Date published: Monday 5th November 2018 1:27
Nemanja Matic has explained why he will not be wearing a poppy on his Manchester United shirt.
The midfielder was the only United player to not wear a poppy for the club’s 2-1 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday.
In a statement on Instagram, Matic says it reminds him of when his village was bombed by Nato-led forces when he was only a boy.
Players are set to wear poppies again for the Manchester derby over the weekend, which falls on Remembrance Sunday.
The Sunday press claimed the Serbian’s “personal reasons” were why he refused to carry the symbol on United’s away kit over the weekend and he explained all on Monday.
“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,” Matic said in the post.
“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 Sabac, 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.
“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.
“I hope everyone understands my reasons now that I have explained them and I can concentrate on helping the team in the games that lie ahead.”