Manchester City have issued their full support to Manchester United and England hero Marcus Rashford, after he was subjected to vile racist abuse.
Rashford stepped up to take a penalty for England in the Euro 2020 final shoot-out on Sunday, but couldn’t find the target as Italy were victorious at Wembley.
In the aftermath of the game, Rashford, along with former City youngster Jadon Sancho and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, were racially abused on social media. A mural dedicated to Rashford in Withington was also defaced.
The football world and beyond have jumped to support the three England stars, but Rashford still felt the need to apologise for his missed spot kick. However, he vowed to never apologise for who he is as he addressed another depressing incident of racist abuse.
In a long statement, he wrote: “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 teammates down. I felt as if I’d let everyone down. A penalty was all I’d been asked to contribute to 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. Final. 55 years. 1 penalty. History.
“All I can say is sorry.
“I’ve grown into a sport where I expect 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,” he added.
“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.
“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.”
His tweet has been shared or liked over a million times, and among the replies was City, who showed that rivalries are insignificant when it comes to bigger matters such as racism and equality.
City said: “All of Manchester and all of England is proud of you, Marcus.”