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Gareth Southgate ahead of Hungary match: ‘We’ve had our own racism issues at home so are not focused on other countries’

Gareth Southgate ahead of Hungary match: 'We've had our own racism issues at home so are not focused on other countries'

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Gareth Southgate responded to journalists to say that it is wrong to discuss hypothetical incidents of future racist abuse ahead of Thursday’s match in Hungary.

The Hungarian national team have been sanctioned by UEFA for racist and homophobic abuse from fans during Euro 2020 and will have to play their next three UEFA matches behind closed doors.

But that punishment does not extend to matches in FIFA competitions, so there is expected to be a full crowd of 60,000 people at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium when England and Hungary take to the field.

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When asked whether he has prepared the team for potential abuse they might face, Southgate said yes but refused to be drawn further, instead inferencing the racist abuse that England players received from within their own country during the summer.

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“We always prepare the team for everything really and we’ve done that this week,” Southgate said.

“But we know we’ve had our own issues at home so we are not really focused on other countries, we are focused on ourselves and making sure we get our own things correct.”

England’s game against Bulgaria two years ago was twice halted due to racist abuse directed at the players.

And Southgate would again not be drawn on whether the team would walk off on this occasion if subjected to similar treatment from the supporters.

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“I don’t think we should speak hypothetically. We know the experience we had before, but we’re going to Hungary preparing for a game against a crowd that will get behind their team and we’re looking forward to the challenge of the match. Everything else is speculation really.”

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