'Big respect' - City youngsters show support for England star Saka

England's Bukayo Saka stands dejected after missing during the penalty shoot out following the UEFA

England's Bukayo Saka stands dejected after missing during the penalty shootout during the Euro 2020 final - Credit: PA

Two Norwich City youngsters have sent their support to former Arsenal team-mate Bukayo Saka after his penalty pain with England in the European Championship final defeat to Italy.

Gunners winger Saka was the player selected as the Three Lions' fifth penalty taker in the shootout after the 1-1 draw at Wembley on Sunday evening, despite being just 19 years old.

His attempt was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma after Marcus Rashford had hit the post and Jadon Sancho has also had his spot-kick saved, wasting two penalty saves from Jordan Pickford.

The youngster was immediately consoled by team-mates and manager Gareth Southgate following the cruel moment of shootout disappointment, with Southgate knowing that feeling all too well from Euro 96.

England's Bukayo Saka is consoled by manager Gareth Southgate after missing during the penalty shoot

England's Bukayo Saka is consoled by manager Gareth Southgate after missing during the penalty shoot out following the UEFA Euro 2020 Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday July 11, 2021. - Credit: PA

However, today has seen the vast majority of England fans, senior football figures and politicians outraged after Saka, Rashford and Sancho were immediately subjected to disgraceful racist abuse on social media - leaving many upset at the inevitability of such a depressing situation.

Canaries midfield prospects Josh Martin and Matthew Dennis both know Saka well, having been in the same age group as they progressed through the Arsenal academy.

Martin - who is spending the season on loan at MK Dons - was with the Gunners from the age of eight and posted on his Instagram story with a picture of Saka, writing: "Big respect for you my bro. 

"Shows the character you always had, which has taken you to the level you're at now. Onwards and upwards bro."

Dennis - who was a regular for City's U23s last season - was with the North London club from the age of six and also posted a photo of Saka on his Instagram story, saying: "Family. Only forwards and upwards from now on big bro."

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City keeper Daniel Barden also made a few appearances alongside Saka for Arsenal U18s, although was in the age group above - including a 4-0 win over Norwich U18s at Colney in March 2018, in which Saka came off the bench and laid on a goal and an assist as a 16-year-old, with players including Max Aarons and Adam Idah in the City team.

Saka - who has played alongside Aarons at youth levels for England - subsequently made his senior debut for Arsenal at 17 and swiftly became an important player during the past two seasons.

He impressed at the Euros and already has nine England caps but now must deal with recovering from the horrible moment which always awaits someone when a major final goes to a shootout.

Three Lions boss Southgate addressed the situation at a press conference today, with police and Football Association investigations underway.

"For some of them to be abused is unforgivable, really. I know a lot of that has come from abroad but not all of it. It's just not what we stand for," said the England manager.

"We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.

"We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together.

"It's my decision who takes the penalties, it's not a case of players not volunteering or more experienced players backing out."

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