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England squad will all make sure Bukayo Saka keeps his head up – Luke Shaw

By July 12, 2021No Comments

Luke Shaw insists England lost the Euro 2020 final as a team and said he would give Bukayo Saka “a big hug” of support following his miss in the penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy.

Saka saw his spot-kick saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma as Italy won the shoot-out 3-2 to deny England a first major trophy in 55 years.

The 19-year-old had come off the bench having started the semi-final win over Denmark but was left in tears following his miss, with manager Gareth Southgate taking the blame for deciding who took penalties.

England squad will all make sure Bukayo Saka keeps his head up – Luke Shaw PLZ Soccer
Saka saw his penalty saved as Italy won the Euro 2020 title. (Mike Egerton/PA)

Saka was then targeted with online racist abuse but – before those issues came to light for his team-mates – Shaw said the squad would be there for the Arsenal forward, as well as Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who also missed.

“He’s devastated,” Shaw said of Saka, who he had labelled a “little brother” earlier in the tournament.

“But I think the most important thing is for us now as a team to be there for him and give him a big hug and tell him to keep his head up.

“It happens. It is a penalty shoot-out – anything can happen, as a lot of people know. It is an experience he will learn from but we will all be behind him, he knows that.

“It is not just him, though. There’s Rashy and Sanch also. We’re with them all. With this team there are no individuals who cost us.

“The squad in general, the togetherness, is definitely there. You could see that even after the game and that huddle and the way we were with the lads who missed.

“We are all together in this. Like I said, we win as a team, we lose as a team. We all lost tonight.”

Shaw had given England an early lead in the final with his first international goal but Leonardo Bonucci’s equaliser meant penalties were required to decide the tournament.

England squad will all make sure Bukayo Saka keeps his head up – Luke Shaw PLZ Soccer
Saw had put England in front with the fastest goal in European Championship final history. (Mike Egerton/PA)

Shaw had already suffered penalty heartbreak with Manchester United as they lost the Europa League final on a shoot-out to Villarreal in May.

“It is a massive learning experience,” he added.

“I have had it tonight and I had it in the Europa League as well. It is not what I want, but it is experience. Experience I can only learn from.

“I want to push myself even more because it hurts a lot and we want to be on the winning side of course.

England squad will all make sure Bukayo Saka keeps his head up – Luke Shaw PLZ Soccer
Gareth Southgate and his players were left dejected after losing the shoot-out. (Mike Egerton/PA)

“It is devastating. Gutting. It is of course not what we wanted. I think we felt very confident. We felt in a good way.

“We felt like we were going in the right direction with our performances. We are devastated. We gave everything and just came up short.

“But it was a step in the right direction in terms of what we wanted to achieve – a (Euros) final, that’s the first time in history that has happened.

“But it is not just me, it’s the team. That is not enough. We wanted to win but as I say we came up short.”