Gareth Southgate says England will 'show respect' for Westminster terror attack victims

Rhodri Cannon
Gareth Southgate

England boss Gareth Southgate believes his side's game against Lithuania is a great chance to show respect to those affected by the Westminster terror incident and is expecting a "poignant" tribute for the people who lost their lives during the depraved attack.

Four people were killed during the attack outside the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday (23 March), including the assailant Khalid Masood, who was shot dead by armed police officers. Masoon's fifth victim, an unidentified 75 year-old man, was left fatally injured and died the next day.

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Southgate and England left-back Ryan Bertrand touched upon the delicate matter during the press conference before the Lithuania clash, and the former said the match is a great opportunity to show that Britain can "go on" and stand strong in the face of horrific acts such as the one on Wednesday (22 March).

"We know how important the national football team is for the feeling of the nation and it's a great opportunity for everybody to show their respect at that moment and show that, as a country, we go on," Southgate said in a press conference. "Not only London but the country as a whole. I thought the tribute before the France game was really poignant and I'm sure tomorrow will be the same."

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Southampton defender Bertrand echoed Southgate's sentiments: "We were away at the time but I managed to see through social media how strong we were as a country and as a city. The whole of London was coming together."

Southgate, who also confirmed that Joe Hart will captain England against Lithuania on Sunday, wants his players to show their respects to the victims of the attack and has also called on his country's supporters to behave in the appropriate manner.

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Sections of the Three Lions support were singing "inappropriate, disrespectful and disappointing" chants against Germany, according to FA chief Greg Clarke, and Southgate does not want the "unacceptable" behaviour to be repeated during his side's World Cup qualifier.

"Supporters represent the country when they go away and the majority do that. Unfortunately, some were chanting things the other night that were unacceptable – but we'd prefer to focus on those that support us well. It's a sell-out crowd tomorrow and we're grateful for that support."

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