England will follow UEFA's racism protocols, assures Southgate

Chelsea's Fikayo Tomori celebrates scoring at Wolves with teammate Tammy Abraham

Every step of the way mates Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham hope to replicate success with Chelsea at England level Credit Reuters

"Harry Kane said that if it happens (racist abuse) and we're not happy with it, we speak to the player and if he's not happy, we all come off the pitch together".

Bulgaria were also punished by UEFA for "racist behaviour" when they lost away to the Czech Republic on June 7 and at home to Kosovo three days later in Euro qualifying.

England players have been targeted with racism already in this qualifying campaign, with Raheem Sterling notably taking a personal stand against abusers in Montenegro, and there has been heightened concern over the upcoming trip to Bulgaria.

The UEFA three step protocol, as mentioned by Abraham, first sees an announcement made to the crowd if there is any racist abuse, then secondly, the players leave the pitch while a second message is deliver to fans, before, finally, a decision is made whether to abandon or restart the match.

But the BFU have taken exception to England players preparing themselves to face racism, with president Borislav Mihaylov sending a letter to UEFA to contest what they claim is an "offensive", "stereotyped" and "derogatory" view of the Bulgarian public as racist and hostile.

"For the England visit, UEFA has ordered the BFU to close at least 5,000 seats at the Vasil Levski National Stadium and display a banner that reads: "#EqualGame". Harry did ask the question about instead of going through the three steps - if we decide that we want to stop the game, no matter what the score is - if we're not happy as a team we'll decide whether or not to stay on the pitch. But, we're very clear in terms of all of the staff, what would need to happen.

Defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, 21, believes the protocols will be followed but that in any potentially threatening situation a different course of action may be appropriate.

"(The meeting) was just about, if it does happen, which unfortunately it does sometimes, what we need to do and what the protocol is", Abraham's Chelsea teammate and new squad member Fikayo Tomori said. That's because the English team is considering walking off the pitch in Bulgaria if any of its players are a target of racial abuse.

"Recently, a game was stopped in Italy because of that and then everything else is hypothetical because we don't know the situation that we'll be in as a team, or that I'll be in as a manager".

"You feel that one word out of place, one incorrect phrasing leads to possible problems that could be flagged towards another team, made to make a story towards another team or potentially made to look as if there's a split or a disagreement within our camp".

"What I've got to do is provide a secure, safe environment for them to play".

"It's exciting but we have to do it in big games, big tournaments", Sterling said.

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