Gareth Southgate makes feelings clear on St George's Cross controversy ahead of England clash with Brazil

Gareth Southgate makes feelings clear on St George's Cross controversy ahead of England clash with Brazil

WATCH NOW: Neil Oliver slams Nike for changing St George's Cross on England shirt

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 23/03/2024

- 06:13

The 53-year-old will oversee tonight's blockbuster clash at Wembley, with the Three Lions hoping to put their South American rivals to the sword

Gareth Southgate has claimed the St George's Cross on the new England shirt isn't the real thing, with the controversy surrounding the new strip continuing to rumble on.

Earlier this week, Nike launched the new England home and away shirts ahead of the European Championships later in the year.

However, Nike have been criticised for tweaking the design of the St George's Cross, with the sportswear giants sparking a huge backlash.

Initially red with a white background, the emblem has been changed to blue and purple colours instead.

England Gareth Southgate St George's Cross

England boss Gareth Southgate has responded to the Nike controversy surrounding the St George's Cross


Southgate has now been asked about the kit controversy ahead of England's exciting showdown with Brazil on Saturday night.

The Three Lions are set to wear the controversial strip for the first time, though the Under-21s did wear the jersey on Friday.

And Southgate has now criticised the flag and insists it isn't the St George's Cross due to being a 'quirky design'.

"I think they can put a quirky design together but you can't say it's the flag of St George because it isn't," he said.

"It's therefore something else.

"The most important thing on the England shirt is the Three Lions.

"That is the thing that is iconic, that differentiates us even from the England rugby team or the England cricket team."

He continued: "I am a huge patriot. I believe we should celebrate St George's Day more than we do.

"But the bit I understand is people don't think we should have changed the flag of St George.

"If it's changed then it isn't the flag of St George! So I'm a little bit lost with that element of it."

Another talking point as the match at Wembley rapidly approaches is Southgate's future in the dugout.

The England boss has been in charge of the national team ever since replacing Sam Allardyce back in 2016.

But with Southgate winning plaudits for the job he's done, talk of a potential move to Manchester United has arisen.

The Red Devils have endured a difficult campaign under Erik ten Hag and, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe now in charge of football operations, it's possible the Dutchman will be axed.

Southgate, per reports, is United's No 1 choice to take over.


Nike England

Nike have defended their decision to alter the St George's Cross on the new England shirt


But the 53-year-old insists he won't have any talks over his future until once the European Championships this summer are out of the way.

"My focus is the European Championship," said Southgate, who previously managed former club Middlesbrough earlier in his career.

"If we did something, a contract here before, everyone would be saying, 'Why are you signing a contract before a Euros where you've got to prove yourself?'.

"I'm certainly not going to speak to anybody else ahead of that. I never have. I've been eight years in the job.

"I wouldn't entertain speaking to anybody else when I'm in a job."

Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate is refusing to give much away about his future ahead of England's blockbuster friendly clash with Brazil tonight


Nike, meanwhile, have defended their amendment to the St George's Cross - insisting they never meant to 'offend'.

"We have been a proud partner of the FA since 2012 and understand the significance and importance of the St George's Cross and it was never our intention to offend, given what it means to England fans," a statement read.

"Together with the FA, the intention was to celebrate the heroes of 1966 and their achievements.

"The trim on the cuffs takes its cues from the training gear worn by England's 1966 heroes, with a gradient of blues and reds topped with purple.

"The same colours also feature an interpretation of the flag on the back of the collar."

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