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England’s Marcus Rashford apologizes for missed penalty, thanks fans for positive messages

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England’s Marcus Rashford apologizes for missed penalty, thanks fans for positive messages

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England soccer star Marcus Rashford was on the receiving end of a flurry of racist taunts online after he missed a penalty kick in the final stages of the national team’s loss to Italy on Sunday night in the European Championship.

The online racism earned condemnation from Prince William and Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday.

Rashford released a statement on his missed penalty kick on Monday, and through all the criticism and hate he received online, the 23-year-old vowed to be back better than ever.

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“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,” he wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.

“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 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. Final. 55 years. 1 penalty. History.

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“All I can say is sorry. I wish it had gone differently. Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shoutout my teammates. 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. 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.

“I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty wasn’t good enough, it should have gone in but I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from. 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. I dreamt of days like this. The messages I’ve received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing 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.

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“For all the kind messages, thank you. I’ll be back stronger. We’ll be back stronger.”

England lost in penalties to Italy. The England national team, which also condemned the racism hurled toward Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, responded to the Manchester United star’s statement.

“Keep your head up, Marcus. We know you’ll come back stronger from this,” the team said.

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“Continue inspiring. Continue making a difference. We’re extremely proud of you.”

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