Romford's MP has defended sending a controversial message in which he told a footballer to "focus on football, not politics".

Andrew Rosindell sent the tweet to footballer Tyrone Mings after the England player condemned home secretary Priti Patel for "pretending to be disgusted" by racism players received following their defeat in the Euros 2020 final against Italy on Sunday (July 11).

In response, Mr Rosindell tweeted: "We are all proud of our England team, who have had the support of the whole country over recent weeks, but please focus on football.

"If you win for England, you win for everyone."

Many Twitter users were unimpressed, with @Loft4W posting: "Did you just 'know your place' to a black football player?

"[Because] it certainly sounds like it."

Another user said: "Mr Rosindell, [a]re politics just for employed politicians then?

"Are us lesser mortals not worthy of an opinion?"

Deputy leader of the opposition, Angela Rayner, also condemned Mr Rosindell's tweet: "They can talk about whatever they damn well please mate.

"What gives you the right to talk about football but they apparently can't talk about politics?

"I wonder what it is about a group of young, eloquent, working-class black men standing up against racism that you don't like."

A spokesperson for Mr Rosindell said: “Andrew unequivocally condemns racism in all forms, as in fact did the home secretary Priti Patel.

"Yet rather than backing the home secretary and acknowledging her clear condemnation of racism, Tyrone Mings turned on her.

"It was the partisan nature of this attack on our home secretary that led to Andrew’s tweet.

"Priti Patel has been subjected to appalling racism, she condemned racism, but instead of standing shoulder to shoulder with our home secretary, he made a personal attack on her.

"He cannot be a ‘national hero’ and act like a Labour politician at the same time.

"Keep politics off the playing field.”

However, other critics pointed out that the MP had applauded football manager and former player Sol Campbell for supporting the Brexit vote in 2016.

Twitter user @snigskitchen said: "Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford appears to think black footballers should 'focus on football' when they disagree with him.

"Otherwise, he's happy for them to express political opinions with which he agrees."