England hero Marcus Rashford praises Scotland team for taking a knee

England hero Marcus Rashford says Scotland’s decision to join his side in taking a knee can have “a big influence on people around the world”.

The striker said: “I think it’s an important message.”

Both nations will take a knee prior to kick-off at tomorrow night’s crucial Euro 2020 clash at Wembley.

Captain Andy Robertson’s team will take the knee on Friday

Scotland’s team and their entire staff stood together against racism before Monday’s game against Czech Republic.

But in London, they will join their opponents in kneeling.

Captain Andy Robertson confirmed last week players would “kneel against ignorance and in solidarity”.

When asked about the importance of Scotland’s decision as a symbol of unity, Rashford said: “Yes I think it’s an important message.

“We spoke about it in camp and we recognise it is a very important message.

“If you want to spread important messages then there is no better place to do it than on the biggest stage.

“That’s why we have continued to take the knee. So them [Scotland] taking the knee is going to be a good thing and there’s more of us spreading the correct message.

“So, hopefully, it has a big influence on people around the world.”

It comes after controversy about Scotland’s stance on taking the knee after they announced last week that they would be “taking a stand” against racism instead.

The decision caused controversy with celebrities and politicians slamming the choice not to kneel ahead of the games.

But days later manager Steve Clarke and captain Andy Robertson put out a statement saying they had reversed their decision to show solidarity with their fellow pros on the other side of the border.

It meant Scotland players would now kneel with England for the game at Wembley and stand up to racism for the Croatia and Czech Republic matches at Hampden.

Announcing the u-turn, Clarke said: “For the avoidance of doubt: me, my coaching staff, my players and my backroom team take a stand against racism and all forms of unacceptable and discriminatory behaviour across society.

“We do so to raise awareness of the ongoing problem but also as a reminder to those who have the ultimate power and responsibility to implement meaningful change.”

The move was welcomed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who called it a “good decision”.

Politicians who had previously criticised the decision not to kneel at any of the three matches included Labour MSP Paul Sweeney who had said: “Standing is not an act of solidarity in any credible sense.

“It will actually communicate a problematic message on an international stage, especially in contrast to the moral courage shown by young black players in the England squad. I hope the Scotland squad will reconsider this.”

And Livingston SNP MP Hannah Bardell wrote: “A disappointing and misguided decision.

“Taking the knee is very clearly the act that shows solidarity to unite against racism.”

Taking the knee in sport began in 2016 when American footballer Colin Kaepernick did it during the national anthem before a match.

He said he could not stand to show pride in the flag of a country that oppressed black people.

The anti-racist statement has since become a prominent symbol in sport and during protests.

It has been a feature of Black Lives Matter protests, including those following the murder of George Floyd last year.

But some have questioned if it has now lost its meaning and impact and have called for new ways to state opposition to racism.

Small sections of the England support are against the move and have booed their players.

Manager Gareth Southgate said the team’s actions were not in support of the Black Lives Matter organisation.

He has said: “We have got a situation where some people seem to think it is a political stand that they don’t agree with. That is not the reason the players are doing it. We are supporting each other.”

Euro 2020 organisers Uefa said: “We urge spectators to show respect for teams and players taking the knee.”

It said “any player who wants to demand equality amongst human beings by taking the knee will be allowed to do so”.

The Welsh FA has confirmed its national team will take the knee during Euro 2020.

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