England manager, Gareth Southgate says he is “tremendously proud” of how his England players have spoken out on racism and campaigned for charity in recent times.
Footballers across all leagues have offered their different contributions towards the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matters movement. To begin with, Jordan Henderson led a players’ initiative to raise money for the NHS. Marcus Rashford on the other side worked with a charity that helps feed children.
In recent times, Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings have voiced their opinions on the Black Lives Matters movement.
This is something Southgate has had “great admiration for the maturity they are showing”.
“We have a group of players who understand they have an opportunity to make a difference. That their voices are heard-but they do that with some responsibility as well”. Added Southgate.
“If you believe in something strongly enough and have the opportunity to make a difference, then that is something you have to grasp”.
Speaking on George Floyd’s death, Southgate said there have been “forward strides” in the global fight against racism but “huge steps” are still needed.
“I think these crosses over all professions really. I have always been in a dressing room where a high percentage of the dressing room was black. So, I didn’t know anything different until I stepped out of that environment”.
“I wasn’t as conscious of it as I have become over the last few days. I think yes, we should as a sports talk about opportunities for coaches and managers. But there is also administration and many other areas of the game where we employ people in analysis departments and medical departments”.
“We should have representation across all of those areas”.
Southgate “always observing” players breaking lockdown rules.
While the England manager praised many of his players’ actions during the lockdown, he also added his staff is “always observing” those who have broken rules.
Aston Villa midfielder, Jack Grealish, Manchester City Kyle Walker, Borussia Dortmund Jadon Sancho, and Chelsea Mason Mount are among the English players to have broken rules or government guidance.
“I never judge a player or person on one interaction or one error of judgment. We are all human and we all err at times. But I would also add I don’t miss a lot”.
“You are always building a picture of a person, a player, whether they can fit into the culture you want. We would also be away for 40-50 days at a tournament and people have to be able to fit into that environment”.