Ryan Bertrand has spoken about why he was compelled to help those affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy for the first time, in an exclusive interview with VERSUS.
The England and Southampton left back was one of the first high-profile voices to organise relief efforts for those who had been made homeless as a result of the fire, which left 71 people dead.
Bertrand – who grew up in London – says he wanted to help because he understood the community:
"...it was an event that I felt I could help. You can’t help all causes but this felt like it was on my doorstep and it felt like I had a relationship with these people. Those are the living conditions that I was raised in and it struck a nerve. I wanted to do more and take some responsibility...I don’t really see myself as a role model but it’s important that when I can affect something for the better, that I do. I want to be able to use who I am or who I know to make a difference."
In a wide-ranging interview, Bertrand also opened up on his business aspirations away from the football pitch, life at Southampton and how he feels grime has shaped a new generation of footballers in London.