Southgate warns English gamers and families against Netflix documentary | England
Gareth Southgate has warned his players and their families not to get involved in on-the-fly documentaries around the World Cup after several team partners were approached by a production company.
The proposed series would follow the relatives of England footballers before and during the tournament in Qatar and is set to stream on Netflix. Southgate has made it clear that he would view such an engagement as a distraction and did not want to disrupt the family ecosystem developed during his tenure.
“It’s not really my cup of tea,” he said. “I would be surprised if the group of players that we have are interested in it, because they wanted to focus on football. In Russia and last summer, the focus was on the players and everything that they do. We’ve never had any problems.”
England’s campaign at Germany 2006 under Sven-Göran Eriksson was contested amid an intense focus on the players’ entourage, which contributed to Fabio Capello’s much stricter stance regarding their presence around the camp four years later. Southgate has struck a balance that he and the team are happy with and worked it out when the prospect of a documentary was presented to him. He also expressed his distaste for a tenure that has accompanied much coverage of players’ spouses and partners over the past decade and a half.
“We like to involve families,” he said. “I actually think the term ‘Wags’ is quite disrespectful, it’s their partners and family; I don’t like the term. We want them to feel welcome and we invited them to the hotel when we could in Russia: mums, dads and children.
“It’s a great feeling when you have kids, especially. This changes the dynamic of the hotel. We couldn’t do this last year [at Euro 2020] because of Covid. It’s a big family and I think everyone recognizes that some of what we’ve been doing has been really good over the last two years.
There have been no indications regarding the show’s chances of taking off and Southgate’s intervention may actually nip it in the bud. Her captain, Harry Kane, agreed.
“I think Gareth hit the nail on the head,” he said. “We created this really good environment where friends and family, girlfriends and wives were part of the team and the group, especially when we were away.
“Last summer was a bit different obviously, but I was not contacted about my wife. [being involved] and she didn’t, so I’m not sure who did. We want to focus on the World Cup and we don’t want to distract from that.”