England boss Gareth Southgate has revealed his fatherly desire to protect his players.
Three Lions manager Southgate wants his squad to make the right choices when online during Euro 2020.
England host Croatia at Wembley on Sunday to kick off their tournament, which starts when Turkey and Italy face each other in Rome on Friday.
In an open letter in The Players’ Tribune on Tuesday, Southgate wrote about his fears over how social media abuse can harm his players and wants to shield them.
Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jude Bellingham have all suffered racist abuse online.
Southgate wrote: “There are times when my parental instincts kick in. I can’t help it. After all, I’m old enough to be a father to most of my players!
“I see players scrolling on their phones straight after the final whistle and I think…Hmmm, is that a particularly good idea?
“Reading abusive comments on Twitter or Instagram is never going to help performance.
“There are genuine risks for our players online and I will always want to protect them, but I would never put rules on how or when they use their accounts while on England duty.
“I trust them and know they are mature enough to make their own decisions, to do what’s right for their mental health and to keep being a force for good as we strive for a better society.
“The last 18 months have put added pressure on everyone, I know. Venting that might have taken place while walking out of the stadium, or in the pub has been transferred online. I get that. However, there are things I will never understand.
“Why would you tag someone in on a conversation that is abusive? Why would you choose to insult somebody for something as ridiculous as the colour of their skin? Why?
“Unfortunately for those people that engage in that kind of behaviour, I have some bad news.
“You’re on the losing side. It’s clear to me that we are heading for a much more tolerant and understanding society, and I know our lads will be a big part of that.
“It might not feel like it at times, but it’s true. The awareness around inequality and the discussions on race have gone to a different level in the last 12 months alone.
“I am confident that young kids of today will grow up baffled by old attitudes and ways of thinking.
“For many of that younger generation, your notion of Englishness is quite different from my own. I understand that, too.”