London, Feb 28(ANI): England striker Jermain Defoe has said that footballers have a duty to behave decently both on and off the field.
"Footballers have to be aware they are role models for kids. We're all human beings and people make mistakes," The Mirror quoted Defoe, as saying.
"You can't just stay at home, but it's World Cup year and you must live your life right or people will notice it. I want to be the best role model I can," he added.
Defoe further reckons a strict upbringing on a tough council estate in East London helped to point him in the right direction.
"I don't drink or smoke and I've never touched drugs. All I wanted to do was be a footballer, but I had to be disciplined. My mum drove me to football and watched me every weekend - she was brilliant," he said.
"A lot I used to play with have ended up in prison. It's very sad," he added.
In response, he has set up the JD Cup with children's safety initiative Kids Task Force, an annual football tournament to get kids off the streets and into sport.
The two-week event is to be held between 400 London five-a-side teams for the first time next month, where the winner will get 5,000 pounds and a chance to train with Jermain.
"We wanted 400 teams and the response was crazy. If I get just one kid away from crime and into a future with football, I'd love that," Defoe said. (ANI)