In the last few weeks, we’ve been treated to an example of how to accomplish that task in a way that is not only thrilling and inspirational, but which also achieves solid results. Just a few years ago, a criticism made of the England football team was that they were playing as 11 individuals rather than one team.
That is a criticism that could not be made today.
Since his appointment as manager, Gareth Southgate has galvanised a young, diverse and talented cohort of players and moulded them into the most formidable England men's squad we’ve seen since 1966. He has given us a textbook example of how to lead with a human face and in a way which gets the very best from a diverse, high-performing team. Many – some of whom ordinarily have no interest in football – have been inspired to support the England team on their #Euros2020 journey, which ended so heartbreakingly at Wembley.
Even though the result wasn’t what so many had hoped for, there is absolutely no place for disgraceful racist abuse and respect for others should always be unconditional. Managers should be highly attuned to conversations happening in their teams and stand ready to challenge any act of marginalisation or discrimination. As public support for the players vastly overwhelms those who choose to abuse, the story overall is one of unity, inspiration and hope but clearly shows we must never underestimate the pervasiveness of racism. Gareth Southgate has managed a squad not just he, but the entire nation, can be proud of - both on and off the field.
Our congratulations to both him and the England team on their Euro 2020 performance. We look forward to many more spectacular performances from this young, exciting and diverse squad in the future - who knows...perhaps next year?
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