Taking the knee has lost its impact – Wales and Leeds forward Tyler Roberts

Phil Blanche, PA
·2-min read

Tyler Roberts feels taking the knee has lost its impact ahead of Wales’ opening 2022 World Cup qualifier in Belgium.

It has not yet been decided whether Wales’ players will continue to take the knee for this week’s World Cup qualifiers against Belgium and the Czech Republic and the Cardiff friendly with Mexico.

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha recently became the first Premier League player not to make the gesture since Project Restart in June.

Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Wilfried Zaha stands while players take a knee prior to the Crystal Palace-West Brom game earlier this month (Mike Hewitt/PA)

Zaha said the action had “just become a part of the pre-match routine” and failed to prevent black players from receiving abuse on social media platforms.

“It is a great thing that brings all the players together and the football world should be proud of that,” Leeds forward Roberts said ahead of Wales’ trip to Leuven.

“But it is not doing too much when you see the social media abuse that has been going on the past weeks and months. I feel it has lost its impact.

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“It is concerning as it is too easy for these people to create these accounts to send abusive comments and get away with it.

“It is something that needs to happen a lot higher up.”

Roberts has started the last six games for Leeds in a number 10 role behind Patrick Bamford.

The 22-year-old has shown some impressive form since Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa placed his faith in him with a starting role.

But the 11-times capped Roberts has yet to score in the Premier League, and he said: “That’s something I know I need to add to my game.

“I need to get into more positions to score those goals.

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“It’s been frustrating, not scoring yet. I’ve been hard on myself for not scoring but I have faith it will happen.”

With skipper Gareth Bale and Daniel James expected to fill the wide positions, Roberts would appear to be challenging Cardiff striker Kieffer Moore for a place in Wales’ front three.

“Any position I can get minutes in I’m easy,” Roberts said. “Thinking of the future I see myself as a number nine and prefer playing nine.

“Number 10 is a position I’ve kind of learned and had to study over the last few years. But I’m comfortable playing there.”