Marcus Rashford mural defaced after England Euro 2020 defeat

image captionThe mural was vandalised shortly after England lost in a penalty shootout

A mural honouring footballer Marcus Rashford has been vandalised with graffiti following England's defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

The artwork in Withington, Manchester, was defaced shortly after England lost in a penalty shootout on Sunday.

Rashford, along with Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, missed a penalty in the 3-2 shootout and was targeted on social media after the game.

The prime minister has condemned racist abuse aimed at the players.

Greater Manchester Police have launched an investigation after the vandalism was reported to officers at 02:50 BST.

Ch Supt Paul Savill appealed for information and said: "Hate crime in any form is completely unacceptable and not welcome here in our city."

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  • Racist abuse of England players condemned

The artwork, based on a photograph by Daniel Cheetham and painted by street artist Akse, was created in collaboration with Withington Walls, a community street art project.

It was commissioned in recognition of the Manchester United player's work to tackle child food poverty.

Rashford's mother provided the quote on the mural, which reads: "Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose."

image copyrightReutersimage captionMarcus Rashford was one of three England players to miss in the penalty shootout

Ed Wellard, who co-founded Withington Walls, said he woke up to the news the mural had been defaced.

"I've come out to fix what I could immediately and cover up what I couldn't and hopefully we will get the artist out to come and fix it," he said.

"We dared to dream yesterday and our hopes were dashed but to wake up to this is more depressing. Racism seems to be more and more prevalent."

Boris Johnson described the abuse of players as "appalling," adding the team deserved "to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media".

"Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves," he said.

The FA also said it was "appalled" by the targeting of the three players following the defeat at Wembley.

A spokesman said: "We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team."

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