Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka will currently be reliving last night’s penalty miss over in his head, but he should be proud of his efforts this summer, with the whole of England having got behind him after a number of standout performances.
The Three Lions came so close to clinching their first international title in 55 years when battling their way to the final, only for our fate to be decided in a penalty shootout, which obviously didn’t go our way.
There is something about losing in such a way that hurts you even more, but you cannot blame any of the players for that, and the fact that they fought their way to get within the dying moments of the trophy being lifted, we should all be proud.
Former England and Man United defender Gary Neville wanted to pick out our youngster, who is only 19 years-old, for special praise after his tournament, and claims that we will all need to get behind him to help lift him back up after his painful penalty miss last night, as that shouldn’t be the defining moment in his career.
“Absolutely heartbreaking for the boy, but not only is Gareth Southgate going to have to cuddle him, the whole nation is going to need to cuddle him,” Neville told ITV watchers(via Football.London).
“Gone are the days whereby a penalty taker that misses gets criticised and lambasted. Everybody has loved this boy over the last few weeks and they’ll love him for the next few weeks as well.
“He’s been absolutely brilliant, every single one of them. The manager, the staff, the players have been outstanding through this tournament.
“That young man there (Saka) hold your head high because we’re going to look after him over the next few months.
“Gone are the days, we cannot criticise players for missing a penalty. Yes they’re disappointed, but well done to Italy, they deserve it.
“The lads fell just a bit short, but they’ve done us so proud.”
Last night was obviously painful to watch in the end, but the boys put in a great performance throughout the tournament, and in the end could only be beaten on penalties. We’ve come a long way, and with just 18 months until the next World Cup, we certainly have a lot to look forward to.
How long will it take for our attentions to turn to the World Cup in December 2022?