"Final. 55 years. One penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had gone differently". These were part of Marcus Rashford's long apology for a poor showing at the Euros final. The Three Lions had managed to take Roberto Mancini's Italian side all the way through a full 90 minutes and then extra time with the scores level at 1-1 only to lose the game in a penalty shootout as Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed their spot kicks.
What followed the defeat were tears and criticism from the English fans who had been hoping to end their 55 year trophy wait. However, it didn't end there as many took to social media to express their disapproval of the young forwards and racially abuse all three of them including Marcus Rashford.
After being consoled and praised by some others, Rashford was able to get back online to say that he has "felt no prouder moment" representing England at Euro 2020 and that he "will never apologise for who I am and where I came from" regarding the racist abuses he recieved.
"I don't even know where to start and I don't even know how to put into words how I'm feeling at this exact time," "I've had a difficult season, I think that's been clear for everyone to see and I probably went into that final with a lack of confidence". "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 had 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 quite describe how it feels" Rashford wrote.
He went on to thank his teammates at England and express the joy he felt while playing and training together with them. He also praised those who encouraged him, especially his family and kinsmen who were quick to come to his rescue after being insulted. "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 tens of thousands. I dreamt of days like this. The messages I've received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response on 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, [a] 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" , Rashford wrote.