It’s five days on from England’s heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to Italy in the final of Euro 2020.
The pain has eased slightly but Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka will no doubt still be devastated.
The trio missed the penalties in the shootout in England’s first final since 1966.
They were then subjected to vile racial abuse on social media.
All three have since spoken out about their penalty miss, the racist messages and the support they’ve since received.
Regarding the penalties, Rashford wrote: “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.”
Sancho said: “I was ready and confident to take it. I’ve scored penalties before at club level, I’ve practiced them countless times for both club and country so I picked my corner but it just wasn’t meant to be this time.”
Saka added: There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was with the result and my penalty. 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.”
Southgate’s decision to pick those three players – and the way he did it – has since been criticised.
Did the players have a choice? It seems as though Southgate just went around with his notepad and made the decisions himself. Also, putting a 19-year-old as the fifth penalty taker with the likes of Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling behind him in the pecking order left a lot of people scratching their heads.
However, footage has now emerged that shows Southgate telling the three players they will be taking penalties and which position they will be taking it. All three players nodded and looked confident and happy with the manager’s decision.
It was something that Spencer Morgan – Piers Morgan’s son – noticed and wrote: “This clip England have just released of Southgate asking Sancho, Rashford and Saka to take the pens. Not an ounce of fear to be seen. Respect.”
Rashford, Sancho and Saka were all ready and confident to take a pressure penalty but it just wasn’t to be on the night.
They deserve praise for stepping forward, not racist abuse for missing.
Quiz: Can you name these England one-cap wonders?