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Morgan, Saka, Toone And Watkins To Star In New England Football

Esme Morgan England

England Football has released a new content series with England stars Esme Morgan, Bukayo Saka, Ella Toone and as part of its Respect campaign.

The England players look back and pay homage to the positive impact their first coaches had on them and the encouraging environment they created, in a series of videos due to be released over the coming months called ‘It Starts With You’.

The campaign aims to highlight the importance of the coach in setting a positive environment for players to thrive, with England Football hoping to inspire grassroots coaches across the country to continue to be positive in their approach.

England defender Esme Morgan kicks off the series by discussing the importance of her first coach, Martin Windle, at her childhood club Ecclesall Rangers in Sheffield, where she played from the age of seven through to 15.

Explaining her first memories of playing for the club and the positive environment that Martin created, Morgan said: “Martin was always so welcoming and enthusiastic and just his love for the game was infectious. They were just so positive and infectiously enthusiastic all the time.

They just encouraged me to play, encouraged my love for football and just always made it the norm for me to be able to play with my friends. I’m really grateful for that.”

Speaking of the environment he creates within his teams, Martin said: “I always want to make the sessions fun, if I’m having fun and enjoying the session, I can tell by their expressions and how they care for each other whether they are.

You want them to feel comfortable. You know you’re doing something right when the children are smiling, laughing and having fun.”

The FA’s Director of Football Development, James Kendall, said: “Hearing the positive stories from our England players about their grassroots football coaches really does showcase the important role coaches are playing in providing a memorable experience for everyone involved.

Football is a sport for all, and many coaches work tirelessly week in week out to ensure young people are enjoying a sport we all love.

I’m delighted our Respect campaign is focusing on the incredible work coaches are doing, and hope this gives inspiration and motivation for coaches to continue to play a pivotal role in children’s experience of playing football.”

Next up in the ‘It Starts With You’ series is England forward, Ollie Watkins who looks back on his grassroots experience at Buckland Athletic FC and his coach, Mark Taylor, who played an important role in his development.

England Football Respect Campaign

As part of the Respect campaign, following a successful pilot last year, there will also be a dedicated Silent Support Weekend on 2-4 March aimed at grassroots clubs and designed to influence more positive behaviours on the sidelines by coaches and spectators at youth football.

The Respect campaign is part of the wider football behavioural campaign, ‘Love Football Protect The Game’, which aims to address unacceptable conduct on the pitch, on the sidelines and in the stands across both the grassroots and professional game, to ensure that the actions of the minority do not spoil the game for all.

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