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UK fathers 'are top role models'

David Beckham is second only to British fathers when it comes to being a role model for young boys, according to new research.

The nationwide study of more than 1,200 boys and their parents found one in five boys, or 18%, look up to the former England captain.

However, 50% of the boys surveyed said their own father was their number one role model.

Other sports stars cited by young boys as top role models were Cristiano Ronaldo and Roger Federer.

The findings are in contrast to those of parents who favoured musicians, actors and even royalty among their role models with Madonna and Diana, Princess of Wales securing pole position with 14% each.

Other celebrities on the list included Jeremy Clarkson, Lord Alan Sugar, Bill Gates and Simon Cowell.

Louise Ellis, sport psychologist and performance consultant, said: "It's testament to Beckham's sheer hard work and determination both on and off the pitch, as a sportsman, a businessman, a father and a global ambassador. He's a winning inspiration for the new generation."

The research was conducted to mark the launch of Disney XD's Aim High campaign which offers boys a once-in-a-lifetime mentorship with their heroes.

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