The World Cup is predicted to have an unexpected effect on baby names

The World Cup has had an unexpected influence on baby names [Photo: Getty]

ICYMI, football’s coming home.

While the World Cup has had an unexpected influence on fashion (hello #WaistcoatWednesday), it seems that England’s success on the pitch is also having an influence on baby names.

As well as fuelling a surge in waistcoat purchasing, England manager Gareth Southgate could also be set to inspire a popularity spike in the name ‘Gareth’.

According to a new survey by parenting site ChannelMum, 65% of parents believe the moniker ‘Gareth’ will make a comeback after the World Cup.

Having ranked at 117 in the popularity charts in 1996, the moniker plunged to 1,903 following Gareth Southgate’s infamous World Cup penalty miss the same year.

But, Gareth Southgate’s exploits as the new England manager have seen a sharp revival in interest in the name.

Fittingly, the Welsh name means ‘gentle’ and was first made popular by a legendary ‘brave and modest’ knight in King Arthur’s court.

The England manager isn’t the only footballer star inspiring parents-to-be

While 7% of tots already have a football-inspired name, 84% of parents say more mums and dads-to-be will turn to their favourite players for naming inspo.

The 1,198 parents surveyed predicted the biggest popularity surge will be for the name ‘Harry’, with 83 per cent expecting an uplift.

A further 77 per cent say there will be more baby Kanes, alongside almost half (48%) who expect to meet more ‘Jesses’ on the nursery run.

Among the more unusual names being considered by parents following the World Cup is Dele, with almost a fifth (18%) believing it will be a popular choice, despite it currently being unranked in the name charts.

A further fifth (21%) back Fabian, while a quarter (25%) predict the name Lion could claw its way into the most popular list.

Among the most-popular WAG-inspired names, Jordan Pickford’s girlfriend Megan Davison heads the top choice with 54 per cent of parents reportedly considering it.

Millie Savage, partner of John Stones, is also a popular pick, loved by almost half (49%) of those parents quizzed, while Ruby-Mae, Dele Alli’s model girlfriend has prompted 44 per cent to predict the name will be used more frequently.

WAG queen Rebekah Vardy’s traditionally-spelt name is also on the up, with a third (33%) expecting it to climb the name charts.

But not all football inspired names have seen a rise in use

A whopping three quarters of parents polled said the name Wayne had become far less popular due to former England star Wayne Rooney.

A further 11 per cent dropped David due to David Beckham, while 14 per cent also shunned Steven, due to Steven Gerrard.

Meanwhile a third of parents say they’d never consider any form of football name, whether or not England do actually manage to bring football home or not.

Welcome to the world baby Gareth [Photo: Getty]

Commenting on the trend baby names expert SJ Ljungstrom said: “Picking a football-inspired moniker used to be considered a baby names own-goal, but the World Cup could change all that. With the manager and team acting with grace and dignity, the names choices now seem fresh and modern rather than a little tacky.

“With Southgate’s growing cult appeal, Gareth could become a popular choice which cuts across class and UK regions, while Harry and Jesse are already on the up, and watch out for Kane to make a comeback too.”

Top Football Names

Harry – 83%

Kane – 77%

Gareth – 63%

Jesse – 48%

Jordan – 41%

Ashley – 32%

Kieran – 31%

Marcus – 30%

Kyle – 29%

Jamie – 27%

Lion – 25%

Fabian – 21%

Dele – 18%

Raheem – 11%

John – 6%

Top WAG Names

Megan – 54%

Millie – 49%

Ruby-Mae – 44%

Fern – 42%

Paige – 43%

Annabel – 40%

Rebekah – 33%

Annie – 21%

Katie – 19%

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