Ezri Konsa: My family were caught in cups crossfire when fans turned on England

Ezri Konsa has revealed his brother and several other players’ families were caught in the crossfire as angry England fans threw beer cups in frustration following the goalless draw with Slovenia.

While a couple of plastic cups were aimed in the direction of manager Gareth Southgate as he applauded supporters after the Euro 2024 stalemate, more were hurled around the stands at RheinEnergieStadion.

A number of the players’ friends and family were seated in the same area and were hit as drinks flew around the section in reaction to another dour display from England – who topped Group C with five points but managed just two goals in the process.

England’s Adam Wharton with family following the match in Cologne
England’s Adam Wharton with family following the match in Cologne (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Asked if the squad had spoken about Southgate being targeted, Aston Villa defender Konsa replied: “We haven’t spoken about it.

“We were aware of it because I think some of our family members got hit with a few drinks. We were aware but we haven’t spoken about it as players.

“We check on them. There’s kids in the stands with family so we always have to check on them, reassure them and ask if they’re all right.

“We know that in football stuff like that happen. We try not to think about it too much so we move on.

“My brother was hit, a few others. But we haven’t spoken about it too much and there’s not much we can do about it.

“I spoke to him after, I asked him and how he was and he said he was fine. It was to the right (of the stadium), it wasn’t directly behind the goal, but it was coming from all angles.”

Konsa has yet to appear in Germany having made the cut for Southgate’s 26-man squad.

The 26-year-old, though, has been playing a pivotal role in keeping spirits up as England now prepare for their last-16 game against Slovakia in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday.

“I just try to keep the spirits as high as possible,” he said.

England’s Ezri Konsa (right) speaks to team-mate Bukayo Saka during a training session at the Ernst-Abbe-Sportfeld in Jena

“We have a big game on Sunday so it is important to make the players feel happy – that’s what I try to do.

“It’s just how I am, no matter where I am, club or country. I’m always just the joker.”

Konsa, though, will be all business should he make his tournament bow against Slovakia, insisting he would be more than ready to step in at left-back should Southgate be unable to call upon Luke Shaw or Kieran Trippier.

“I’ve given it a go,” he said of playing on the left.

“At Charlton I played there a couple of times – but then I played at left-back, right-back, centre-back, all across the back four. I’m more than happy to do it. Obviously left-back is a bit different, but wherever the gaffer wants to put me I’ll try my best and give it my all.

“It’s also important that as a player, in modern football – like with Manchester City, you see the centre-halves play left-back, right-back and it’s something that is happening more and more often. For me it’s something I’ve done my whole career and I’m happy to do it.”

It is not just Konsa keeping his team-mates entertained as he admitted he hosts nightly Love Island viewings in camp after the squad have watched the other Euro 2024 fixtures.

BBC handout photo of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during their BBC Head-to-head debate in Nottingham
BBC handout photo of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during their BBC head-to-head debate in Nottingham (Jeff Overs/BBC)

One thing that has yet to make it onto the television screens at the England base are the General Election debates.

The players, however, will be able to vote on July 4 should they still be in Germany preparing for a quarter-final against Italy or Switzerland.

The PA news agency understands the Football Association contacted players’ representatives to instruct them on how to apply to vote by post or proxy – although the FA has not put pressure on their players to vote.