Marcus Rashford has apologised for missing a penalty in the Euro Cup final but said he "will never apologise for who I am" after the England striker was subjected to racist abuse following the Three Lions' loss in the summit clash against Italy.
Italy ended England's dream to win the Euro 2020 at the Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka all missed the chance to net goals in the penalty shootouts. The English players were then abused on social media.
"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," said Rashford in a statement on Twitter on Monday evening.
"I can 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. All I can say is sorry," he added.
The 23-year-old footballer said he will never apologise for his roots and wished the final game had gone differently on Sunday.
"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 was not good enough, it should have gone in, but I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from."
The open letter received a lot of love from Twitterati who commented with kind messages.
Have a look.