Gareth Southgate writes an open letter to the country ahead of the European Championship: “Playing for England is about much more than the result. It’s about how we bring people together, how we inspire and unite’
Gareth Southgate has published an impassioned open letter to the nation ahead of England’s European Championship campaign.
The Three Lions manager will lead his side through the summer tournament, with England looking to put 55 years of pain behind them, starting with their first group game against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.
Write on the Player’s Stand website in the wake of fans who booed his players as they got on their knees, he opened up about national identity, pride and why the current generation of stars feel an obligation to protest racial injustice.
Friday 11 June
Saturday June 12
Sunday 13 June
Gareth Southgate has written an open letter to England fans ahead of Euro 2020 this summer
Southgate lead the Three Lions in their European Championship bid this summer
Southgate focuses on the online abuse received by its players, writing: “There are real risks to our players online and I will always want to protect them, but I would never impose rules on how or when they use their accounts while on duty in England.” .
‘I trust them. They are mature enough to make their own decisions, do what’s right for their mental health, and remain a force for good as we strive for a better society. The last 18 months have put everyone under extra pressure. Bleeding that may have occurred while walking out of the stadium or in the pub has been transferred online. I get it.
“However, there are things I will never understand. Why tag someone in a conversation that is offensive? Why insult someone for something as ridiculous as their skin color? Why?
‘Unfortunately for those people, I have bad news. You are on the losing side. Obviously we are moving towards a much more tolerant society, and our boys will be a big part of that.”
Southgate claims football figures interact with the public about issues like racial injustice
Three Lions players have been booed by some supporters for falling for the knee in friendlies
Given what it means to represent England, Southgate, who earned 57 caps for his country, finished his letter: “Of course my players and I will be judged on winning matches. Only one team can win the European Championship. We’ve never done it before and we’re desperate for it. Believe me. But the reality is that the result is only a small part of it. When England play, there is much more at stake than that.
“It’s about how we behave on and off the field, how we bring people together, how we inspire and unite, how we create memories that last longer than 90 minutes. They will last until after the summer. That last forever.
“I’m thinking of all the young kids who will be watching this summer and filling out their first wallcharts. Whatever happens, I just hope their parents, teachers and club managers will turn to them and say, ‘Look. That’s the way to represent your country. That’s what England is about. That’s what’s possible.’
‘If that succeeds, it will be a summer to be proud of.
“Your, Gareth Southgate.”