GARETH Southgate should have taken his players off the pitch in response to the racist abuse towards English players in the Montenegro match earlier this week.

The England manager was clearly in two minds about how he should have dealt with the incident when he spoke to journalists after the game.

He struggled to juggle the responsibility to protect his players with their natural desire to continue playing.

Taking England off the pitch would have sent a clear message to football's governing bodies that they need to wake up to the culture of racism thriving in the stands of many foreign grounds.

England is no shining example, with racist chanting in the Premier League this season, however racism seems to be particularly bad in the states that once formed Yugoslavia.

The game in Montenegro was the latest in a series of matches in the region to be marred by racist abuse.

Southgate warned his players to expect an 'intense' atmosphere ahead of the game this week, surely based on incidents from the past.

England defender Danny Rose was previously subjected to racial abuse in an under-21 game in Serbia in 2012, resulting in the country's FA receiving a £65,000 fine and their under-21s being forced to play a game behind closed doors.

Raheem Sterling's fearless response to the monkey chants in Montenegro was inspirational, however solitary acts of bravery on the pitch will not bring an end to this type of behaviour.

What is needed is a major show of force - and a walk-out would be just that.

If certain countries continue to allow racism in their stands then a boycott could be appropriate.

Racism should be in the dustbin of history and states that do not agree with this need to be shunned.

Why should our players have to endure a torrent of abuse just because of the colour of their skin?

Southgate was in a tremendously difficult position this week and calling a walk-out would have been an extremely bold move.

England now needs to come up with a plan of action for the next time this happens, because depressingly there will be a next time.

I believe that walking off the pitch would be an appropriate way to put pressure on those at the top of the game to act on racism.