BOX PROFILE SPECIAL: England's Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford in blue top laughing

Marcus Rashford training for the Euros 2020 beaming from ear to ear 

 

It’s been almost impossible to escape the Euro 2020 football tournament and if you’re English, it came to a heart-breaking end last weekend as the national team lost out to Italy in the penalty shootout moments before the end.

 

What happened next made it doubly devastating as the three players who missed their penalties (and all happen to be black) became the victims of a barrage of abuse both on and off social media.

 

marcus rashford top off on ptich

Tats your lot - Marcus was part of England's best team in 55 years

 

Marcus Rashford, 23, Jadon Sancho, 21 and Bukayo Saka, 19 were on the receiving end of some vile and disgusting language that has no place in any part of society, least of all directed at young players who have helped bring the national team to its first international men’s final in 55 years.

 

Marcus Rashford hails from Withington and Wythenshawe in Manchester and where he grew up, a mural has been in place since he came on to the national football scene. It represents how proud the local community are of Marcus and the work he has done to help children on and off the pitch.

 

marcus rashford training in pool marcus rashford training in pool

Water bloody good time Rashford and pals had during some aqua training 

 

Last summer Rashford was awarded an MBE for his work in making sure under privileged children received free school meals at a time when the pandemic was wreaking havoc on children living in poverty in the UK. He almost single handed changed the government’s position on the matter which in itself is astounding.

 

His reward for this and helping the team get to the final? The mural his community so lovingly maintain was daubed in racist rhetoric after England lost the final.

 

marcus rashford mural

marcus rashford mural

The mural of Marcus Rashford being repaired in Manchester

 

Football has been plagued with racism for many years but seemingly had been making some headway when it comes to representation and equality when it comes to race and the LGBTQ+ community as well.

 

The actions of some so-called fans has shamed the national sport and by attacking young black players for having the talent and courage to even be in the team in the first place show such bad sportsmanship.

 

Marcus Rashford is as inspirational as he is handsome and certainly doesn’t mind getting his England kit off, much to the pleasure of his legions of fans the world over. He released a statement which we have in full here and we defy you not to love him just a little bit more. Have you your back here at Box Marcus.

 

marcus rashford training in pool

It's important than such a hot player cools down often

 

“I don't even know where to start and I don't even know how to put into words how I am feeling at this exact time. 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. 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.

Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shout out my team-mates. This summer has been one of the best camps I've experienced and you've all played a role in that. A brotherhood has been built that is unbreakable. Your success is my success. Your failures are mine.

I've grown into a sport where I expected 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.

 

marcus rashford training in pool

Marcus is one of England's finest and deserves the spa treatment

 

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. I've felt no prouder moment than wearing those three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of tens of thousands.

 

I dreamt of days like this. The messages I've received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears. The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up.

 

I'm Marcus Rashford, 23-year-old black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that. For all the kind messages thank you. I'll be back stronger. We'll be back stronger.”

 

Sam Dowler

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