DANNY ROSE immediately set his sights on facing Newcastle United after arriving at the Stadium of Light on transfer deadline day.
“I can’t wait for the Newcastle game to see what that’s like,” said Rose, on his first interview with the Echo.
But the build-up to Rose’s derby bow continues to be overshadowed by the deplorable scenes in England Under-21s’ victory in Serbia on Tuesday night after the Sunderland left-back was subjected to a barrage of racist abuse from the home supporters.
That is an accusation the Serbian FA refutes, releasing an astonishing statement yesterday denying there was any racist chanting and claiming Rose “behaved in an inappropriate, unsportsmanlike and vulgar manner towards the supporters”.
Both television footage, subsequent supporter videos and testimonies from those in attendance have made a mockery of those assertions.
But Rose, who returned to training at the Academy of Light this morning ahead of Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby, can only hope that Uefa now take the appropriate action against Serbia.
Bizarrely, both England and Serbia were charged by Uefa last night – England for improper conduct of their players and Serbia for “alleged racist chanting” by fans. The case will be dealt with on November 22.
Yet Rose has been unequivocal in his demands for Serbia to be banned from competitive action after laying clear the extent of the abuse yesterday.
The 22-year-old said: “They have to be banned. I don’t understand how else they can learn from it, they have to be banned.
“They started the monkey chanting straight away. I asked the lads if they could hear it and they said they could hear it.
“In the second half I had two stones hit me on the head when I went to get the ball for a throw-in. Every time I touched the ball there was monkey chanting again.”
Rose was left equally mystified by the second yellow card he received after the final whistle, presumably for kicking the ball away following a tussle with the Serbian players after Sunderland striker Connor Wickham’s last-gasp winner.
“I remember getting slapped twice and then I got ushered away,” added Rose.
“That’s when I kicked the ball – and the referee sent me off. I don’t understand, the game had finished by then but he still sent me off for kicking the ball.
“As I went off again there was monkey chanting, but the monkey chanting started long before I got sent off.”
Sunderland, anti-racism campaigners and politicians – including Prime Minister David Cameron – have echoed Rose’s calls for action from Uefa.
But arguably the most telling statement came from the FA’s general secretary Alex Horne, who has questioned whether England teams would play in Serbia again.
The FA have sent Uefa a dossier of evidence, including video footage, and Horne has demanded the governing body take the “strongest possible action”.
In a statement, Horne said: “What occurred is inexcusable and not acceptable.
“No football team should be asked to play in any environment where racial abuse, violence and threatening behaviour is prevalent. We must question the validity of sending a team to Serbia in the future.”
This is not the first time England U21 players have been subjected to racism in a clash with Serbia either.
At the 2007 U21 European Championships, former Sunderland loanee Nedum Onuoha received monkey chants from Serbian supporters in a 2-0 England victory.
The Serbian FA was subsequently fined a meagre £16,500, while England also received a £2,000 fine for the improper conduct of their players.
Onuoha echoed the words of Rose in laying clear how scarring the experience was yesterday.
“Footballers are used to getting abuse during a game, it is par for the course, but when that abuse is racist in nature that takes the emotions you feel to a different level,” he said.
But interestingly, the eloquent QPR defender questioned whether it would be right to ban Serbia from international competition.
“Racism is a complex issue that goes beyond football and eliminating a nation from taking part at a World Cup or a European Championship is not suddenly going to cure it of that problem,” added Onuoha.
“Also, it is unfair to tarnish all the people of a country as racist.
“I played with Aleksandar Kolarov at Manchester City and he is one of the proudest Serbs you could meet.
“But he is also one of the fairest and nicest people you could meet and I would never describe him as racist.
“Why, then, should he suffer for the actions of a minority of his country’s supporters?”
Onuoha’s objective view is laudable, yet Serbian supporters were also guilty of racially abuse three black Welsh players in a Euro 2004 qualifier and forced a Euro 2012 qualifier with Italy to be delayed after rioting.
A ban may be the only means of forcing a change in attitude.
Whether Uefa have the wherewithal to impose one is another matter.