Lineker, who has formed a key part of the BBC’s Euro 2020 coverage, has been an outspoken critic of the Government, and, in particular, Home Secretary Priti Patel’s tough crackdown on migrants coming to the UK. His view saw him welcome an asylum seeker to his house in Surrey last year as part of the “Refugees at Home” campaign. Lineker’s decision became public after a record number of over 400 migrants crossed the English Channel in one day, but he has been calling for action for some time now.
In 2016, he tweeted: “The treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist and utterly heartless. What’s happening to our country?”
He was talking after suggestions from the likes of Conservative MP David Davies that child migrants should have teeth checked to verify their age.
Following backlash online, Lineker added: “Getting a bit of a spanking today but things could be worse. Imagine, just for a second, being a refugee having to flee from your home.”
And Ms Sturgeon seemed to agree, quoting his tweet with the comment: “Liking Gary Lineker more and more.”
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also chipped in.
He said: “I admire Gary Lineker for showing Britain at its best: compassionate, welcoming, and standing up to fear and division.”
More recently Lineker explained the reasoning behind his decision to house a refugee.
He told Good Morning Britain (GMB) last year: “Every time I ever tweeted support to these poor refugees and their dreadful plight having to flee their countries, I used to always get this ‘why don’t you have them in your home’.
“The more I thought about it, I thought ‘well actually I would’ – my kids are grown up now and I have a bit of space.”
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It read: “When I was moving to your home, I was worried that you might be unfriendly and conservative but it was all reverse what I thought.
“During my stay in your beautiful home, I never felt that I am a stranger or guest but it seemed to me as if I am a member of your family.
“I can never forget your hospitality, love and company that you and your lovely respectful children gave to me.
“There is a saying in Balochi language, that if you give me a glass of water, I owe you my entire life. In fact, you did more.
“Best wishes, Rasheed.”