Nemanja Matic has revealed why he will not wear a poppy on his shirt in the next few weeks.
The Manchester United and Serbia midfielder was the only player not to wear an embroidered poppy on his shirt in the 2-1 win at Bournemouth on Saturday, with many puzzled as to why this was the case.
Premier League clubs wear a poppy on their shirt to honor all of those who have served the British military and their allies over the years. Many citizens of the UK wear the poppy around Remembrance Day in November each year.
However Matic revealed that due to his hometown of Vrelo being bombed by Nato forces when he was growing up, he doesn’t feel comfortable wearing the poppy.
“I recognize 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. 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,” Matic said. “I do not want to undermine the poppy as a symbol of pride within Britain or offend anyone, however, we are all a product of our own upbringing and this is a personal choice for the reasons outlined.”
Matic was criticized by many for not wearing a poppy and although you have to respect his reasons, the Serbian midfielder has worn a poppy on his shirt every season he has been playing in England with either Chelsea or United.
James McClean has not worn a poppy due to his Irish heritage and has been lambasted by fans across the UK for that decision since 2011 when he arrived at Sunderland. The former Premier League winger now plays with second-tier Stoke City and he is currently under investigation by the FA for his recent comments regarding his decision to not wear a poppy after Stoke’s game against Middlesbrough on Saturday.