England midfielder Jadon Sancho has insisted that “hate will never win” after finding himself the target of online abuse following his penalty shoot-out miss in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.
The 21-year-old, who is expected to move to Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund this summer, was targeted on social media along with Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka in the wake of the defeat at Wembley, sparking condemnation from both inside and outside the sport.
Sancho said in a post on his official Instagram account: “I’m not going pretend that I didn’t see the racial abuse that me and my brothers Marcus and Bukayo received after the game, but sadly it’s nothing new.
“As a society, we need to do better and hold these people accountable.
“Hate will never win. To all the young people who have received similar abuse, hold your heads up high and keep chasing the dream.”
Sancho’s spot-kick was saved by keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, as was Saka’s, while Rashford hit the post to hand Italy a 3-2 shoot-out victory after the game had finished 1-1 following extra-time.
The midfielder said: “I was ready and confident to take it. These are the moments you dream of as a kid, it is why I play football. These are the pressured situations you want to be under as a footballer.
“I’ve scored penalties before at club level, I’ve practised them countless times for both club and country so I picked my corner, but it just wasn’t meant to be this time.”
Sancho, who will likely be announced as a United player later this week, admitted his acute disappointment at the result, but is confident there is more to come from Gareth Southgate’s young squad.
He said: “I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on Sunday’s final and still feel a mix of emotions. I would like to say sorry to all my team-mates, coaching staff and most of all, the fans who I let down.
Sancho: England will learn
“This is by far the worst feeling I’ve felt in a long time. It’s hard to even put into words the real feeling, but there were so many positives to take away from this tournament though the defeat will hurt for a long time.”
Sancho added: “I am proud of this England team and how we have united the whole nation in what has been a difficult 18 months for so many people.
“Much as we wanted to win the tournament, we will build and learn from this experience going forward.
“I want to say a massive thank you for all the positive messages and love and support that far outweighed the negative.
“It’s been an honour as always representing England and wearing the Three Lions shirt, and I have no doubt we’ll be back even stronger! Stay safe and see you soon.”