ENGLAND legend Gary Lineker has revealed he suffered racist abuse from fellow players for his “darkish skin”.
The 61-year-old Match of the Day presenter also says he would have been taunted during his school years for being a “tiny, geeky kid” if he wasn’t good at sport.
However, the abuse came in his football career with comments being made about his skin colour by fellow pros, despite being “as English as they come”.
He told the High Performance Podcast: “Without being good at sport, life would have been very different for me because I was, I think I would have been bullied at school, I was kind of marginally that way anyway because I was this tiny, geeky kid, with darkish skin and I had pretty much racist abuse although I’m not, I’m as English as they come. All the time, all the time.
“Even in professional football I had that a couple of times, I wouldn’t ever name any names.
“So I got that kind of nonsense, which was a bit weird.
“Whether that was part of something that made me, I don’t know, but other people might not be able to handle that.”
Lineker says he was able to overcome it with his “mental strength”, which was more valuable to him than his favoured right foot.
He added: “My greatest strength was not my right foot, it was my mental strength.
“I always had that. It never really got to me.”
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Lineker regularly speaks out against racism as well as other social issues.
In April last year, Lineker joined leading sports stars, clubs and organisations for a four-day social media blackout to tackle abuse and discrimination.
The unified boycott spanned across social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.