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All kicking off: Lineker triggers Twitter turmoil as he says young people should be ‘thanked for their diligence’ during pandemic

All kicking off: Lineker triggers Twitter turmoil as he says young people should be ‘thanked for their diligence’ during pandemic
Former England star-turned-TV pundit Gary Lineker has triggered an intergenerational clash after his suggestion that the UK should be grateful to youngsters for their behavior during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The vast majority of young people have been incredibly diligent during the pandemic,” tweeted liberal luvvie Lineker to his 7.8 million followers on Wednesday.

“They’ve sacrificed a year of what should be the time of their lives so that the elderly and vulnerable have a chance to live an extra year or more of their lives. We should thank them.”

The post from the World Cup golden boot winner drew a barrage of divisive responses, with some claiming the UK’s youth were no more or less worthy of thanks than the rest of the nation.

“I’m 66 and not ready to drop yet; I hope I’ve got another 15+ years ahead of me so what makes me any different to those who are younger? We’ve all sacrificed a year of our lives but they’ve got a lot longer to make up for it than the likes of me and my elders do,” one person replied.

“Yes, of course, but no one is chastising you like they are the young,” came the response from Lineker, 60.

“Young people round my way have continued to meet in groups and leave their litter everywhere. Forgive me if I don't feel sorry for them,” fired back one dissenter.  

“Yeah and the older generation sacrificed themselves through world wars Gary. Wonder how many said I'm not wearing a gas mask?” came another caustic response.

Another reply read: “Erm.. we should thank everyone! The young have done no different to anyone else. They have plenty of time to party and socialise so stop making out they have had it harder than anyone else!”

However, others backed Lineker, with the Match of the Day pundit sharing a response from an academic which read: “I always think of my students, who got to university and found themselves carrying the weight of the world in their tiny dorms. Yet they managed to study and write essays. I admire every one of them.”

“Boomers getting mad in the replies,” came another response shared by Lineker.

Realizing he had lit the touchpaper for an intergenerational face-off, Lineker himself added: “Extraordinary. Even the relationship between young and old has become tribal. Everything is them and us these days. All deliberately manufactured.”

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The top TV star’s post racked up more than 60,000 likes (and counting), and appears to have come after Lineker was irked by suggestions that the UK’s youngsters have been unwilling to abide by the rules during the pandemic.

That was a theme which also emerged last year when Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a youth-orientated BBC radio show“Don’t kill your gran by catching coronavirus and then passing it on” – warning that young people breaking the rules would a spike in cases.  

The UK is passing through a number of milestones on the roadmap to leaving lockdown, with the next step seeing a wide range of businesses – including pub gardens and non-essential shops – reopening next week.  

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