Racism row latest - Gareth Southgate was first class, says Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: Praised England's reaction in Sofia.
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: Praised England's reaction in Sofia.
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SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Chris Wilder has praised the reaction of England manager Gareth Southgate and his players following the sickening scenes which blighted the Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia on Monday night.

The game was stopped twice in the first half due to monkey chants and Nazi salutes from far-right Bulgarian hooligans.

Southgate, captain Harry Kane and several players gathered near the touchline before the interval after more audible abuse with an abandonment being a possibility - in line with Uefa’s three-step anti-racism protocols.

But Southgate and his players decided to play out the rest of the qualifier and let their football do the talking en route to a 6-0 victory.

Wilder said: “It was a terrible experience for everybody connected with the England set-up.

“I thought the players handled it outstandingly well led by Gareth with the way he dealt with the situation. He was absolutely first-class.

“I am not surprised as he not just tactically excellent, but is also with the way he has managed a young group of players.

“His man-management with the group was first class and his feel of situation was brilliant. They went through the protocol and made the right decision to let football do the talking.

“There are always different opinions as to if walked off or stayed on. I think the right thing happened from what Gareth did and the players handled it magnificently.”

On punishment for Bulgaria following the shameful scenes, he added: “Something has got to happen with sanctions from Uefa and from a higher authority.

“It has to be stamped out and there has to be zero-tolerance to this type of behaviour.”