Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling won an award at the BT Sport Industry Awards for his stance against racism in football.
The 24-year-old, who has been subjected to several incidents of racism in the last year, has often spoken out in criticism of many in the media's portrayal of black players, and has regularly called for severe punishments for both clubs and fans who have been found guilty of using racist language.
He said: "When the next generation come through, you have to set the example. Coming through at Liverpool I had people around me like Steven Gerrard I looked up to. Looking at him I thought what can I do within myself to be half the person and player he was.
"You take little things and each year, try and develop not just on the field but off it. I was just speaking about my personal experiences, I didn't expect it to get so much attention.
"I just wanted to bring it to the attention of my audience on Instagram. It's been really pleasing to see people listening and trying and do better."
"I've worked with Raheem now for around five years and to have seen his maturity as a person has been lovely to watch," Southgate added.
"This is about his own personal improvement, his improvement on the field and his recognition he can make a difference off the field. That has been increasingly powerful over the last six months and had a massive impact on British society I think."