“It’s been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there’s probably not a word to quite describe how it feels. Final. 55 years. 1 penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had gone differently.”
England and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has apologised for his penalty miss during the Euro 2020 final shootout against Italy on Sunday.
Rashford along with his new Manchester United teammate Jadon Sancho and 19-year-old Bukayo Saka of Arsenal were subjected to racial abuse on social media following England’s defeat at the hands of Italy. Marcus Rashford’s mural in his home town of Withington was also defaced by vandals before it was covered in messages of support.
However, the 23-year-old added that he “will never apologise for who I am” after being racially abused online.
“I can take critique of my performance all day long. My penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in, but I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from,” he wrote.
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) July 12, 2021
Rashford was England’s third penalty take during the shootout after captain Harry Kane and defender Harry Maguire. Though Rashford sent Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma the wrong way, scuffed his spot kick against the post.
”I’ve always backed myself for a penalty but something didn’t feel quite right.
During the long run-up, I was saving myself a bit of time and, unfortunately, the result was not what I wanted. I felt as though I let my team mates down. I felt as if I’d let everyone down. A penalty was all I’d been asked to contribute for the team. I can score penalties in my sleep so why not that one? It’s been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there’s probably not a word to describe how it feels.”
In a moving statement on Twitter on Monday evening, Rashford praised his England teammates, “Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shout out my team mates. This summer has been one of the best camps I’ve experienced and you’ve all played a role in that.”
A brotherhood has been built that is unbreakable. Your success is my success. Your failures are mine,” he added.
The Metropolitan Police is investigating the abuse and said “it will not be tolerated”, while the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) has also launched an investigation.
Addressing the online abuse received and the vandalisation of his mural, Rashford wrote: “I’ve grown into a sport where I expected to read things written about myself. Whether it be the colour of my skin, where I grew up, or, most recently, how I decide to spend my time off the pitch…I’ve felt no prouder moment than wearing those three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of 10s of thousands.
“…The messages I’ve received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears. The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up.
“I’m Marcus Rashford, 23-year-old black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that. For all the kind messages thank you. I’ll be back stronger. We’ll be back stronger.”
England captain Harry Kane also hit out at the detractors and said “You’re not an England fan and we don’t want you.”
“They deserve support and backing, not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night. Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up and take a pen when the stakes were high. If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an England fan and we don’t want you.”
(With Agency Inputs)