Boos prove racism fight goes on: Henderson

·2-min read

England vice-captain Jordan Henderson believes if fans continue to boo when players take a knee to make a stand against racism then it highlights "there is still a problem" to fight.

The issue was further in the spotlight when Republic of Ireland players showed their support for football's anti-racism campaign before kick-off at a packed Szusza Ferenc Stadium in Budapest on Tuesday evening, with the gesture not well received by many among the crowd.

The rearranged European Championship is just days away but the negative reaction from some to the public anti-racism stances by players and support staff has dominated much of the build-up.

Jeers were drowned out by applause when players took a knee before England faced Austria last Wednesday - their first international match in front of fans in 18 months.

Gareth Southgate spoke to his players about the incident before Sunday's return to Middlesbrough to take on Romania, telling the media the group "feel more than ever determined to take the knee" at Euro 2020.

England players received the adverse reaction their manager predicted when they made the gesture again on Sunday, which frustrated vice-captain Henderson and his teammates.

"No, it doesn't (help anyone)," the Three Lions midfielder said.

"I think as players we've made it very clear that we'll all stand together against racism and that is the reason that we'll continue to take the knee and have done over the last few weeks."

Asked what his message is to fans going to Sunday's Euro 2020 opener against Croatia, Henderson said: "Well, I think it shows that if there's still people booing because we're standing together against racism that there is still a problem and we're still going to fight it and we stand together on that."

Meanwhile, Ireland boss Stephen Kenny and striker Adam Idah condemned the spectators who booed them as they took a knee.

"The fact it was booed is incomprehensible, really, and it must be damaging for Hungary, with the Euros in Hungary," Kenny said.

Norwich frontman Idah expressed his disappointment.

"It's for a good cause, trying to stop racism," he said

"It's a sign to kick racism out of society and the reaction was very disappointing to be honest. We weren't expecting that."

Asked about the booing, Hungary head coach Marco Rossi said: "We always give everyone the utmost respect. This has been the case tonight and will not change in the future.

"However, we need to ask them about the reasons for our fans' behaviour."

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