Marcus Rashford’s youth coach has insisted the England star has ‘nothing to apologise for’ after he said sorry for his penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final.
The Manchester United forward hit the post with his spot kick, while Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho also saw penalties saved as Italy beat the Three Lions in a night of heartbreak at Wembley.
England teammates, fans and other stars have rallied around the trio, with their clubs also coming out in support of the players after all three were targeted by vile racists who sent them abuse over social media.
Among them was England captain Harry Kane who sent a strong message to anyone who sent disgusting messages to players: “If you abuse anyone on social media, you’re not an @England fan and we don’t want you.”
Rashford also responded to the abuse and England’s final heartache, admitting he feels like he has ‘let everybody down’ and is ‘sorry’ for his penalty miss.
But the striker also insisted he will never apologise for who he is and where he comes from.
And David Horrocks, Rashford’s old coach at youth side Fletcher Moss Rangers, insisted the only feeling anyone should have towards the England man is pride, over what he has done off the pitch as well the way he carries himself on it.
Asked for his reaction to the abuse aimed at his former player, he told the talkSPORT Breakfast: “Well, where do you start? When you’ve got a club as diverse as Fletcher Moss Rangers is, it brings you to tears. It’s horrendous.
“We’ve just started an online petition for the government to do something about the racial abuse that happens online, it’s absolutely shocking.
“This young man has done so much for us and so much for the community and the country, he must be feeling so low, what else can the man do?
“He’s got no reason to apologise, absolutely not!
“We know what he’s done for the kids in our community, by getting the free school meals he must have easily put food on the plates of about 70 per cent of the children who are part of our club, let alone other kids across the country.
“That is a phenomenal thing to do, for him to do that and also what he does on the pitch, he inspires so many kids. What he’s done regarding getting kids reading at school and at home, it’s just so inspirational.
“This young man is a hero in everybody’s hearts, and whether they go to Fletcher Moss Rangers or not, he’s seen as a hero all over the country.
“He won’t go down in football history at this moment because he hasn’t really achieved much on the field, but off the field at some stage down the line if he should ever come out of the game, he will be an ambassador for so many different causes.
“He will go on and on to just become a great man. An even greater man.”
There were sorry scenes in Manchester on Monday morning as the residents of Rashford’s home town of Withington, Manchester woke up to graffiti defacing the famed mural of the 23-year-old star.
Rashford said the response from the local community, as they cleaned up the offensive messages and covered them with hearts, brought him to the verge of tears.
The mural has since been restored to its full glory by a local artist.
Horrocks added: “A lot of our kids went down to the mural and put hearts on it, because he’s one of our own. And I don’t just mean that as far as Fletcher Moss Rangers is concerned, he’s one of our own from Withington.
“When people walk past that there is an enormous sense of pride that he is one of ours.
“How can he apologise for who he is? He shouldn’t have to apologise for who he is, nobody should have to do that.
“On behalf of Fletcher Moss Rangers we’re just incredibly proud of what Marcus has done, what he continues to do and what he’ll do in the future.”
Ally McCoist supported the coach’s verdict, insisting Rashford has nothing to apologise for after missing a penalty as he is certainly not the first to miss from the spot in a big game.
“I really don’t feel he has the need to apologise for anything, I 100 per cent don’t,” said the Scotland and Rangers legend and talkSPORT host.
“Listen, he’ll be feeling disappointed but I don’t understand why he feels he has to apologise. He doesn’t have to apologise to anybody!
“He missed a penalty, dear me, 50 per cent of the people in that shootout missed one, five out of the ten!
“So, not for me, Marcus, 100 per cent you don’t have to apologise.
“Clearly he’ll be disappointed and he’ll be running it through his head for years to come, that goes without saying, but apology?
“Nah, don’t worry about that, mate.”