England World Cup star Danny Mills has been accused of racism after claiming representing an African country in football is second rate to playing for a European nation, reports The Sun.
Mills has been blasted after making a clumsy statement while co-commentating on England winning the Under-20s World Cup for the BBC.
The former defender, who was a regular in the Three Lions side at the 2002 World Cup, left some viewers fuming as he discussed which country some of the young players should represent.
Five of England’s triumphant squad at Under-20 level can still qualify to play for Nigeria at senior level – but Mills dismissed the suggestion out of hand.
He said: “If you’ve got the opportunity to play for England you’ve got to take it.
“Ultimately, the quality of England for me outweighs the chances you will have for Nigeria.
“OK, you might go to the Africa Cup of Nations, you might pick up a medal there.
“But in terms of competitions that really matter on the world stage – the Europeans, the World Cup – England would be your first point of call.”
There is little doubt that in football terms, European football is more lucrative and with most of the world’s top players playing across the continent the quality is higher.
But it is the dismissive suggestion the Africa Cup of Nations means less than the Euros to players that has led to Mills being criticised across social media.
During the Zambia v Germany last 16 fixture which the Junior Chipolopolo won 4-3, commentator Steve Banyard incurred the wrath of some Zambian fans after he suggested that the country was rocovering from the ravages of poverty and HIV/AIDS.