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Marcus Rashford send emotional letter after penalty miss and racist abuse following England’s Euro 2020 final defeat

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Marcus Rashford has vowed to come back stronger in an emotional open letter after missing his penalty in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.

Also thanking the majority of fans for their support after he was racially abused following the game.

The Manchester United forward – who has raised millions for charity during the pandemic and forced a government U-turn over free school meals – was subbed on deep into extra-time specifically to take a spot-kick.

But the usually nerveless striker dragged his shot against the outside of the post.

Teammates Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka also saw their efforts saved and the trio were all subjected to vile racist abuse on social media afterwards.

While a mural of Rashford was defaced – though the abusive graffiti was later covered with supportive messages and pictures.

Rashford, who has been carrying an injury for much of this year, apologised for not scoring his penalty but stood defiant against the abuse he received, speaking proudly about his roots and thanking fans for the support he has received after a heartbreaking 24 hours.

‘I don’t even know where to start and I don’t even know how to put into words how I’m feeling at this exact time,’ he wrote on social media on Monday evening.

‘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 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 teammates 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. One penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had gone differently.

‘Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shoutout to my teammates. 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.

‘Final. 55 years. One penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had gone differently.

‘Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shoutout to my teammates. 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.

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— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) July 12, 2021

‘I’ve grown into a sport where I expect to read things written about myself. Whether it be the colour of my skin, where I grew up, or, most recently, how I decided to spend my time off the pitch.

‘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 or where I came from.

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‘I’ve felt no prouder moment than wearing these three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of 10s 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 years 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.’

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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