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Russian fans in Marseille looked like a military group says Barton

Joey Barton has recalled an incident he encountered before England's Euro2016 clash with Russia on Saturday.

English and Russian fans were involved in fights and brawls all over the city of Marseille before and after the Group B meeting, which has prompted UEFA to watch supporters of both nations closely.

Rangers midfielder Barton, who spent time on loan at Marseille, was attending the game as a radio pundit and has revealed that the Russian 'ultras' appeared like they were trained to be there for a fight.

"I ran into the Russians in action myself earlier in the day and it was a scary sight. They were clearly highly organised," Barton told the Daily Record.

"They operated like a military group.

"I was with two of my pals, one of whom had his young lad with him - a five-year-old boy. We could sense there was going to be trouble so I thought I'd try to lead them away using the back streets that I know from living here.

"We used underground Metros to try to get away from the problem areas but as I came up the stairs of one station I just ran into this gang. They weren't even in the main streets, they were running round the back streets because they were trying to cut the English fans off.

"But thankfully, they weren't interested in us. There was 40 or 50 of them and they were looking for groups of England fans. They weren't picking people off in ones or twos.

"Fortunately, my mates and I weren't wearing any England kit, just the little lad. We walked right through the middle of them and there was no animosity or hostility."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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