Ince, Southgate query Campbell racism claims

The former England defender has been accused of harming the drive to tackle the issue.

Former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell believes he would have
Former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell believes he would have "been England captain for more than 10 years" had he been white.

FORMER ENGLAND PLAYERS Paul Ince and Gareth Southgate have added their voices to criticism of Sol Campbell’s claim that he was prevented from captaining his country because he is black.

Campbell, capped 73 times by England, made the claim in his new autobiography, in which he alleged that he would have been national team captain “for more than 10 years” if he had been white.

However, former managers Graham Taylor and Sven Goran Eriksson both dismissed his claim, while David Davies, the Football Association’s executive director during Campbell’s England career, said the allegation was “wrong”.

Ince became the first black player to captain England when he was handed the armband by Taylor in 1993 and he said that the level of competition for the captaincy makes it impossible for any player to lead the team for 10 years.

“There’s been me, (Tony) Adams, (Stuart) Pearce, (David) Seaman, (Alan) Shearer, (John) Terry, (Rio) Ferdinand. That’s a lot of big names with a lot of big egos,” Ince told Tuesday’s Daily Mail.

“Sol’s a clever, articulate man and he’s a friend of mine, but he wouldn’t have been England captain for 10 years — nobody is. He has obviously had different experiences to me as a footballer and I can only really talk about my own.”

Southgate, who played alongside Campbell at international level, said that he would be “amazed” if the colour of a player’s skin had influenced his chances of becoming England captain.

“In terms of the captaincy, I would be amazed if any manager picked somebody for any reason other than that he was considered to be the best leader for the team at that time,” said Southgate, who is the current manager of the England Under-21s.

“I have to say that I don’t ever remember speaking to any manager who had been put under pressure to pick somebody as the captain who they didn’t think should be.”

Former FA chief executive Mark Palios, meanwhile, accused Campbell of harming the drive to tackle racism in the sport.

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“I was flabbergasted when I heard the things Sol had said,” Palios told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“To brand the FA like that is just an example of lazy labelling and he does the case of fighting against racism no favours by saying this.”

- © AFP, 2014

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