TARGET: Ashley Young
THE SPECTRE of racism overshadowed England’s 3-0 win over Bulgaria last night.
The Football Association says it has reported alleged racist abuse directed towards Ashley Young during a Euro 2012 qualifier in Sofia.
The 26-year-old Manchester United midfielder played an hour of Friday's game before James Milner replaced him.
Another black player, Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, confirmed that his international team mate was abused by fans. "I was aware. It was very clear," said Walcott. "I ignored it, but that is me. I think the FA will deal with that and I don't want to comment. The result tonight was the important thing."
The FA reported the behaviour of a section of home supporters to Uefa. A spokesman said: "We've raised it with the Bulgarian FA and the Uefa delegate. That's all we're saying about it."
While England manager Fabio Capello strangely missed the incidents, his Bulgarian counterpart Lothar Matthaus apologised for the conduct of the minority of his team's fans.
"It is very pitiful for such things to happen," the German said at a post-match press conference. "Because of that I would like to apologise on behalf of the Bulgarian Football Federation."
England players have been abused while playing abroad before. Striker Emile Heskey was previously racially abused while on England duty in Slovakia in 2002, while Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Cole were subjected to monkey chants in a friendly against Spain in Madrid in 2004.