In a week when Gareth Southgate should have been calling up his UEFA EURO 2020 squad, the England manager has turned his attention to NHS frontline workers.
The postponement of the European Championship due to the COVID-19 pandemic means that the plan to confirm 23 Three Lions for the tournament has been pushed back 12 months.
However, Southgate was more than willing to put his ongoing preparations temporarily aside to check in on two England supporters who are doing their bit in this global battle.
Luke Taylor, a podiatry manager in Manchester, and Lucy Gilpin, a nurse at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, are both keen England followers so were delighted to receive a call from the boss.
“We know the opportunity for our players to represent England on the European stage will come again but for now it’s important the nation gets behind those playing their part in helping to return society to a sense of normality," said Southgate.
“It was a great to make a call to Luke and Lucy and hear how they are coping during this period of adversity; something that I know thousands of others throughout the country can relate to.”
A call from the boss 😄— England (@England) May 21, 2020
Gareth Southgate surprised two of our NHS heroes recently to express his appreciation for their incredible efforts during these difficult times.
To Luke, Lucy and everyone working on the frontline: thank you! pic.twitter.com/oDuOF2f6R9
This forms part of a wider series of morale-boosting video calls that England men’s and women’s players have made during this challenging period as part of our Football's Staying Home initiative.
Lionesses defender Millie Bright recently marked National Thank a Teacher Day with a call to Sophie Read who works in year three at a school in south east London, Ellen White acknowledged International Nurses Day by reaching out to frontline hero Kristen Whitfield while Lucy Bronze called supermarket team leader Michelle France.
Elsewhere, Three Lions skipper Harry Kane checked in on 86-year-old former England international Colin Grainger as well as young fan Jude Lemée, while Tyrone Mings spoke to a trio of supporters including NHS workers Sarah Mawer and Kunal Sapat and teacher Matt Miller.
Ben Chilwell also lifted the spirits of three young England fans Max Cleary, Ellie Carminati and Billy Godden with further calls planned from fellow internationals in the coming weeksone working on the frontline.