A nine-year-old boy’s letter to Marcus Rashford, in which he tells England star that he will “always be a hero”, has gone viral after the team’s penalty shootout heartbreak against Italy.
Dexter Rosier penned the heartwarming words on Monday, after Rashford and fellow players Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka received a torrent of racist abuse online following their penalty misses.
A letter by son ❤️ pic.twitter.com/xKLmLNM6C9— Samantha Rosier (@SamanthaRosier1) July 12, 2021
The prime minister has condemned the “appalling” racist abuse of the trio on social media after their defeat on Sunday night.
Boris Johnson said the team deserve to be hailed as “heroes” following the Three Lions’ loss to Italy and not subjected to hatred online, adding that those who sent abuse should be “ashamed of themselves”.
The Football Association also issued a statement saying it is “appalled”, while the Metropolitan Police vowed to investigate.
Johnson tweeted on Monday morning: “This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”
Nine-year-old Dexter decided to tell Rashford that he is “such a good person” in the letter, shared on Twitter by his mother Samantha.
“I hope you won’t be sad for too long,” he wrote. “Last year you inspired me to help people less fortunate. Then last night you inspired me again, to always be brave. I’m proud of you, you will always be a hero.”
It was quickly retweeted by Piers Morgan, who added: “I think this young man speaks for the vast majority of people in this country.”
A mural in honour of Rashford was defaced within hours of his missed penalty, in what police are treating as a racist incident.
The word “F***” was scrawled over the huge artwork of the England footballer, painted on the side of a cafe in Copson Street in Withington, south Manchester. The words “shit” and “bastard” were also graffitied beside the word “Saka”.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said they were called at 2.50am on Monday to reports of the racially aggravated damage to the mural.
Chief Superintendent Paul Savill said: “This is disgraceful behaviour and will absolutely not be tolerated.
“Greater Manchester prides itself on being made up from a number of diverse communities, and hate crime in any form is completely unacceptable and not welcome here in our city.
“GMP takes crimes of this nature very seriously and an investigation has been launched.
“If anyone has any information that could help us to identify this offender, please do not hesitate to speak to police.”