Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes has sent a touching message to Marcus Rashford after his penalty shootout miss for England on Sunday night. The 23-year-old fluffed his lines from 12 yards as Gareth Southgate’s side lost to Italy at Wembley. But the footballing world, rightly, have rallied round him in the short time since.
England took the lead against Italy through Luke Shaw, only for Leonardo Bonucci to equalise and then force extra time and penalties.
Then, in the shootout, Rashford missed his effort.
The England international’s shot hit the post, with Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka also missing as England lost out on the chance to win a first major tournament since 1966.
After the incident, loathsome trolls on social media bombarded all three players with racist abuse. But the footballing world has been quick to support the trio, who helped the nation dare to dream this summer.
And Fernandes, who plays alongside Rashford at United, has now sent a touching message of support.
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“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.
“Final. 55 years. 1 penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had of gone differently.”
Both Southgate and the FA has condemned the racist abuse Rashford, Sancho and Saka have received over the past 48 hours.
Southgate said: “It’s just not what we stand for.
“We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.
“We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together.
“It’s my decision who takes the penalties, it’s not a case of players not volunteering or more experienced players backing out.”
The FA also insisted anybody responsible is not welcome in football.
“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team,” they said.
“We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.
“We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences.
“Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”