their defiance of racism.

Players from both side’s take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement prior to the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on July 11, 2021


Getty Images)

Gareth said: “The decision we took last year [to take a knee] really started in Montenegro when Raheem and Danny suffered abuse. I didn’t realise at the other side of the pitch that it had been going on.”

He said his players had not reported the abuse, so he made sure they felt able to speak openly if it ever happened again.

Raheem added that the racist abuse suffered by Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after they missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final should never be forgotten.

Sterling was a star for Southgate at Euro 2020


AFP/Getty Images)

Of taking the knee, he added: “As a group we asked, ‘Is our message still powerful?’ And we have been determined to keep that going.”

In an interview with Raheem for Radio 4’s Today, Gareth added: “Now, what it means to be English is different.

“We have a lot more dual-heritage players who are proud of being English but like you, also proud of Jamaican roots.

“That is how we are as a country now, and so we should be thinking of ourselves differently as well.”

Gareth began as England men’s football manager in September 2016.

In 2018 they made the World Cup semis for the first time in 28 years.

Reaching the Euros final in July this year was their best result in a major tournament for 55 years.

The team lost to Italy 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw.

Gareth also addressed his penalty miss at Euro 96, saying he included it in a video compilation of penalty misses used in team training.

He said: “If you worry, you don’t play at your best.

“We looked at videos of the past. We talked about how we make our own history.”

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