And that’s that then. It did not come home.
I have always had a love / hate relationship with England.
On one had I am a proud English. I celebrate St George’s Day. I have an England flag tattooed on my leg. If there is an Englishman playing in the lawn bowls, I back them.
I have travelled the world to watch the England cricket team, I rarely miss a six nations game.
But then I have always struggled to connect with the England national team.
It might be because my love for The Arsenal is so strong that I struggled to detest Gary Neville, John Terry and Frank Lampard one Saturday and was then expected to cheer them on the next.
It is also partly to do with me finding international football outside of tournaments boring. Predictable qualifiers and stale friendlies just get in they way of domestic football.
But then I was out in France at the last Euro’s, and when international tournaments come round I tend to get caught up in it all.
I think maybe my dislike for international football is it disrupts the domestic scene. And then in the summer as there is no Arsenal, I fall in love with England.
This England team is a little bit different to those of yesteryear though. They are a lot more likeable.
The players do not have the arrogant swagger or clammer for celebrity. And the WAGs are not desperate to become famous. It just seems like a good bunch of lads.
And no more so than Bukayo Saka.
The picture of Saka on a unicorn lifted the nation.
He has such a child-like joy to everything he does. Like a one year old having their first birthday. So excited without fully realising what is going on.
And that is why I was absolutely gutted for him yesterday.
Why was he on the 5th penalty? Why not Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Luke Shaw or even Jordan Pickford – all of whom have taken senior penalties?
Yesterday was Saka’s first ever penalty at senior level.
To put the youngest man in the squad on the crucial 5th penalty just felt like a mistake before Saka had even taken it.
Gareth Southgate is the man to blame for England failing to bring it home.
He failed to change the game with subs, bottled hooking Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling when both were so poor. Bought on Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho with 2 minutes to go to take penalties. And then had Saka on the 5th.
My only hope is that missing that penalty and the abuse that followed does not change Saka. That he keeps that smile on his face. The joy.
I think Ian Wright has a big job to help Saka. He is the man to reach out. To play the “uncle” figure.
The abuse towards Saka was shocking, disgusting, but not surprising.
I have called out social media many times on this blog for a lack of action. For allowing a torrent of racist comments to exist within their networks. Unfortunately the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube turn a blind eye to the abuse. They rely on the abusers to boost their Daily Active Users, which in turn boosts ad revenue.
The sad thing for me is all England fans end up tarred by the same brush.
99.9% of those that follow England do so in good faith. They do not throw plastic chairs, look for a row, or abuse people on Twitter. But it is the 0.1% that end up on the front pages.
You get 3 or 4 idiots and suddenly 50million Englishmen are labelled as racist.
I hope Saka gets cheered at every ground he goes too next season – I think the days of the David Beckham lynch mob are a thing of the past.
As Arsenal fans, it will be down to us to build the young man back up.
Pre-season games start this week so if you are going to one of the games, sing his name loud and clear.
Oh, and for those couple of Arsenal fans that were abusing Saka. Stop pretending to be Arsenal.