Nemanja Matic, the Manchester United midfielder, has explained why he has refused to wear a poppy on his shirt.

The Serbian has previously worn the poppy but did not do so for Saturday's 2-1 win at Bournemouth, revealing he chose not to as it brings back memories of Nato's bombing of his hometown, Vrelo, in 1999.

In a post on Instagram, he said: "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.

Advertisement

"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."

Meanwhile, Stoke winger James McClean has hit out at reports he is to be investigated by the Football Association after delivering a withering response to fans who abused him for not wearing a poppy.

McClean described his critics as "uneducated cavemen" in an Instagram post after an angry confrontation as he left the pitch following Saturday's 0-0 Championship draw with Middlesbrough.

Responding to suggestions the FA is to look into his conduct, he posted another message on Monday saying: "The FA are investigating me after Saturday's event – for what, exactly?

"Yet week in, week out for the past seven years, I get constant sectarian abuse, death threats, objects being thrown, chanting which is heard loud and clear every week which my family, wife and kids have to listen to, they turn a blind eye and not a single word or condemnation of any sort."

McClean continued: "Huddersfield away last year while playing [for] West Brom where there was an incident with their fans which was on the game highlights where the cameras clearly caught it, yet the FA when complaint was made to them said there 'was not enough evidence'.

"If it was a person's skin colour or if it was anti-Muslim, someone's gender, there would be an uproar and it would be taken in a completely different way and dealt with in a different manner.

"But like in Neil Lennon's case in Scotland, because we are Irish Catholics, they turn a blind eye and nothing is ever said and done."

Advertisement