Bukayo Saka breaks his silence as new footage emerges from Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho as they jet off overseas for a rest.
The 19 year old Arsenal player spoke for the first time since missing a penalty in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy, claiming that he knew instantly that he would be targeted by racist abuse.
He was one of three penalty takers for the Three Lions that missed their spot-kick, along with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho.
Both Rashford and Sancho shared their thoughts and now Saka has spoken out having been the victim of racist abuse online.
I have stayed away from social media for a few days to spend time with my family and reflect on the last few weeks. This message won’t do it justice how grateful I am for all the love that I have received, and I feel that I need to thank everyone who has supported me.
It was an honour to be part of an England squad that leads by example, they are brothers for life and I’m grateful for everything that I have learnt from every one of the players and staff who worked so hard. To help that team reach our first final in 55 years, seeing my family in the crowd, knowing what they’ve given up to help me get there, that meant everything to me.
There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was with the result and my penalty. I really believed we would win this for you. I’m sorry that we couldn’t bring it home for you this year, but I promise you that we will give everything we’ve got to make sure this generation knows how it feels to win.
My reaction post match said it all, I was hurting so much and I felt like I’d let you all and my England family down, but I can promise you this.. I will not let that moment or the negativity that I’ve received this week break me.
For those who have campaigned on my behalf and sent me heartfelt letters, wished me and my family well – I’m so thankful. This is what football should be about. Passion, people of all races, genders, religions and backgrounds coming together with one shared joy of the rollercoaster of football.
To the social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me, Marcus and Jadon have received this week. I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.
There is no place for racism or hate of any kind in football or in any area of society and to the majority of people coming together to call out the people sending these messages, by taking action and reporting these comments to the police and by driving out the hate by being kind to one another, we will win.
Love always wins. Bukayo Saka
– STATEMENT ENDS –
— Bukayo Saka (@BukayoSaka87) July 15, 2021
England added: ‘You should be incredibly proud of the role you played in our incredible journey this summer, Bukayo. Sunday will not define you, there’s so much more to come. Keep your head held high.’
Rashford and Sancho will now spend their time away and getting some rest in Turks and Caicos, before returning to training.
They have flown to Providenciales, a picturesque island in the Atlantic Ocean, which is on the UK Government’s green list and will provide the trip with the perfect backdrop while they soak up the sun.
Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho are jetting off to their holiday. ✈️ pic.twitter.com/EJGUXDer4M
— FutbolBible (@FutbolBible) July 15, 2021
Rashford opened up about missing the penalty, saying: ‘I’m Marcus Rashford, 23-year-old black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, south Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that.’
Sancho wrote: ‘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.
‘This is by far the worst feeling I’ve felt in my career. 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. My first thought before going into any football match is always “How can I help my team?, how am I going to assist? how am I going to score? how am I going to create chances?”
‘And that’s exactly what I wanted to do with that penalty, help the team. 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.’
Whilst Bukayo Saka breaks his silence as new footage emerges from Rashford and Sancho, Twitter users gave their thoughts…
@ReeceDSport: Don’t let anyone tell you anything other than what an incredible human being and truly magnificent footballer you really are
@AntoninoGarg: Only 19yo and you had courage to take a pen in a final, it means that, as we say in Italy, “you have the balls”. Go on proud man
@AidanWalshMUFC: Second last paragraph speaks volumes. The world is a broken place
@splbanter: you are a fine young man.. a credit to those around you. wish you nothing but the best for your career. saying this as a Scotsman.. just not when you play us. 😉
@charlotteukcity: Saka, we’re SO proud you represent England. Your talent & courage are inspirational. At just 19 you played for England in the EUROs & contributed to your team getting so far!! Everything is on course for an exceptional future for you. Believe in it! Believe in you! Have faith!
@buttysbets: All the real football fans know this and will back you. You and the rest of the England squad are incredibly talented. You definitely exceeded mine and many others expectations. Ignore the haters, and keep your head high. You did your family and your whole country proud.
@WelBeast: What a powerful message. Love always wins. You have done yourself, your country, your family and fans proud. Keep your shoulders high and know that we’re all proud of you and that you have our unconditional support. At 19 the journey has just begun for you. Chin up.
@AFCWaIter: You’re a 19 year old who’s won POTS for Arsenal, starting games for England and helped them reach a final for the first time in 55 years and you had the courage to take the most important penalty, when nobody else would.
@mi_chelle4278: You don’t need to apologise sweetheart! I’m just so sorry that you’ve received those comments. Please don’t beat yourself up look after yourself x
@SamueILFC: Didn’t need to apologise for trying to do your job, you were excellent lad with a massive future ahead of you.
@JagerShakes: You are a credit to everyone in your life Bukayo & a perfect example of the “Remember who you are what you represent” sentiment. We are all so very proud 2 have u at The Arsenal. Can’t wait 2 watch u achieve every success you deserve. Love always wins. We will drown them out
We love you so much Bukayo, God bless you and we can’t wait to see you play for Arsenal again. Enjoy this little video too 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/T394muX3IW
— C (@AFC_Carys) July 15, 2021
You will be back, stronger than ever. Can’t wait to see you back in Arsenal next season. Every single Arsenal absolutely loves you. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/0Z8LblXCFG
— Bhavs (@bhavss14) July 15, 2021
Matey – this pic alone gives you legendary status 😂 – but in all seriousness, horrible to see the comments made – no place anywhere for that! TRUE fans appreciate the all effort and will be looking forward to England squads of the future featuring yourself. Keep going 👊🏼✌🏼… pic.twitter.com/vJzQqAn16w
— Stevie_D (@stevedarney) July 15, 2021