Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford has said he's 'lost for words' by the outpouring of support he has received.
Hundreds of people have taken the knee at a mural to Marcus Rashford in solidarity against racist abuse directed at three black players who missed penalties during England's Euro 2020 final loss.
Crowds gathered at the painting in Withington, Manchester, after abusive graffiti was daubed on it, less than an hour after the match ended on Sunday night. It is being dealt with by police as a racist incident.
Silence fell over the crowd as they took the knee, before chants of "black lives matter" came from the crowd.
Following the graffiti locals quickly covered up the writing with black bags before people began leaving supportive messages to the Manchester United star.
The artist behind the painting has now restored the artwork, but hundreds have continued to leave messages, flowers, flags and banners.
Rashford missed a penalty along with teammates Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka in the 3-2 shoutout.
Throughout Monday 12 July, well-wishers covered the abuse with messages of thanks and encouragement.
On Tuesday artist Akse P19 returned to his work to remove the abuse entirely.
Since then the messages have continued to grow, with many, including school children, making a special trip to voice their support.
In a statement Marcus Rashford said he "will never apologise for who he is or where he comes from" after he received torrents of racist abuse on social media following England's loss.
In a statement, he also said messages of support daubed on a defaced mural of his face left him "on the verge of tears".
Rashford posted a lengthy statement on social media where he apologised for his penalty miss in the shoot out.
The forward wrote: "The messages I've received today have been positively overhwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears.
"The communities that always wrap their arms around me continue to hold me up.
"I'm Marcus Rashford, 23-year-old black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that."
Rashford lived close to the area with his family before moving to Wythenshawe.
Founder of the project, Ed Wellard says he was "sad and angry" at the defacing.
He said: "That's the really sad thing, that this has become normal... that's what's really sad. I don't want this to be the society that I live in."
The mural, based on a photograph by Daniel Cheetham was created in November 2020 in collaboration with Withington Walls, a community street art project.
It was reportedly commissioned in recognition of the Manchester United player’s work to tackle child food poverty.
Chief Superintendent Paul Savill described the racist graffiti as "disgraceful behaviour" adding, it "will absolutely not be tolerated.
Liverpool's Mayor Joanne Anderson praised the three England footballers in a video message: