Joleon Lescott has expressed sympathy for Theo Walcott, after the Arsenal player's family decided not to travel to Euro 2012 due to the threat of racism.
England fans have been issued with warnings over the problems they may encounter with racism in Ukraine this summer.
And Lescott is disappointed that the issue is clouding the build-up to an important tournament.
He said: "It is shame we are talking about it, but I think we always will be.
"Theo is a vital member of the squad. He is likely to play a lot of games and have a big role in the team. It is a shame his family won't be able to go and support him and it is a shame they have to make that decision for nothing to do with football.
"I understand it though, if they feel it is going to be a problem when he is out there."
But the Manchester City defender hopes that it will not be as bad as the authorities fear.
He continued: "You can't get rid of it from people's minds. It is a touchy subject for some people to talk about. But if you address it pretty early I don't think it will be a problem."