‘I feel like I let you down’: Gary Neville apologises to Raheem Sterling for ‘inadequate’ advice in private meeting they shared at Euro 2016 after Man City star approached then-England assistant amid targeted racist abuse
- Gary Neville apologised to Raheem Sterling after a meeting at Euro 2016
- The Manchester City star approached Neville after being subject to racial abuse
- Neville was part of the England set-up at the time of the racial abuse
- The former Man United defender said he ‘let him down’ with ‘inadequate advice’
Gary Neville admitted that he let Raheem Sterling down after the two had a meeting at Euro 2016 to discuss racial abuse that the winger was receiving.
The former Manchester United defender, who was part of the England coaching set-up at the time, revealed that he was ‘totally inappropriate’ during the meeting as he implied that former England stars David Beckham, Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney had all suffered abuse of their own.
The Sky Sports pundit said he did not treat the situation in the correct way, in light of the Black Lives Matter campaigning across the globe.
Gary Neville apologised to Raheem Sterling after they discussed a meeting at Euro 2016
Sterling approached Neville after he was the target of racial abuse and wanted advice
Neville was part of the England coaching set-up at Euro 2016 when Sterling approached him
‘When I look back on that meeting now and the words I used, I feel like I let you down,’ Neville explained to the Manchester City winger.
‘I feel like my primary thought was about how other players had suffered abuse, whether it be Paul Gascoigne or David Beckham or Wayne Rooney, but I now recognise and feel like that was totally inappropriate. I failed to recognise the personal side.
‘Those players were receiving abuse for football errors or football performances. You were receiving targeted abuse that was constant before a ball had been kicked at the tournament. I do feel like in that moment, the response that I gave you was inadequate, and I feel sorry for that.’
Premier League clubs and players have showcased their support for the Black Lives Matter campaigning across the world, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd.
Every Premier League player will have the name on the back of their shirt swapped out for ‘Black Lives Matter’ for the opening round of matches
Premier League clubs have shown their support for the Black Lives Matter movement
Sterling spoke out on the protesting, as he applauded those who are aiming to make ‘changes to society’.
‘I feel everyone is tired a lot of people have been screaming for help,’ Sterling explained to Neville.
‘I think with the protesting with what has happened in America transferring to the UK. People are using this moment to get answers and changes to society.
‘I am not someone with the most ideas or know what to do, we just have to highlight these things that people are experiencing in everyday life and that is what I am trying to replicate.’
Sterling, who has often spoken out about racist abuse, supports Black Lives Matter protesting
Neville, who is a part owner in League Two Salford City, continued to explain that he feels he could do more to speak out on racism and that he does not consider himself to be a leader because of his silence in the past.
‘I think it has to happen now,’ Neville explained. ‘We don’t do enough at Salford City. Myself and Jamie were seen as leaders at Man U and Liverpool, but you never heard a word from us on racism throughout our whole football careers while we were playing. That’s not leadership.’
‘I reflect upon that conversation I had with Raheem and Salford City in this last 12-18 months or the four years of our ownership, we don’t do anywhere near enough and now is the time to stop talking and we have to be judged as leaders.
‘Micky has just talked about there about the idea that he doesn’t have an opportunity because of the postcode and where he was born and the colour of his skin.
‘That is ridiculous, in this country, we talk about opportunity but it depends upon where you live, your postcode, whether you get a good or bad education, how you’re treated, the job that you get, that is just ridiculous.’
Neville said that he has not spoken out on racism before and does not consider himself a leader
Neville, who is a part owner of Salford City, said his club could do more to address the issue
Sterling came under fire from some football fans for a tattoo that he revealed during the 2017/18 season.
The tattoo depicted a gun on his leg and despite it being there for everyone to see during the football season, he came under much criticism in the build-up to the 2018 World Cup.
Recalling the World Cup in Russia, he added: ‘It was my second tournament, I didn’t understand myself what was going on, only until 2018 World Cup I had the same thing about my tattoo, which I had done in September and had played a whole season of football and training session where it was revealed.
Sterling implied that the only reason he received so much backlash from the tattoo was due to his skin colour.
Sterling said that the backlash he had from his gun tattoo was due to his skin colour
He continued: ‘But they wait until 3-4 weeks before before the biggest tournament for our country, I then understood it is not about my tattoo, it is much bigger than this, I took it upon myself to realise it was a bit of discrimination going on here.
Sterling is set to return back to action on Wednesday evening as the Premier League’s Project Restart gets underway.
Second-placed Manchester City host Arsenal on the opening night, after Aston Villa and Sheffield United begin the evening’s action.
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