'You’re still my hero': Hartlepool youngster pens emotional letter to Marcus Rashford
A thoughtful youngster has written a kind letter to England footballer Marcus Rashford in the hope it would make him smile.
Sunday’s historic Euro 2020 final ended in heartbreak for England after the Three Lions lost 3-2 on penalties to Italy following a 1-1 draw.
The Manchester United star and England colleagues Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were targeted with racist abuse on social media after missing their spot kicks.
A mural dedicated to Rashford in Manchester was also vandalised.
Eleven-year-old England fan Alfie Aylett, from Hartlepool, decided to show his support for the anti-poverty campaigner.
Despite feeling “down in the dumps” as he is currently self-isolating because of a positive Covid-19 case at his school bubble, Alfie wrote a letter to him, hoping it would make the footballer smile.
The letter reads: “To Marcus Rashford
"I watched the game last night and cheered you all on from start to finish.
"Please don’t feel bad it was not your fault.
"Also please don’t listen to the hate. You’re still my hero.
"Keep being you.”
Alfie’s mum, Katie Todd, of Seaton Carew, said: “He watched the match on Sunday and he got really upset.
“It was such an emotional roller coaster. When it came to penalties, Alfie couldn’t look half the time. He just burst out in tears when they lost.
"But then the next day, he’s seen so much hate and nasty comments about the England team.
"He said ‘Mum, can I write a letter to Marcus? I just want to make him smile. Do you think he will see it?’
She continued: "I just thought if everybody could think like an 11-year-old, the world would be a kinder place, wouldn’t it?
Alfie, who supports Pool and Spurs, has been self-isolating since Thursday, which means he is sadly missing out on his last week at primary school.
The youngster is due to start secondary school at Dyke House in September.
Katie,37, who had to stop working five years ago because of illness, has said Alfie also helps her around the house a lot.
She said: "He’s really kind. He’s so friendly. He’s just a lovely boy. He’s doing great at school.
"He always makes me smile.”
*Hartlepool youngsters show their support for Three Lions: Page 8