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Gareth Southgate Admits Racism Fears Makes It More Difficult To Choose England Penalty Takers

Daniel Marland

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Gareth Southgate Admits Racism Fears Makes It More Difficult To Choose England Penalty Takers

Gareth Southgate admits the racist abuse aimed at England players who missed penalties in last summer's Euro 2020 final shootout makes deciding who takes them harder.

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Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed from the spot against Italy and were racially abused online shortly after.

Ahead of Tuesday's Nations League clash with Germany, Three Lions boss Southgate was asked if that's now opened up a new layer of abuse for those who miss.

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"We’re goosed, then," Southgate conceded. "We’ve got 55 years of talking about penalties and everything else. So we’ve now got another layer that’s going to make it extremely difficult for us to win anything.

"But indirectly, we have created another layer of difficulty in overcoming a penalty shoot-out. I have got to take all of those things into consideration and it is incredibly complex."

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

It was Saka who had his decisive penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma after Jordan Pickford had given England hope by stopping Jorginho.

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Saka was a shock starter throughout the tournament and hasn't let the incident get to him.

The Arsenal winger even scored two penalties for the Gunners this season, in high-profile games against Chelsea and Manchester United.

England were lacking in players with experience from the spot at Wembley that evening, with Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Kane the only regular taker on the pitch.

Rashford was brought on in extra time, but is behind Bruno Fernandes in the pecking order at Manchester United.

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Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

Southgate continued: "We only had (Harry) Kane and (Marcus) Rashford who was the second one in after Bruno Fernandes really.

"We have got to do that work. Maybe they are getting some practice with clubs, which definitely Chelsea and Liverpool did this year.

"But we've got to cover that work in our camps on the days we can and make it really focused and specific. We're doing what we can. Psychology is definitely a part of it and I have to be aware of all of those things."

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The 51-year-old would go on to reveal he felt personal responsibility for the abuse the young trio received.

Southgate himself missed a vital penalty against Germany at Euro 96 and England were eliminated at the semi-final stage.

He declared: "I couldn’t help but feel, 'Have I created this situation for the boys?'

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy
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"But it wouldn’t be right to not pick the players you think are best to take them because of what the possible consequences of missing would be.

"I’ve got to pick them on the belief they are going to score. I’m trying to balance whether the question is about the racism itself — which is abhorrent and unacceptable — and what you’re identifying, that there’s another layer of complexity in making that decision."

England were beaten 1-0 by Hungary on Sunday and will be looking to get back to winning ways in Munich.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Gareth Southgate, England, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho

Daniel Marland
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