“Respectful, humble, tells the truth; everything a leader should be”

Photo of Gareth Southgate by Vlad Dokshin

“The standard of leader in this country has been awful these last two years, but that man (Southgate) is respectful, humble, tells the truth – everything a leader should be.”

Gary Neville’s words at the end of the England v Denmark match should ring in the ears of all those who continue to support our disrespectful, boastful and dishonest prime minister. Johnson’s ears should be positively aflame.

Could Gary Neville have said this on the BBC without sanction? Will he be quoted by the mainstream media? Probably not. His words were, however, pure music for a vast swathe of people who value truth, integrity and honour.

We wish England all the best on Sunday. No diving, please, Mr Sterling, intentionally or otherwise. You shine brightly enough without the need for stunts which are beneath the standards of your manager and your many admirers. As for the so-called ‘fan’ who shone a laser in goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s eyes…shame on you. You have brought shame on the country you claim to love. The same goes for all those fans who boo during the opposition’s national anthem. This disrespect is not patriotism. It’s just plain rude and the very opposite of sportsmanlike.

If England triumph against Italy on Sunday, it will not be because of Brexit or you, Mr Johnson. It will, in part, be because of the beautiful legacy of immigration, and the diversity and inclusiveness you seem to hate so much, Ms Patel. It will be largely due to the inspirational leadership of an honest man…something that can give all us, football fans or not, some real hope for humanity and decency in this troubled, ill-led land.