Gareth Southgate worried about behaviour of England fans ahead of Nations League trips to Germany and Hungary

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 (Getty Images)
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Gareth Southgate has admitted he is concerned by the behaviour of England supporters in next month’s Nations League matches but fears any plea for fans act responsibly will fall on deaf ears.

The end of the domestic season has been marred by a number of instances of supporter trouble, with players and managers assaulted by pitch-invaders.

Southgate’s side face Hungary in Budapest behind closed doors on June 4 but their visit to rivals Germany three days later will be England fans’ first away trip post-pandemic.

Their subsequent home game against Italy at Molineux will also be played without fans as a punishment for the supporter chaos which marred the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley.

Southgate says the current trouble is a reflection of “where we are as a country” rather than a problem unique to the game but admitted he is worried about next month’s fixtures.

“It is a concern. There’s clearly a responsibility within football because when it is in our environment, we have got to do all we can to try and make sure it doesn’t happen,” the England manager said. “I think we all recognise that.

“But it’s a wider problem. It is behaviour and a reflection on where we are as a country at the moment. It is a difficult time for people, we are going to have more difficult times because of the economy and the realities of the situation we are in. But we have to look at what we’re doing in terms of parenting, everything really.

“What are the expectations? How do we want to be viewed as country? Because that’s manifesting itself in football at the moment and that’s not a good look.

“We don’t want to go back to fences up and the type of environment that created. The game has been more inclusive over the last 20 years, a better place for families and women to attend, a completely more diverse audience.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“So I’m really positive we don’t want to step back. But football reflects society so it would be easy for some people to just put it on football, but that’s not the reality of it. I repeat: football has got a responsibility, we have to do our bit and we have to get that right. But what happened here before our final, that wasn’t just football supporters. That was people unable to behave, unable to control themselves when consuming alcohol so there are many, many broader parts to it.”

Asked if he had a message for travelling supporters heading to Munich next month, Southgate said he feared any plea to behave would have little impact.

“I doubt they’d listen to it really because we are always giving those messages but frankly if people are going to cause trouble, it is not going to make a jot of difference what I say about it,” he said.

“We’re representing the country, so is everybody that travels. We should be good ambassadors for our country and leave a good impression. Thousands of football fans every year do that and are welcomed back and are greeted warmly by people all around Europe when they travel.

“So, I think everybody that leaves this country, goes on holiday or goes to watch football matches has that same opportunity and responsibility.”

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