Thierry Henry reveals 'hero' message he sent Bukayo Saka after Euro 2020 final
'I dropped him a line to tell him that actually for me, you going to present yourself to take that penalty, you are a hero'
Thierry Henry has revealed the message of support he sent to Bukayo Saka after he received racist abuse following his missed penalty in the final of Euro 2020, in which he labelled him "a hero".
The Arsenal youngster was one of three England players to miss in the shoot-out as the Three Lions lost to Italy in the final, with Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford also missing their penalties.
All three players were subjected to racist abuse in the aftermath of the game, and Henry has revealed that he sent Saka a message after the game.
Henry also shared his personal feelings on the abuse that the England players received after the Wembley defeat, referring to his own experiences when stating that he felt sorry for those who were targeted.
"Whatever problem you have in society, at times you will see it also in the game," the Frenchman told GQ.
"What did I feel? I knew it was going to happen because it was the trend. It is just something that now, oh, let's do that.
"So when those guys miss the penalties, I was like, watch how they're going to get abused. And they did get abused. I felt sorry for them... it could have been me.
"And it was me. And it has been me. And it has been others. And it has been in the past. And it’s still going on."
— GQ Sports (@GQSports) December 8, 2021
Saka was just 19-years-old when he missed his spot-kick, while Sancho was 21 and Rashford 23.
The Arsenal academy graduate has previously spoken about the influence Henry has had on his career, with Henry praising Saka and fellow youngster Emile Smith Rowe for their impressive performances this season.
Henry - who scored 175 Premier League goals for Arsenal - told Saka that he was a 'hero' for stepping up to take a penalty in pressurised circumstances.
"I know Bukayo, so I dropped him a line to tell him that actually for me, you going to present yourself to take that penalty, you are a hero," the 44-year-old added.
"I didn't [care] actually, him scoring or not scoring. Even the courage to go in there, to go and take the penalty at his age, for me he's a hero"
Arsenal's No 7 has been in good form for the London outfit this season, registering two goals and two assists for the Gunners in the Premier League, while also scoring his first competitive goals for England in wins over Andorra and San Marino.
- Bukayo Saka given standing ovation by Brentford fans
- Bukayo Saka receives huge support from Tottenham fans in pre-season friendly
- Bukayo Saka releases first statement following racial abuse after Euro 2020 final