By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 05/11/18 1:57pm
Nemanja Matic has released a statement on his Instagram account explaining why he did not wear a poppy on his shirt during Manchester United’s 2-1 win at Bournemouth on Saturday.
Matic was a child in Serbia during the Balkan conflict and despite having worn a poppy in the past, he has explained why he no longer does so.
“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,” the 30-year-old wrote.
“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.
“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.
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“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.”
United play Juventus in a crucial Champions League match in Turin on Wednesday before taking on rivals City in the Manchester derby on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.