Former England footballer Gary Lineker is preparing to host a refugee at his London mansion after using his prominent social media platform to voice support for asylum seekers.
Now a pundit for the BBC and BT Sport, Lineker has criticised the UK government's reaction to the surge of illegal immigrants across the English Channel from France. Lineker, who has 7.6 million followers on Twitter and scored 48 goals for England, does not know who he will welcome to stay at his house in the leafy borough of Richmond.
"I have had so much connection with refugees over the last couple of years. I have met scores of young refugees through football schemes and they are genuinely lovely kids and they appreciate any help they can get," he told the Daily Mirror.
"I’m sure it will be fine. I have been thinking of doing something like that for a while. My kids are all grown up so I’ve got plenty of room so if I can help on a temporary basis then I’m more than happy to do so. Why not?”
Lineker, who has four sons in their 20s, joked that whoever stays with him would probably be better behaved than his sons.
The 59-year-old will be visited by the charity Refugees at Home to approve his application to host.
Lineker said much of what is thought as quintessentially British is often brought in from abroad. He also said migrants and refugees had played a key role in the National Health Service (NHS) during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I just think we owe a lot to refugees, and most people are descended from refugees at some point.
“They have given so much to this country and still continue to do so in terms of the jobs they do, which we have witnessed during the pandemic in the NHS carers and key workers.”