The Serbia international took to the field on Saturday afternoon without a poppy on his shirt
Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic has explained why he took to the field on Saturday afternoon without a poppy on his shirt.
Matic, the Serbia midfielder, was seen playing against Bournemouth with no poppy on display in the buildup to Armistice Day.
It is the first time Matic has not worn a poppy since moving to English football, with the 30-year-old displaying one around November 11 in his previous seasons in the Premier League.
Matic has since come out to explain his decision, releasing a statement on Instagram to confirm he no longer ‘feels it is right’ to wear a poppy.
He wrote: “I recognise fully why people wear poppies, I totally respect everyone’s right to do so and I have total sympathy for anyone who has lost loved ones due to conflict.
“However, for me it is only a reminder of an attack that I felt personally as a young, frightened 12-year old boy living in Vrelo, as my country was devastated by the bombing of Serbia in 1999. Whilst I have done so previously, on reflection I now don’t feel it is right for me to wear the poppy on my shirt.
“I do not want to undermine the poppy as a symbol of pride within Britain or offend anyone, however, we are all a product of our own upbringing and this is a personal choice for the reasons outlined.
“I hope everyone understands my reasons now that I have explained them and I can concentrate on helping the team in the games that lie ahead.”
Matic was not the only player to not wear a poppy over the weekend’s fixtures, with James McClean, the Stoke winger, suffering abuse from both Middlesbrough fans and some of his club’s own support for continuing to refuse to display one.
Comments made by McClean on Instagram are to be investigated by the Football Association and Stoke, with the player branding his critics ‘uneducated cavemen’ in a foul-mouthed tirade.