Ex-England star Luther Blissett says Gareth Southgate 'wrong' on racial abuse

7 June 2022, 16:34

By James Bickerton

Luther Blissett, the first black man to score for the England football team, says Gareth Southgate is wrong to say racist abuse is a "consideration" when choosing penalty takers.

The England manager was discussing the horrendous racial abuse three black England stars received online, after missing penalties at last July's Euro 2020 final.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all targeted by racist trolling after failing to score in England's 3-2 penalty loss to Italy.

In response Mr Southgate said: "We've now got another layer that's going to make it extremely difficult for us to win anything.

"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."

Appearing on Shelagh Fogarty's LBC show, Mr Blissett said it would be "completely wrong" to not let a black player take a penalty for fear of racial abuse.

He explained: "The reason why we play professional sports is for those big moments when they turn up, to stand up and show that you're up for it.

"And to be denied that, for fear or somebody shouting abuse at you because of your skin colour, I'm sorry but I don't like that at all.

"If I'm going to be sidelined let it be because I'm not good enough, and not because of the colour of my skin."

READ MORE: Nick Ferrari says 'only black' England players should take penalties rather than bow to racists

Mr Blissett first played for England in 1982, when he smashed three goals past Luxembourg.

In total he played for the three lions 14 times, during an illustrious career he mainly spent at Watford.

During the interview Mr Blissett explained how he faced racism throughout his career, and once received a bullet in the post after playing for England.

However the star striker was able to use his skill as a footballer to standup to racist hooligans.

He said: "I've gone through all of my career, well the early parts of my career more so, standing up to racism by showing them that whatever they shouted or threw at me, it was never going to stop me achieving my goal.

"To deny somebody that I believe is just completely wrong and I think on this occasion Gareth has got this wrong.

"You can't allow these people to dictate to you how you pick your team and how you run the game."

READ MORE: Mother tells LBC 'systemic racism' in Met 'shattering faith' of black youth