A TORY MP has been forced to backtrack over a vile WhatsApp message sent following Marcus Rashford's miss in England's Euro 2020 penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy.

GB News revealed the message from Dover MP Natalie Elphicke, sent to a WhatsApp group with fellow Tory politicians.

She wrote: "They lost – would it be ungenerous to suggest Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics." 

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The bitter message follows Rashford's widely praised campaign to pressure Boris Johnson's UK Government into providing free school meals for children in England.

The National:

After initially rejecting calls to extend free school meals to children from low-income families, the Prime Minister was forced into a U-turn. Johnson personally phoned the England footballer to tell him of the news. 

Rashford forced a second U-turn after raising concerns over the pitiful state of some of the food packages being issued.

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Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions in January, Johnson said: "I don't think anybody is happy with the disgraceful images that we've seen the food parcels that have been offered, they are appalling and they are an insult to families.

"I'm grateful by the way to Marcus Rashford has highlighted the issue and is doing quite an effective job by comparison with Keir Starmer in holding the Government to account for these issues."

Elphicke has today walked back her comments, suggesting she was caught up in the heat of the moment.

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Taking to Twitter following the leaking of her message, she wrote: "Last night I shared the frustration and heartbreak of millions of England fans. The team gave their all. Congratulations and onwards to the World Cup!"

The National:

She then issued a follow-up statement saying: "I regret messaging privately a rash reaction about Marcus Rashford's missed penalty and apologise to him for any suggestion that he is not fully focused on his football."

An anonymous Tory MP told the MailOnline that there were around 200 people in the group Elphicke posted to, adding: "It might have been something that many people might have been thinking, but probably best not to go there. It is pretty depressing that we can't have conversations among ourselves."