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Rose ready for Sunderland return
DANNY ROSE is back on Wearside and will return to training with the Sunderland squad this morning after an unsavoury night in Serbia he would rather forget.
The England Under-21s left-back is still coming to terms with the horrific scenes in Krusevac on Tuesday night when Serbia's defeat in a European Championship play-off match sparked ugly scenes.
Rose, who has called for UEFA to issue a ban after claiming to have been racially abused, was at the centre of many of those incidents. The Tottenham defender, on loan at Sunderland and due to face Newcastle United on Sunday, has been at the centre of the storm, which is set to rumble on.
The Serbian Football Association last night denied Rose - or any other England Under-21s player - was subjected to racist abuse before, during or after the qualifier, despite strong video evidence suggesting otherwise.
In a statement issued by the Serbia game's governing body, they then went on to accuse Rose, clearly most affected and the main target of much of the abuse, of behaving in an 'inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner' towards supporters.
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill will be keen to assess the player's state of mind following the experience, with the Premier League club condemning what they feel was an attack no player should have to go through.
Rose said: "After 90 minutes worth of racial abuse, I expressed my emotions as soon as we scored. The next thing I know, the Serbia players are all running over, surrounding me, pushing me and a brawl broke out.
"I remember getting slapped twice. I got ushered away and then I kicked the ball and the referee has sent me off. The game had finished but he still sent me off.
"As I was walking off again, there was monkey chanting, but the monkey chanting started long before I got sent off. After 60 minutes, in to the second half, my head was not really on the game. There has to be bans. I don't understand how else they can learn from it. They have to be banned."
The Serbia FA flatly denies monkey chants or racist taunts were directed towards England players at any stage of a match which boiled over moments after Connor Wickham's stoppage time winner.
Once Wickham, a team-mate of Rose at Sunderland, found the net his celebrations in front of the Serbia fans were followed by a number of flash-points.
England players and coaching staff were confronted by Serbia players, coaches and supporters who had invaded the pitch. England goalkeeper coach Martin Thomas claims to have been head-butted and assistant head coach Steve Wigley kicked in the stomach.
Unders-21s boss Stuart Pearce, Prime Minister David Cameron and FA chiefs are among those to have aired their disgust after hearing and watching the footage of the disgraceful scenes.
And Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne said: "As a club we strongly believe that the power of football should be used to promote inclusion and celebrate diversity and there is no place for any form of racism within the game of football and society as a whole. "The scenes in Serbia (on Tuesday night) night shocked everyone and Sunderland Football Club wholeheartedly backs the Football Association stance of the matter."
Back at Sunderland and O'Neill will be keen to look at the fitness, fatigue and mental state of Rose along with the Black Cats' other internationals.
John O'Shea and David Meyler both had a part in Ireland's 4-1 win over the Faroe Islands and Sunderland midfielder David Vaughan played all of Wales' 2-0 defeat in Croatia.
Sweden's Seb Larsson played 80 minutes of his country's remarkable comeback from four goals down to claim a point in Germany.
And Steven Fletcher was also a starter in Scotland's defeat in Belgium, where goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was an unused substitute ahead of the derby with Newcastle on Sunday.