Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire spoke to The Sun about Arsenal star Bukayo Saka and the abuse he has received after missing his penalty against Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
The teenager was given the huge responsibility of keeping the Three Lions in the game. The burden of over 60 million people was on his young shoulders, and sadly, he couldn’t convert his spot-kick.
Saka was in tears after the game, as were Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, who missed their penalties as well. All three of them have received disgusting racial abuse on social media, and that is absolutely unacceptable.
Maguire, like many others, has jumped into Saka’s defence. He believes that the teenager should be praised, not abused, for taking such a crucial penalty, and admitted that he would never have had the courage to step up like the Arsenal youngster did on Sunday when he was 19 years old.
Harry Maguire: Bukayo Saka should be applauded, not criticised
The Manchester United skipper said: “When I was 19 or 20, I would have been standing there saying ‘I don’t want to take one’. There’s no chance I would have been putting my hand up at their age. So look at the courage and bravery of these young lads, look at the age of Bukayo, Jadon and Marcus.
“The things I have gone through have made me more confident and have given me belief. I am able to handle those situations better, now I am happy to take one and I executed it well. These people who are being abusive would not be able to handle the pressure.
“It is the highest amount of pressure you will feel, so to do it at their age and to show such bravery should be applauded. I spoke with the three lads afterwards. I have checked up with them and seen how they are but they are courageous lads. They should be applauded rather than criticised.”
The Insider’s View:
It really is heartbreaking to see three players under the age of 23 suffer such vile abuse after giving everything for their country. Saka, Sancho and Rashford have made the whole footballing world proud and they only deserve praise and applause.
It’s time for all of us to take a big stand against racism now. There is no place for that in our society and every offender who hides behind their screens after sending vile and disgusting abuse should be held accountable.
UEFA, FIFA and all the other governing bodies have tried to tackle online abuse, but it’s nowhere near enough. Stricter laws have to be put in place to make sure that racism is completely kicked out of football and our society, and it has to happen now.