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Shelagh Fogarty argues Southgate shouldn't let racism concern influence penalty picks
7 June 2022, 15:11 | Updated: 7 June 2022, 17:34
Shelagh Fogarty has argued England manager Gareth Southgate shouldn't let fears over racial abuse impact his decision-making over which England players he selects to take penalties.
It comes after comments made by the England manager concerning the Euro 2020 final last July, after which England footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka received racist abuse on social media after missing penalties in a penalty shootout against Italy.
Mr Southgate has said: “When I left The Grove that day [after we lost Italy] I couldn’t help but feel, ‘Have I created this situation here for the boys?’.
“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 them missing would be. I’ve got to pick them on the belief they are going to score.
“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.
“We know that’s ludicrous. We know that’s outrageous to even think about. 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.
“We went through a process of preparing for penalties. We’ve definitely reviewed that.
“Some of the boys have taken more with their clubs. Reece James has, I think, had four in shootouts this year. Trent [Alexander-Arnold] has had two. Bukayo [Saka] has now taken a couple for his club, which were massively courageous moments that epitomised what he’s about.
“But indirectly, we have created another layer of difficulty in overcoming a penalty shootout. I have got to take all of those things into consideration and it is incredibly complex.”
In response to what Mr Southgate had to say, LBC's Nick Ferrari has said: "If I was England manager, I'd only have black lads take the penalties.
"When I ran out of players, I'd take people out of the crowd! You cannot bow down to these racists.
"Those lads gave it their best shot. No one would have been more heartbroken than those three.
"It has nothing to do with their skin colour, you cannot give in."
In response to what Nick had to say, Shelagh said: "It might seem like an extreme suggestion, but it's a lot less extreme than the racism that Gareth Southgate is having to take into account when he chooses who to take a penalty or not.
"That is unfair to the individual players, black players. It's unfair to the game. It's to the team. It's unfair to talent. It's unfair to the kind of practice that goes into these things.
"It's just, I can't see that it's the answer. I can't see that it's the answer.
"And I think Gareth Southgate, who I'm a huge admirer of, he was frank about it. He's doing it in his mind for a good reason - to protect his black players from racist abuse.
"But I think it's mistaken. I think it's mistaken."
Shelagh's words have come as the 2022 World Cup is set to take place in Qatar later this year.
England are in a group with Iran, Wales and the USA.