Footballers in England also start every World Cup game with a kneeling against racism. Gareth Southgate, the national team coach, together with the players, decided to make this “strong” statement in Qatar, after his team had already done so at last year’s European Championship.
“We’ve discussed it and we think we have to do it,” Southgate told a news conference. “This is what we stand for as a team. This is the biggest stage.”
It was also announced that England would start the World Cup on Monday without James Maddison and Kyle Walker. The Leicester City midfielder and Manchester City defender are no longer fit enough to play due to injuries. England will play Iran on Monday at 2pm.
Maddison was the only one of the 26 players not to take part in training on Sunday. The 25-year-old midfielder also did not train with the group in recent days due to the knee injury he picked up in the last tournament match before the World Cup. Maddison played his only cap in three years, but has now been recalled by Southgate due to his fine season at Leicester.
Earlier, injured England defenders Reece James and Ben Chilwell had to miss the World Cup. England will play the United States and Wales in the group stage.
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