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  1. ITV Report

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling: I want to defeat racism on the pitch

Better than walking off the pitch in response to racism would be to win the match, Sterling said. Credit: PA

Raheem Sterling says the best response to suffering racism on the pitch is to win the match.

The Manchester City forward has become a public figurehead in recent months to raise awareness of discrimination in the sport but feels his actions will not lead to change.

Walking off the pitch when subjected to abuse has been suggested as an answer to players suffering discrimination during matches but Sterling feels the best course of action is to defeat the opposition.

He said: "I wouldn't personally agree with it [walking off], to win the game would hurt them even more, they're only trying to get you down.

"If you walk off they win, to score or win would be better."

Sterling has brought the issue of racism in football to the forefront this season but he feels he cannot solve the problems.

The England international was speaking after a weekend where more cases of alleged racism have been reported. Players from Wigan, Derby and Northampton were allegedly abused in recent days.

Sterling said: "I don't think I can make a difference. It's something that happened before I was born and before my parents were born.

"As much as I can do is raise awareness."

Sterling and his teammates were subjected to alleged racist abuse during England's recent European Championship qualifier in Montenegro.

Colleague Danny Rose said last week that he "can't wait to see the back" of football because of the lack of action on fans' racism.

Danny Rose says he is looking forward to leaving football. Credit: PA

The two will face each other on Tuesday night when Tottenham host Manchester City in the Champions League, Sterling said of Rose's comments: "I think it's something he's come across a number of times. I respect his comments and it's a shame to hear that."

Pep Guardiola, Sterling's club manager, believes racism is a problem within wider society but feels his player can deal with the issues he's faced.

"I think he can handle it, he handles it well. Unfortunately it is a society problem for sure, I've never understood why," Guardiola said. "Raheem didn’t choose the colour of his skin, nobody chooses it, so it’s always difficult to understand that in the 21st century we are still debating this.

"We have to fight every day to eradicate it and make a better society. I never chose the colour of my skin, it’s ridiculous that right now we are talking about it and that it happened all we can do is fight every day."

Pep Guardiola says society needs to eradicate racism. Credit: PA

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said regarding Rose: "I think it's a very delicate situation, it's not easy. It's a very personal situation, how you feel, your emotion and how you can manage your emotion.

"We are here trying to help everyone. It's a thing we are of course fighting all together to try to stop.

"We need to stop it not only in football but in all different areas and situations.

"Danny and (Raheem) Sterling, we are very sorry for them but they have the capacity, they are famous people, they have the (platform to speak out).

"How many people outside cannot say anything, but only go home and cry? That is a thing that I hate and I will do everything in my power to try to stop."

Tottenham's Son Heung-min says he has also witnessed racism since arriving in England from Bayer Leverkusen.

"You know, racism we are talking abut a few times, and I've seen racism as well since I've been playing in England," Son said.

"I think the best reaction is don't react with anything. That is the best way. We are playing football as a human. It doesn't matter which country you come from, which person you are. It doesn't matter.

"We are playing football. That is the important thing. You protect the players who receive racism and fight it all together."