Harry Kane has called on England fans to be united in support of the team after Joe Gomez was jeered by supporters at Wembley on Thursday.
Liverpool defender Gomez, in the wake of his spat with Raheem Sterling on Monday, was booed after being introduced as a substitute during England’s 7-0 victory over Montenegro.
The victory – in the Three Lions’ 1,000th international – sealed qualification for Euro 2020 and featured a hat-trick from captain Kane, but the night was tainted somewhat by the reaction to Gomez.
Manchester City forward Sterling accepted all responsibility for the physical altercation and sat out the Montenegro game as punishment for his actions – later defending Gomez in a Twitter post and telling supporters it was wrong to jeer the 22-year-old.
Kane – who had spoken with manager Gareth Southgate following the fracas and also addressed the squad after the decision to sideline Sterling was taken – said supporters should all get behind the team, no matter where their club allegiances lie.
“I find it really confusing why he was booed,” he said. “I cannot quite figure it out. But I don’t think any player should be booed.
“I know how important club football is with City and Liverpool and all clubs. But at international level, we are all England fans and the bottom line is that Joe is a great guy – one of the nicest guys I have ever met.
“He is a top professional and for him it is about moving on, training and looking at the next game.
“I don’t think any player should be booed so hopefully it won’t happen to Joe or Raheem if they play on Sunday.
“So for me it is about moving on . We did that on the pitch and the talking point should be the 1,000th game, a 7-0 win and qualifying for next year’s Euros.”
Kane admitted it had been a strange week but felt the situation was dealt with positively and, in his role as captain, had spoken to Gomez on a number of occasions.
“I don’t know if it was the hardest week but it was a different week to what I have been used to,” he added.
“In life, in football, as one of the leaders, stuff happens and you have to adapt and control the situation.
“I think we handled it really well. It was a situation obviously none of us wanted to happen. The gaffer spoke to me and a few of the senior players and we made the decision we wanted to make and we did as a group.
“I spoke to him (Gomez) in the dressing room and he seemed fine. It was confusing why it happened but we cannot control the fans or what they do but Joe has a top mentality and is fighting to play on Sunday.
“I was not in the room when it happened. So after it happened I asked him and a few of the players about what went on. I then spoke to Joe privately about how he was feeling.
“Emotions had run high just after it happened so I spoke to Raz and me and a few of the senior players spoke about what we should do.
“Joe and Raz then got together and had a chat and then after that, I spoke to Joe again to see how he was feeling.
“We had a private meeting and I won’t discuss what we said. It is about understanding what went on and why, speaking to both players and trying to control it. I think we all handled it as well as we could have.”
Southgate expressed his disappointment at the booing of Gomez in the immediate aftermath of the victory and later said he would continue to support the former Charlton youngster as he defended the togetherness of his squad.
“You’d have thought that we were a camp that was in absolute disarray and that just isn’t the case,” he said. “I think the performance showed that.
“I think the reaction that Raheem has given with that statement tonight shows that they’re very, very close and we’re hugely disappointed for Joe – he doesn’t deserve that in any way, shape or form.
“I’ll repeat what I said earlier: no England player in an England shirt should be booed.
“Look, it’s for us to pick him up. He’s a young player who’s had a difficult week, and my priority is to support him.
“But I know all of the lads are going to get around him. I just know that’s happening now and will happen over the next few days.”
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