England stars told it’s “very important and powerful” to continue taking knee

England players have been told it’s “very important and powerful” for them to continue to take the knee.

Senior players called a team meeting to discuss the matter having had reassurances from FIFA they will not face any sanctions for taking the anti-racism protest in their World Cup qualifiers with San Marino, Albania and Poland.

They are understood to be overwhelmingly in favour with Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings among those who are most outspoken in support of taking the stance.

His view was echoed by his Villa team mate Ollie Watkins who says he feels strongly they should carry on doing it despite some players voicing concerns with Crystal Palace ’s Wilfried Zaha having decided not to do it any longer as he says it has lost its impact.

Watkins has stressed the importance of continuing to take the knee

England new boy Ollie Watkins said: “We are all going to be together and have a collective group decision on what we do. But I feel like we should carry on doing what we are doing. Take the knee.

“People are talking about it and as far as I am aware that is good enough for me. As long as people are still talking about it and remember how powerful it is then we should keep doing it.

“I think everyone has their own different opinions. Like Tyrone (Mings) said, and delivered really well, I think it is important that we keep doing it.

“I know it is a very touchy subject and I think it is a very powerful message that people are still talking about it. It reminds people why we are doing it.”

Watkins has benefitted from his England call-up as he says he has already turned to captain Harry Kane for advice on fitness and conditioning as he looks to improve his own game.

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Watkins added: “I just asked how he works on a day to day basis so you know what, how does he prepare for a training session and just more details like that because you’re getting advice like that you can try and take into your game.

“II think I just try and take small percentages from everywhere and put them together and hopefully they, they add up eventually.”

Watkins came from the lower league route, starting as an youth team player at Exeter, then getting farmed out on loan to non-league Weston Super Mare and making his mark at Brentford and now a prolific Premier League striker.

But Watkins insisted he never gave up and added: “You need to have that self belief. There were times when I was at York away sat in the stands thinking ‘ah get me on the pitch’ playing in reserve games. But it only takes one injury and you are in the squad.

“Then if you take your chance, I think you find your feet, you can become a regular. That’s what happened for me. I took my chance played well and ended up moving to Brentford and it went up from there. Just keep believing and work hard.”

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