AND goalkeeper Joe Hart insists the team will not react to racial abuse by abandoning matches at the European Championship unless a referee instructs them to do so.
Michel Platini, President of European football’s governing body Uefa, has already confirmed that any player that chooses to leave the pitch without the referee’s consent will be booked – even if they have been subjected to racism – and Hart is adamant England will not be tempted to rebel, admitting the squad trusts the authorities to deal with any potential issues.
“Our advice is to get on with it and see how the referee and Uefa deal with it,” said Hart. “It’s not for us to do. Hopefully the referee and Uefa will take it into their own hands if that problem does occur.
“Fingers crossed we won’t have to deal with anything like that. It’s down to the referee. We can’t take rules into our own hands. If the referee feels it’s right for us to walk off then we’ll follow.”
Hart was England’s third-choice goalkeeper during their woeful 2010 World Cup in South Africa but is now a key player and believes that, though expectations are low following several disappointing campaigns during which England have failed to fulfill their potential, they are now genuinely capable of success.
“We’re all hungry guys,” he added. “We want success. We have high expectations otherwise there’s no point us being here. We’ve come to win, we’ve come to do well, we’ve come to represent our country, and we want to make people proud.”
Striker Jermain Defoe, meanwhile, has returned home following the death of his father, though a replacement will not be called up as it is expected he will return. England face France in Donetsk on Monday.