Former Stoke City striker Peter Crouch has opened up on the abuse suffered by ex-teammate James McClean outlining that he “took a hell of a lot of stick” from the terraces.
McClean has come under fire from many fans over the years for his refusal to wear the poppy for Remembrance Day commemorations and must constantly defend himself over his reasoning behind his decision.
Crouch played with McClean during the beginning of the 2018/2019 season at Stoke and speaking to RTE 1’s Today Show with Sean O’Rourke, the former England striker opened up on the subject of his ex-teammate’s abuse.
“[James] took a hell of a lot of stick,” he began.
“That’s his beliefs and I suppose you’ve got to respect that.
“Being an Englishman myself, obviously, I’m happy to wear it and I wear it with pride but people are from different backgrounds.
“People are quick to judge and I think you can’t judge someone if you don’t know their situation. James has got his beliefs and I know we always respected it as players in the dressing room.”
Racism and abuse has disappointingly been hitting the headlines of late after England were subjected to chanting during their victory over Bulgaria last week.
The game was stopped twice with England’s players and management threatening to walk off the pitch.
Crouch was asked about the similarities between that and the abuse suffered by McClean and whether or not fans will “extend the tolerance” towards the Irish midfielder when Remembrance Day comes around.
“Perhaps, like we say, with the racism, I can only go by what I’ve been accustomed to, there has been racism in those countries, Bulgaria being one on them, I saw it and U18 and U21 level.
“It’s got to be stamped out, it needs to be addressed. I thought they dealt with it magnificently well.
“Like I say, people have their beliefs but that’s not a belief that should be tolerated at all.
“James McClean’s is an entirely different matter.”