Gareth Southgate confirms England will take knee before Qatar World Cup opener with Iran – ‘We feel we should’

Gareth Southgate has confirmed that England will take the knee before the start of their World Cup opener against Iran on Monday.

England had opted not to do so in the recent Nations League, but Southgate feels it is important his players make the inclusivity gesture at the Qatar tournament.

Three Lions captain Harry Kane will also wear a One Love armband promoting inclusivity and LGBTQ+ rights.

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“We have discussed taking the knee,” Southgate said. “We feel we should. It’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long period of time.

“Of course, we understand in the Premier League that clubs have decided to only do that for certain games, big occasions, we feel this is the biggest.

“We think it is a strong statement to go around the world for young people in particular to see that inclusivity is very important.”

It was decided by Premier League captains ahead of the start of the 2022/23 season to use specific moments to take the knee rather than making the gesture at every match.

Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England, talks to the media during the England Press Conference at the Main Media Center on November 20, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Image credit: Getty Images

In regards to the composition of his team against Carlos Queiroz’s Iran, Southgate confirmed that defender Kyle Walker and midfielder James Maddison will both miss England’s opening match, which takes place at Khalifa International Stadium.

“Kyle Walker is a little bit short for this game but is progressing really well. We are ahead of where we thought he might be at this point,” Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“James hasn’t been able to train since we arrived so he will not be able to make the game tomorrow.”

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To celebrate the 2022 World Cup, we have launched our new bracket game, where you can give your predictions, challenge friends and create mini-leagues.

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