Gareth Southgate confirms England WILL take the knee before kick-off in World Cup opener against Iran after allowing the senior leadership group to make the decision
Sportsmail revealed last month that England’s senior leadership group were undecided on whether they would take the knee in Qatar having been allowed to make the decision by manager Gareth Southgate.
The team opted not to do so in the recent Nations League for the first time in two years, but it now appears that they will restore the gesture for the World Cup.
The England players will take the knee during their World Cup opener against Iran on Monday
Gareth Southgate allowed the player senior leadership group to make the decision
Southgate said at his press conference ahead of his side’s clash against Iran: ‘We’ve discussed taking the knee and we feel we should.
‘It is what we stand for as a team, and we have done for a long period of time. We believe it is a strong statement that will go around the world, for young people in particular to see inclusivity is very important.’
England will be displaying other forms of activism during the Iran game, with captain Harry Kane set to wear a One Love armband promoting inclusivity and LGBTQ+ rights.
Kane could potentially face a fine or even a yellow card before kick off for breaching FIFA’s equipment regulations by wearing the armband.
Harry Kane is expected to wear a One Love wristband during England’s opener
Mark Bullingham, Chief Executive of the FA, has previously said that England are willing to be fined for wearing the armband as it was ‘really important to show our values’ at the World Cup.
England will be looking to get their tournament off to a winning start on Monday when they face Iran at the Khalifa International stadium.
They began their last World Cup in 2018 with a last gasp 2-1 win over Tunisia and improved as the tournament went on, but fans will be hoping for a more convincing display against Iran.
Carlos Queiroz’s side may be a tougher side than some have given them credit for, though, as they currently sit 20th in the FIFA rankings, just one place lower than Wales.