Bukayo Saka has been subjected to racist abuse after he missed the last penalty in England’s heartbreaking Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.
The 19-year-old Arsenal star came off the bench and took the fifth penalty during their shoot-out defeat to Italy.
Gianluigi Donnarumma saved Saka’s penalty which proved to be the crucial moment as Italy were crowned European Champions.
Sadly, in the immediate aftermath to the game, Saka has suffered sickening racial abuse with several disgusting posts on his Instagram account.
Saka was targeted with racist language and emojis on the social media website, on his most recent post from the day before the final.
The youngster has been one of the stars of the tournament for England, making four appearances and putting in some fantastic displays.
Saka was visibly distraught on the Wembley pitch following his miss, with his team-mates going up to console him and later on after the trophy presentation, his family too.
Southgate took full responsibility for the penalty defeat and told Saka he would not be left to suffer alone.
He told the BBC: ‘It’s down to me, I decided on the penalty takers based on what we did in training. Nobody is on their own, we’ve won together as a team.’
Saka took the fifth penalty over more experienced players including Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish.
Pundits agreed that Saka was brave for stepping up to take the penalty and urged that the country should get behind him.
ITV pundit Gary Neville said that it was ‘heart-breaking’ for Saka. He added: ‘Not only is Gareth Southgate going to need to cuddle him but the whole nation needs to cuddle him.
‘Gone are the days when a penalty taker that misses gets criticised. Everybody’s loved this boy for the last few weeks and we will love him for the next few weeks aswell.
‘He’s been absolutely brilliant, everyone of them have been outstanding through this tournament. That young man (Saka) hold your head high because we’re going to look after him the next few months.’
Ian Wright added: ‘He’s more than capable of taking that penalty I don’t think age plays a part in it. He’s brave enough to want to take it.
‘Should he be, of course he should he’s in the England team because he’s good enough. Obviously I’m devastated for everybody not just Bukayo.
‘He was brave enough to take one, Italy deserve a lot of credit for the way they’ve played this tournament.’