England star praised for ‘hiding’ controversial flag on new kit | Football

Harvey Elliott appeared to hide the St Seorge’s cross on his England kit (Picture: Getty)

Joey Barton has praised England Under-21 star Harvey Elliott for appearing to obscure the controversial St George’s cross which has overshadowed the launch of the new Three Lions kit.

The Nike manufactured strip, which will cost fans up to £125 for an ‘authentic’ version, was released earlier this week, but initial praise for the new design has given way to fierce criticism from fans, former players and politicians.

The FA stood by the controversial design of the new kit and said it was ‘very proud’ of the red and white St George’s Cross but gave its support to the new look.

‘The new England 2024 home kit has a number of design elements which were meant as a tribute to the 1966 World Cup-winning team,’ a spokesperson said.

‘The coloured trim on the cuffs is inspired by the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes and the same colours also feature on the design on the back of the collar. It is not the first time that different coloured St George’s Cross-inspired designs have been used on England shirts.

‘We are very proud of the red and white St George’s Cross – the England flag. We understand what it means to our fans and how it unites and inspires and it will be displayed prominently at Wembley tomorrow – as it always is – when England play Brazil.’

Even the Prime Minister was drawn into the controversy and was asked about the kit design on a visit to Derbyshire on Friday.

Harvey Elliott scored twice in England Under-21s win over Azerbaijan

Harvey Elliott scored twice in England Under-21s win over Azerbaijan (Picture: Getty)

England's new Nike kit for Euro 2024

England’s new Nike kit will make its debut against Brazil at Wembley (Picture: Nike)

‘Obviously I prefer the original and my general view is that when it comes to our national flags, we shouldn’t mess with them,’ Sunak said. ‘Because they are a source of pride, identity, who we are and they’re perfect as they are.’

The senior men’s team will wear the strip for the first time this evening against Brazil at Wembley, but their Under-21 counterparts gave it its first airing in their match against Azerbaijan in their European Championship qualifier.

Elliott, who scored twice in a 5-1 win, appeared to have deliberately obscured the flagby using his collar to hide multicoloured cross, much to the approval of Barton who has been leading the calls for Nike and the FA to recall the kit.

Harry Kane models England's new home shirt for Euro 2024

Harry Kane models England’s new home shirt for Euro 2024 (Nike)

Bukayo Saka models England's new away shirt for Euro 2024

Bukayo Saka models England’s new away shirt for Euro 2024 (Nike)

‘Proper kid,’ the former England international wrote on X. ‘Knows how disrespectful that Woke nonsense is. Well done Harvey.’

Barton, meanwhile, also questioned Gareth Southgate’s decision to leave Elliott out of his senior squad and instead parachute Manchester United teenager Kobbie Mainoo straight into the senior set-up.

‘How is Mainoo in the full squad before Elliot?’ he added.
’14 starts. Came off the park in 10 of them. Good player the kid but not better than HE.

‘Accelerated to full squad, which is Southgate trying to curry favour with United fans and their new board.

‘Embarrassing. Onto you Gareth. Pick on merit. Not future job prospects.

‘Weak men, win *** all. Get a proper leader in. Can’t have pizza advert nugget leading as the general. Can’t ever be forgot that. He’ll always find a way to lose.

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