England centre back Tyrone Mings is confused at British home secretary Priti Patel's lack of support for the players taking the knee in protest against racism.
The kneeling gesture became known worldwide through the Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd, and England's players continue to do so before every game.
After a full Premier League season where footballers have taken the knee before matches, England's players chose to extend their protest in Euro 2020. It has been met with boos from sections of the crowd since they returned to action and there have been mixed views from within Government.
- Two shots & no assists in six games: Should Sancho's slow start to Man Utd life be a concern?
- USWNT star Press joins Biles and Osaka on growing list of athletes prioritizing mental health
- James McAtee: Man City's 'Salford Silva' who turned his back on Man Utd
- Back from the brink! 'Liverpool legend' Origi still fighting for Anfield career
What did the England defender say?
"To the Home Secretary, I don't really have a direct message," Mings said ahead of his side's match with Scotland. "I mean we spoke, actually she invited me onto a Zoom call once, where she seemed interested and engrossed in the players' point of view and what we could do more to tackle these sort of issues.
"At the same time, everybody is entitled to their own opinion and the home secretary is one of many, many people that oppose us taking the knee or refuse to defend it.
"So, we have our own set of beliefs and what we think we can do to help and there will be players that can be influential and can stand up for what we believe in. Understandably, when you have such strong beliefs there will be opposition to that.
"We spoke about it a lot, we spoke about trying to educate or trying to inform the minority who refuse to acknowledge why we're taking the knee and want to do it.
"At the same time, at Wembley, there was a hugely positive reaction to us taking the knee as well and I don't think that should be overshadowed by the minority that refuses to accept what the reasons are or don't agree with them."
What is the Government view?
“I just don't support people participating in that type of gesture politics,” Patel told GB News. She went onto say it was “all well to support a cause and make your voices heard”, but with regards to the BLM protests that have taken place in the UK, “the impact on policing was devastating”.
She said: “I just don't subscribe to this view that we should be rewriting our history – pulling down statues, the famous Colston statue [the Bristol-based slave trader], and what's happened there.
“Toppling statues is not the answer: it's about learning from our past, learning from our history and actually working together to drive the right outcome.”
Can we talk about football now?
Mings was one of the top performers in England's 1-0 win over Croatia to open their campaign in the European Championship, although many expect he will be dropped soon with Manchester United defender Harry Maguire nearing fitness.
Mings isn't concerned at the prospect of losing out, and said: "Harry is a fantastic defender with a lot of credit in the bank.
"At the same time there is absolutely competition for places and I think he's somebody that I look up to in terms of a centre back and somebody that is so consistent with a lot of pressure on his shoulders being captain of Man Utd and being one of the main players for England.
"He’s a person I take a lot of inspiration from. So to be mentioned in the same breath of as he is a compliment in itself."