Gary Lineker tells football parents to 'shut up' and let children play

Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker scored 48 goals in 80 appearances for England

Former England captain Gary Lineker says some parents are "instilling fear" into children who play grassroots football.

Speaking to the BBC's Don't Tell Me The Score podcast, the Match of the Day presenter urged parents to "shut up and let them play".

"I'm standing on the sidelines listening to parents shouting," said Lineker.

"And 99.9% of what they say is wrong, damaging their children."

In November last year, the Football Association began a campaign to improve grassroots football by influencing the behaviour of new parents, volunteers, coaches and players aged between seven and 18.

England manager Gareth Southgate gave his support on how football can "develop young children into people".

Lineker, who scored 48 goals in 80 games for England from 1984 to 1992, said the attitude of some parents is damaging to their children because the football is "too important to them".

"I've seen parents wander on to the pitch," he said. "One picked up his child by the scruff of the neck and shouted 'if you play like that you'll never make the grade'.

"I'm thinking 'mate, he'll never make the grade anyway, so just chill, let him enjoy his football'.

"The truth is they'll reach the level they'll reach anyway. If you play football or any sport with fear, you will perform less well."

Former Leicester, Everton, Barcelona and Tottenham striker Lineker warned of the dangers of children losing their love of sport if they are pushed too hard.

"What else in life can give you the massive adrenaline rush of sport?" he said. "There's nothing like it.

"Sport is real-life drama. I know it's too important to us and we overreact in a way, but imagine being without it, without that emotion."

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