Sam Radford

July 12, 2021

Inspired by a 19 year-old

So, it wasn't to be.

England lost to Italy on penalties in the final of the European football championship. 

Ultimately, the penalty shootout came down to England’s 19 year-old player, Bukayo Saka. Score and the shootout would continue, miss and the trophy would head to Rome. 

And he missed. 

You didn’t have to imagine the devastation and, no doubt, culpability Saka felt. He looked crestfallen.

But what does it say about someone that, at 19, his manager entrusted him with the fifth penalty of a penalty shootout? In a European final?!

The fact that he put his hand up to take the penalty says all you need to know.

And that the manager chose him over and above other older, more experienced players tells a story too.

Sadly, it didn’t work out this time.

But I for one am deeply inspired by Saka’s willingness to stand up and be counted. 

It’s easy to criticise from the sidelines. Or skulk away from putting ourselves on the line. 

But Saka put himself forward. And though at 19 it might seem he is a boy among men, he showed that nothing could be further from the truth.

What a man. What an inspiration.  


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@samradford |