GARETH Southgate’s diverse Three Lions squad is a better symbol of England than the St George Cross, according to research.
Two thirds of the nation believe the multi-ethnic team — with role models such as Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings — is a shining example of modern Britain, think tank British Future said ahead of the Euros.
Two thirds of the nation believe Gareth Southgate’s diverse Three Lions squad is a better symbol of England than the St George Cross[/caption]
New research by think tank British Future reveals role models such as Marcus Rashford represent modern Britain at its best[/caption]
The team is also a more popular emblem of the nation than St George’s Day, the research found.
Fans agree that the Three Lions “belong to people of every race and ethnic background in England today”.
Three quarters (77 per cent) of white people in England say that “being English is open to people of different ethnic backgrounds who identify as English”.
British Future director Sunder Katwala said: “It is common sense in our country now that you don’t need to be white to be English.
“Our football team — from Viv Anderson through Ian Wright to Marcus Rashford — made more difference than anything else to establishing that.
The team is also a more popular emblem of the nation than St George’s Day – here Raheem Sterling is pictured on the pitch playing[/caption]
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“This research also shows that we can’t just leave it to football.
“We need to do more to promote an inclusive Englishness outside of sport, to ensure that ethnic minorities fully share this confidence in a modern English identity that we can all be part of.
“We should hear about this more often – not just when a big football tournament is taking place.”