Southgate, Jake & Pickford surge in popularity as World Cup fever builds

Harry Kane & Co have added 2.25 million followers on social media since start of the tournament

Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Jordan Pickford among the biggest winners ahead of this weekend’s big Quarter Final game against Sweden

As #GarethSouthgateWould trends on social media, the nation is embracing all of the England World Cup squad, with Harry Kane & Co adding millions of new followers, according to data from Sportstar Influencer.

Kane alone has added more than 700,000 followers on social media since the start of the tournament in Russia, and the England team as a whole has attracted 2.25m new followers and now collectively boasts 65.6 million1followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Other notable increases have come from Jesse Lingard, with 395,000 extra followers, Marcus Rashford with 264,000 new fans, and Jordan Pickford, whose heroics in the Colombia game help have helped him rack up a 40% increase since the tournament began – he now boats over a quarter of a million people following him across the three main social networks.

Of course, where there are winners, there are also losers. Raheem Sterling, who could be said not to be having the best tournament so far, is doing less well. A mere 60,000 new fans since the tournament began, and this is for one of England’s star forwards. Perhaps not what he was expecting.

For the full England team ranking, click here.

Sportstar Influencer ( is a unique index of sports players created by Filter Digital that for the first time seeks to evaluate marketing value through a combination of social following, engagement metrics and team performance.

The platform uses social, engagement, media, and sentiment datapoints to rate and rank sports players against each other, comparing them at a local, national and international level. 

Providing an individual score for every single player and ranking both players and teams in order of their index score and their social following, Sportstar Influencer’s World Cup Influencer List ( shows how each player performs against their peers and on each social network. 

When it comes to England’s opponents in this Saturday’s Quarter Final, social media is a lot less significant to Sweden’s players – it’s telling that the only Swedish international with a social following in seven figures, Victor Lindelöf, plays in the Premier League for Manchester United.

Sweden team ranking:

However, on the world stage England’s players remain very much second fiddle - while the top English player is Harry Kane with 9m followers, he doesn’t make an appearance in the overall rankings until 65th place.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Portugal’s Ronaldo is the most followed player in the world, with 326.2 million fans on social media:

Some key influencer factoids from the World Cup so far:

- Ronaldo’s social media following is equivalent to 40 Harry Kanes

- Of the Top 20 ranked Goalkeepers, Defenders, Midfielders and Forwards, England sneak in at the bottom of the Defenders table only

- The total combined following of all Saudi Arabia players is beaten by Romelu Lukaku on his own

- The total combined following of all Russia players is equaled by Kevin Trapp - Germany’s 2nd goalkeeper

- England’s Danny Welbeck has more followers than Tunisia

- Portugal’s total followers are 3,439% greater than their entire population (thanks to Ronaldo)

- The Argentina team’s total social following is 4.48 times the overall population of England

“The sports industry is becoming increasingly important to brands and sponsors, who are seeking to use influencer marketing to place their products in front of their target audiences,” said Oliver Morrison, CEO at Filter Digital.

“By understanding how players rank against each other in their own sports, as well as across multiple sports, brands and sponsors can take better decisions over where they spend their budgets.”

Useful Links:

World Cup Top 20 Forwards:

World Cup Top 20 Midfielders:

World Cup Top 20 Defenders:

World Cup Top 20 Goalkeepers:

Sportstar Influencer has also produced influencer rankings for the following sports and competitions: 

Premier League:

Formula One:

Wimbledon/ATP Tour:

1 As of July 4th, 2018

About Filter Digital
Sportstar Influencer was created and is developed by Filter Digital (, a digital agency that has a strong background in consultancy, development, CRM and analytics. Founded by Oliver Morrison and Paul Halfpenny, and working with brands such as Crystal Palace F.C., JD Wetherspoon, House of Garrard and Medivet, Filter Digital have a strong track record in the creation of successful side projects in addition to impressive and engaging client work.