Euro 2020: Marcus Rashford says he 'will never apologise' for who he is or where he comes from following a wave of racist abuse after England's loss in Euro 2020 final
Marcus Rashford has said he “will never apologise” for who he is or where he comes from after a wave of racist abuse in the wake of England’s loss to Italy in the final of Euro 2020.
England came agonisingly close to winning a first major trophy since 1966, but a penalty shoot-out saw Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka fail to score from 12 yards, ultimately crowning Italy the champions. All three were then subjected to abusive posts on social media.
A mural in honour of Rashford in Manchester was defaced within hours of his missed penalty in what police are treating as a racist incident.
Figures within the sport, from the Government and even the Duke of Cambridge were united in their condemnation for the abuse.
Rashford shared his statement on Twitter on Monday evening saying he “didn’t even know where to start” because he felt like he had let everyone down.
He wrote: “A penalty was all I had been asked to contribute to 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 quite describe how it feels.”
"Final. 55 years. One penalty. History. All I can say is sorry.”
He continued on to say how grateful he was to be part of the team, and that while he will apologise and take criticism for how he played in the final, he will “never apologise” for who he is or where he came from.
He commended his own community for their love and support and concluded his statement with: “I’m Marcus Rashford 23-year-old, black man from Withington and Wythen, South Manchester.
"If I have nothing else, I have that.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has responded to Rashford’s words saying the players are a credit to their country, she wrote: “Forget football rivalry…these young @England players are a credit to their country, to sport and to basic decency.”
Rashford’s statement follows another England player, Tyrone Mings, hitting out at Home Secretary Priti Patel, who on Monday said she was "disgusted" at the racial abuse the players were facing following their loss, after having said at the start of the tournament that fans had a right to boo players for taking the knee in protest against racism.
The Aston Villa defender posted: "You don't get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as 'Gesture Politics' & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we're campaigning against, happens."
His tweet was in response to Patel's post on Monday morning which read: "I am disgusted that @England players who have given so much for our country this summer have been subject to vile racist abuse on social media.
"It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable."
England captain Harry Kane has told those behind the racist comments "we don't want you", while boss Gareth Southgate described the abuse as "unforgivable".
Kane wrote said: “Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up and take a pen when the stakes were high.
"They deserve support and backing not the vile racist abuse they've had since last night. If you abuse anyone on social media you're not an England fan and we don't want you.”