Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has offered his staunch backing to Marcus Rashford, after vile abuse aimed at him following his penalty miss.
The forward was one of three England stars to miss from 12 yards as the Three Lions lost to Italy in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final. While pundits such as Roy Keane offered their usual verdicts, the focus shifted considerably after the trio received racial abuse online. Furthermore, a mural celebrating the 23-year-old’s work in Manchester was defaced.
As such, Rashford released a lengthy statement on Monday evening. The 23-year-old insisted that he will “never apologise for who I am and where I came from”.
In response, supporters have replaced the vandalism on the mural with messages of support.
Speaking to United’s official website, Rashford’s manager Solskjaer also offered the player his backing.
“You know the thing is when you step up to take a penalty, I think you’ve already won,” the coach said. “You’ve taken on the responsibility and I’m sure many of the players are hoping I don’t want to take a penalty.
“So I think it’s a great character trait to step up and say I will deal with it, [and] the consequences.
“You might be the hero or the one who misses. That’s football. You learn from it and definitely come back stronger.
“I’ve not seen many people, at this club anyway, who lay down and say I’ll not take a penalty anymore. I know Marcus is going to put his hand up and say he wants to take one for us.”
England began the final in startling fashion, United left-back Luke Shaw scoring inside two minutes.
Indeed, that strike took the mantle for the fastest-ever goal scored in a European Championships final.
The 26-year-old’s fantastic displays at Euro 2020 followed his standout season with the Red Devils and Solskjaer subsequently lauded the player for his efforts.
Solskjaer hails Luke Shaw efforts
“I’m so happy for Luke,” the manager said. “I was watching it and ‘what’s just happened?’
“He started the attack and we’ve encouraged him to get into the last third.
“We know how technically gifted he is and skilful he is and he hit the ball very, very sweetly. He keeps his eye on the ball, straight laces and it’s margins again – off the post and in, not off the post and out.
“That’s football for you. Luke deserves all the luck he can get. He’s had a tremendous couple of years with us.”
Rashford and Shaw are now on a well-deserved break before returning to United ahead of the new season.