UEFA Euro 2020

Gareth Southgate reveals he won't set rules on social media for England stars

Jun 8, 2021, 1:15 PM GMT+1
Gareth Southgate wants his players to continue to engage on social issues
Gareth Southgate wants his players to continue to engage on social issues / Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Gareth Southgate has insisted he will never put rules on how or when his England stars use their social media accounts, while backing his players to continue to engage with the public on key social issues.

England kick off their Euro 2020 campaign on Sunday 13 June against Croatia, with Southgate finalising his 26-man squad this week.

The men's first team manager has now released a letter to England on The Players' Tribune, outlining his hopes for the summer, as well as his own thoughts on national pride and duty.

As part of the letter, Southgate discussed his thoughts on the England players as 'role models', reaffirming his stance that stars can and should have a voice off the field rather than 'just sticking to football.'

"Our players are role models. And, beyond the confines of the pitch, we must recognise the importance of the impact they can have on society," Southgate wrote. "We must give them the confidence to stand up for their teammates and the things that matter to them as people.

"I have never believed that we should just stick to football. 

"I know my voice carries weight, not because of who I am but because of the position that I hold. At home, I’m below the kids and the dogs in the pecking order but publicly I am the England men’s football team manager. I have a responsibility to the wider community to use my voice, and so do the players."

Southgate went on to discuss the perils of social media amid the debate over online abuse. While he admitted his 'parental instincts' mean he will always be concerned for his players' welfare, he won't put rules on how or when his charges use their online accounts.

Marcus Rashford is one of several England stars who has used social media to engage on big issues / SHAUN BOTTERILL/Getty Images

"There are genuine risks for our players online and I will always want to protect them, but I would never put rules on how or when they use their accounts while on England duty," Southgate continued.

"I trust them and know they are mature enough to make their own decisions, to do what’s right for their mental health and to keep being a force for good as we strive for a better society."

Southgate added his prediction that society in general is headed in a much more tolerant direction despite instances of division and abuse.

Mason Mount
Southgate will not limit his stars' use of social media at the Euros / Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images

He wrote: "Unfortunately for those people that engage in that kind of behaviour [online abuse], I have some bad news. You’re on the losing side. It's clear to me that we are heading for a much more tolerant and understanding society, and I know our lads will be a big part of that."

Read Southgate's full piece on The Players' Tribune.