Pride at England squad diversity but shame on racists and bandwagon politicians - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: M Temple, Knowle Drive, Sidmouth.

England's defender Harry Maguire, England's midfielder Kalvin Phillips and England's midfielder Declan Rice take the knee prior to the UEFA EURO 2020 Group D football match between Czech Republic and England at Wembley Stadium in London on June 22, 2021. (Photo by NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP).

Boris Johnson has condemned the “appalling” racist abuse that three black English footballers have been subjected to because they missed penalties in the recent Euro-2020 Final. Is this the same politician who previously made racist jokes about “piccaninnies” and “watermelon smiles”?

Gareth Southgate, as England’s manager, has assumed responsibility for the choice of penalty takers and supported his players throughout with courage and respect. Perhaps those guilty of online abuse might consider what effect their past comments have had on the psychology of players, especially as confidence is key to penalty taking.

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Most England supporters are good-humoured and tolerant and support fair play.

It is shameful, however, to recall the xenophobic abuse directed at Danish fans, including a nine-year-old boy, as well as the attempt to interfere with play by the England “supporter” who aimed a laser pointer at the Danish goalkeeper as he was facing a penalty.

On the other hand, one can be proud of the diversity and team-spirit of the current England squad and management which has been evident on and off the field and most notably in the compassion and togetherness shown in defeat.

A contrast to the divisiveness exploited by politicians who have been only too ready to jump on the bandwagon of success.

From: Janet Berry, Barfield, Hambleton.

Gareth Southgate made a grave mistake putting two young inexperienced members of the team under tremendous pressure to take part in penalties. It was the wrong decision and meant England lost the game. Can we move on now from the endless speculation of ‘what ifs’?

We lost because of a poor decision that went badly wrong. Football fans have shown themselves up with poor sportsmanship and not accepting that Italy was the better team. It’s only a game but how it can be referred to as the beautiful game is beyond me!