Gareth Southgate lavishes praise on ‘relatable’ England team with Three Lions connecting with ethnic minority supporters as boss says ‘there is more at stake than just the football’
- England once again stood up to racist abuse in this month’s international fixtures
- Gareth Southgate says he didn’t realise how disconnected the team had been
- He has hailed his players for turning this around under his leadership
- The Three Lions boss insisted there is more at stake than just the football
Gareth Southgate has hailed his ‘relatable’ England team for rebuilding the connection with ethnic minority supporters after his players once again stood up to racist abuse in this month’s international fixtures.
England were targeted in Poland and Hungary, after having also faced vile abuse in Montenegro, Bulgaria and from social media trolls in the wake of the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy.
‘We took the knee, 60,000 people booed it,’ said Southgate. ‘With the national team there’s more at stake than just the football and we are recognising that.’
England manager Gareth Southgate has hailed his ‘relatable’ set of England players
‘The most heartening thing for me has been that the people who have come up to me celebrating their feeling of connection to the team have been Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Afro-Caribbean. I didn’t realise how disconnected we were from those communities, so that’s what this group of players has done. They’ve been relatable.’
Southgate admitted, however, that there are not enough women on his backroom staff — after a reprimand from his daughter.
Just two of the team’s 40 personnel are female. ‘We haven’t got that right,’ he said.
‘It’s nowhere near where we should be. Within the FA we are 38 per cent I think female. My daughter said, “Oh, that’s good is it, Dad?”. I had to say, “Good point”.’
Southgate’s players once again stood up to racist abuse in this month’s international fixtures
The Three Lions boss insisted that his stars’ unifying influence goes beyond football