Chalobah uses racism to motivate
Nathaniel Chalobah understands if players react to racism by walking off the pitch, but feels the best response is using it to motivate.
The issue of racism in football was on the agenda for Chalobah and his England Under-21s team-mates on Monday, as they heard a talk from former players Cyrille Regis and Garth Crooks on the matter at St George's Park in Burton-upon-Trent, where the squad have been preparing for Tuesday night's Bramall Lane friendly against Scotland.
In terms of players departing the field in protest at racist chants, a particularly high-profile case came in Italy in January this year when AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng suddenly picked the ball up, kicked it towards the stand behind him and walked off the pitch during his side's away friendly against lower-league outfit Pro Patria.
He was subsequently followed by the rest of the Milan side, and the game was abandoned.
Asked if he understood players reacting in that way, Chelsea midfielder Chalobah said: "Yes, to a certain extent.
"Everyone is equal - there should be a level of equality wherever you are, no matter what the colour of your skin is.
"I think for some people, it (racist abuse) is just hard to deal with, and that is probably why they walk off the pitch.
"But I think everyone should try to be like Cyrille and Garth - use it as motivation to push through."
Speaking to the 24-man Under-21s squad, ex-West Brom striker Regis and former Tottenham frontman Crooks told of their experiences of racism during the 1970s and 1980s when they were playing, and how much things have changed.
Crooks is an ambassador for Kick It Out, the anti-racism group which is this month celebrating 20 years of campaigning.
The anniversary is being marked at today's clash with the Scots, which has been labelled the 'Kick It Out International'.
Regarding today's talk, Chalobah said: "It was very inspirational and motivational, because you could tell from the way Cyrille and Garth were speaking how bad it was back in the day and how they were affected by it.
"You could tell by the look in Cyrille's eyes that he was very motivated and really did whatever he could to push through it."
Asked if he had had to deal with any racism on the pitch himself, the 18-year-old said: "I played in a game in France, where we were against Ukraine...[and I got called] a racist word.
"At the time I was pretty pleased with the way I dealt with it because I just carried on with the game, and after the game I went over to Blakey (England Under-19s boss Noel Blake) and told him exactly what was said, and I think the Football Association tried to deal with that.
"It is shocking because you don't really expect it, but it has definitely come a long way, and from the way things were before to the way things are now, you can say there has been a massive improvement."
Players will wear Kick It Out armbands before tonight's game gets under way.
The match is dedicated to the late Laurie Cunningham, some of whose family will be in attendance.
Cunningham, Regis' former West Brom team-mate, became the first black player to earn a cap at any level for England when he featured for the Under-21s against Scotland at Bramall Lane in 1977. The winger scored the only goal of the contest.