As the dust continues to settle on England’s historic yet heartbreaking Euro 2020 campaign, we take a look at how the stars of the Three Lions have reflected on an amazing tournament and subsequent racial abuse.
From emotional reflections to standing up to Home Secretary, Priti Patel over fake reactions to racial abuse, these last few days have certainly seen emotions run high across England for fans and players alike.
We therefore take a look at how the Three Lions squad have reflected on the past six weeks, starting with a look at how the country united in response to despicable racial abuse.
‘You don’t get to stoke the fire…’
Following England’s emotional defeat on penalties to Italy in the Final after a 1-1 draw, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all subjected to racial abuse on social media after missing their spot-kicks.
Patel in response tweeted of feeling ‘disgusted’ to see racial abuse directed at the trio despite pre-tournament describing taking the knee as “gesture politics”.
I am disgusted that @England players who have given so much for our country this summer have been subject to vile racist abuse on social media.
It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable.
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) July 12, 2021
Aston Villa and England defender, Tyrone Mings consequently was unimpressed by her tweet and delivered a ruthless but powerfully charged putdown of the Home Secretary on Twitter, accusing Patel of stoking the fire of racism at the start of tournament then reacting in ‘pretend’ horror when racism takes place.
You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens. https://t.co/fdTKHsxTB2
— Tyrone Mings (@OfficialTM_3) July 12, 2021
Rashford meanwhile apologised to his social media followers for the missed penalty and praised his teammates, before speaking of his pride at hailing from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester and becoming the person who he is in spite of racial abuse.
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) July 12, 2021
A mural of Rashford in Withington was also defaced but the local community pulled together to turn the incident into a powerful message against racism and how it isn’t tolerated in society, leaving Rashford feeling ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘thankful’.
Overwhelmed. Thankful. Lost for words ♥️🏴 pic.twitter.com/PXC5H2GDtB
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) July 13, 2021
Jadon Sancho meanwhile waited until Wednesday evening (14 July) before expressing his thoughts on the campaign and iterated that his penalty simply ‘just wasn’t meant to be this time.’
Sancho also warned that ‘as a society we need to do better’ in the quest to stamp out racism and urged those receiving online abuse to ‘hold your heads up high and keep chasing the dream.’
— Jadon Sancho (@Sanchooo10) July 14, 2021
Chelsea and England defender, Reece James meanwhile noted that although losing is difficult, it enables us to ‘learn more about’ our society when losing in contrast to what lessons are gained when winning.
We learn more about the society when we lose, far more than we learn when we win.
— Reece James (@reecejames_24) July 12, 2021
Mason Mount added that Rashford, Sancho and Saka all deserve ‘nothing but praise and admiration’ for stepping up to take their penalties.
— Mason Mount (@masonmount_10) July 12, 2021
Borussia Dortmund midfielder, Jude Bellingham meanwhile has urged for further education and control on social media, as he admitted that these incidents were ‘hurtful but not surprising’ whilst praising Rashford, Sancho and Saka for showing ‘such top character.’
We win together and we lose together. So proud to have teammates with such top character. Takes huge bollocks just to volunteer. As for the racism, hurtful but not surprising. Will never get bored of saying that more needs to be done. Educate and control the platforms!✊🏽 pic.twitter.com/LHSBoZin8O
— Jude Bellingham (@BellinghamJude) July 12, 2021
Dominic Calvert-Lewin took to Twitter to make his view clear in that racists aren’t needed on social media or society, whilst referring to those who have supported the team as ‘real England fans’ as he thanked them for their support.
To the real England fans, thank you for your support this summer and to those of you abusing my teammates for having the courage to step up and take a penalty shame on you, we don’t need people like you on social media or in society. pic.twitter.com/iqNNju6gcH
— Dominic Calvert-Lewin (@CalvertLewin14) July 13, 2021
Captain, Harry Kane urged fans to support the trio and stated on Twitter that any online abusers are not England supporters and aren’t wanted.
Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high. They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night. If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an @England fan and we don’t want you. pic.twitter.com/PgskPAXgxV
— Harry Kane (@HKane) July 12, 2021
‘we’ve come so far…’
Away from the racism storm, several players also reflected on their tournament as Kane admitted that there will still be a feeling of ‘hurt for a long time’ yet feels like he and his teammates have smashed many barriers as they prepare to regroup for 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Last night hurts. It’ll hurt for a long time. But we’ve come so far and broken down so many barriers that this is not the end. We win together, lose together and will regroup together for the World Cup. Thanks for all your support this summer. pic.twitter.com/kUfW3zq2mn
— Harry Kane (@HKane) July 12, 2021
Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips described playing for England this summer as ‘an honour’ and feels ‘incredibly proud’ of what he and the team achieved despite the heartbreaking ending of a penalty shootout defeat.
We gave it our all. In the end it wasn’t meant to be but I’m incredibly proud of this team. Thank you to all the staff, my teammates and, most importantly, our fans, for their amazing support. It was an honour to have played for you over the past few weeks. We’ll be back ❤️🏴 pic.twitter.com/ATK4Ft9AKA
— Kalvin Phillips (@Kalvinphillips) July 12, 2021
Brighton’s Ben White spoke of feeling ‘gutted’ at Sunday’s defeat but reflected on being part of the squad as ‘the best time of my short career’ with the senior team.
What to say…gutted is an understatement. I have never been as proud of a group of people as I have with this lot. To spend six weeks with them has been the best time of my short career and I’ve loved every minute of it. pic.twitter.com/LjppbMYcli
— Benjamin White (@ben6white) July 12, 2021
Harry Maguire added that he hopes that the tournament gave the country ‘memories that will last a lifetime’ amidst the ongoing struggles of the Coronavirus pandemic.
A couple of days to reflect on our journey. An emotional rollercoaster. As a player and a fan I’m hurting but I hope we made everyone proud and gave people memories that will last a lifetime. We left everything out there but on the night it just wasn’t enough. pic.twitter.com/lxaDxWDVcO
— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) July 14, 2021
Phil Foden spoke of his joy at being part of the the unity within the Three Lions squad despite missing Sunday’s Final with a knock, whilst speaking out on the racial abuse of teammates as ‘disgusting’ and holds no place in football.
Being part of this group has meant so much. Winning together, losing together and always sticking together.
We’re all hurting right now but the racist abuse sent to some of my teammates after the bravery they showed on Sunday night is disgusting and has no place in the game. pic.twitter.com/0ZH0QqieK2
— Phil Foden (@PhilFoden) July 13, 2021
Jack Grealish tweeted of feeling ‘absolutely devastated’ but vowed to repay fans for their support, whilst praising manager – Gareth Southgate for his decision making throughout the tournament despite stating that he wished to take a penalty.
Absolutely devastated.. I can’t actually explain what it means personally the way the fans have acted this past 7 weeks.. To every single one of youse, I hope I can repay you… 😢❤️🏴 pic.twitter.com/Yl05trQDKr
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) July 12, 2021
I said I wanted to take one!!!!
The gaffer has made so many right decisions through this tournament and he did tonight! But I won’t have people say that I didn’t want to take a peno when I said I will… https://t.co/3mBpKyMoUV
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) July 12, 2021