Raheem Sterling feels racist abuse continues to not be taken as seriously as other social topics.

Manchester City forward Sterling has himself been subjected to incidents while on international duty with England.

Following England’s defeat to Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka were all targets for social media trolls after missing spot-kicks in the shoot-out.

Sterling, 26, finds it difficult to understand why more is not being done in wider society to combat the problem.

Speaking at the FT Business of Sport summit, Sterling said: “I have kind of took a step back from constantly talking in the media I would say, and trying to take more action within my limits, what I can do and how I can help, and I think that’s the most important thing.

“It is we can ask for help once or twice – I should not even say help, because it should be a case where you see a situation happening and that should be allowed to happen.

“I have always mentioned if there was ever comments in regards to something else, I think things would be taken a lot more seriously.

“I feel when it is mentioned (as) racist abuse, I don’t feel like it’s taken as seriously as if you would mention certain other topics.”

Sterling admitted it was “disappointing” for his England team-mates to have been targeted by their own supporters.

“You are coming to work, to do your utmost best to try and win a football match, to step up and be counted, to take a a penalty for your country,” he said.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand the pressure that some people are under.

“I generally believe that the boys were confident and then, of course, missing which, as a player, no-one likes to miss a penalty.

“But at the same time, you have to have that confidence, have that belief within yourself to step up with millions of people watching you.

“Then to be racially abused afterwards, having tried your utmost for your country, it is disappointing.

“But my main concern was the well-being of my team-mates, making sure they are alright, which I think is the most important thing that we will try to do as team-mates.

“It is a situation which builds character as well, so with all of the experiences that happen in life and on the football field is something which I do believe in the future will make us a bit more resilient.

“But again, it is something that we are still talking about, it is still happening and for it to be by your own fans as well, it is not nice.”