Marcus Rashford thanks Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov for showing ‘courage’ by responding to racist chants


The England forward says that racism needs “stamping out” in the wake of a number of incidents on Monday

Marcus Rashford praised Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov for standing up to home supporters in the aftermath of a number of racist incidents during England’s Euro 2020 qualifying win in Bulgaria.

The Manchester United forward started and played 76 minutes in Englands 6-0 victory, one marred by racism from the home fans.

The match was temporarily stopped twice in the first half by the match referee following abuse from the stands with England 2-0 up at the time through goals from Rashford and Ross Barkley.

A large group of fans wearing black hoodies with their faces covered were also pictured giving the middle finger and gesturing with Nazi salutes towards the pitch.

Gareth Southgate continued to voice his displeasure to the match official in the lead up to half-time when Bulgaria captain Popov went to the sidelines to speak with fans.

Rashford was quick to praise Popov’s role in trying to prevent further situations, but the England forward also says that he still finds it hard to believe that racist incidents continue to mar matches in 2019.

“Not an easy situation to play in and not one which should be happening in 2019. Proud we rose above it to take three points but this needs stamping out,” Rashford said.

“Thankful to the brilliant England support. You got behind us in the most meaningful way possible tonight and we are all very grateful. Have a safe journey home and take care.

“Also been told what the Bulgaria captain did at half-time. To stand alone and do the right thing takes courage and acts like that shouldn’t go unnoticed.”

England went on to cruise to a six-goal victory, with Barkley and Raheem Sterling netting braces while Rashford and Harry Kane also found the back of the net.

Despite the victory, England have not yet qualified for Euro 2020 due to Kosovo’s 2-0 win over Montenegro.

England are set to play host to Montenegro in the next round of Euro 2020 qualifiers before facing Kosovo in their final match.

The Three Lions currently sit atop the group with 15 points with the Czech Republic on 12 and Kosovo on 11 with two matches remaining.




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