England’s Marcus Rashford said the flood of support he has received after his mural was defaced has “left him on the verge of tears”.
A painting of the striker in Withington was daubed with graffiti following his penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final – with Rashford also targeted with abuse online alongside fellow forwards Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.
But in a show of solidarity, neighbours and residents have since moved to cover the damaged mural with uplifting messages – describing Rashford as “inspiration”, a “role model”, a “wonderful human” and a “hero”.
The Manchester United player has since posted online to show his appreciation after people fought back against the toxic response to England’s defeat on Sunday evening (July 11).
Rashford wrote: “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 decide 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 and where I came from.
“I’ve felt no prouder moment than wearing those three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of 10s of thousands.
“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.”
The footballer concluded his message: “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.”
Featured image: @MarcusRashford