The England international is now an MBE on the back of his efforts to end child poverty by creating a level playing field for all ages and races
Marcus Rashford has been explaining why he will never heed the calls of some to “stick to football”, with the Manchester United and England forward determined to continue with his efforts to end child poverty.
The 23-year-old began that fight during the first coronavirus-enforced lockdown of 2020, with a prominent figure in the sporting world using his public standing to put pressure on the UK government when it came to a free school meals programme.
Rashford’s quest has seen him awarded an MBE and despite remaining fully committed to his day job as an international-calibre sports star, he will not be putting down a political baton regardless of what any detractors may say.
What has been said?
Speaking in The Spectator, Rashford has said: “In football, you are always stronger in numbers. With a shared focus, people from different cultures, nationalities, races, sexual orientations, political affiliations and religions can unite to achieve incredible things.
“When you pull on that national team shirt, rivalry subsides and is replaced with a shared desire to win. When fans step into that stadium, for 90 minutes they feel a part of something, a collective, able to leave any worries outside those turnstiles. To many it is a religion. To me, it’s still a dream.
“You grow up idolising figures in this game who turn out to be just like you and me. Human beings with human emotions and who, more than likely, have overcome some level of adversity in their career.
“Disappointingly for some, the ‘stick to football’ advice doesn’t cut it where I’m from. See, when my community had nothing to call their own, they always found something in the way of kindness to give me.
“I am a product of their compassion, of their drive and of their willingness to offer me more than what was on my doorstep. I’d be doing that community and my family a disservice if I did not use my platform to speak on behalf of the millions whose voices are not being heard.”
He added on spreading his wings outside of football: “Party politics has never interested me. What interests me is working together to find sustainable solutions.
“The long-term effects of a global pandemic will not be resolved with short-term relief packages. So it’s time for us all to unite with the passion we saw during the Euros and make sure every child in this country is given a fair chance, and that child hunger is eradicated. No child should be starting 20 yards behind any other just because of the community they live in. It’s time to level up.”
The bigger picture
Rashford has become involved in political campaigns involving free school meals, Universal Credit and literacy.
At the same time, lofty standards are being maintained as a superstar performer for club and country.
He was part of the England squad that reached the final of Euro 2020 and will be hoping to chase down major honours with United in 2021-22.
Shoulder surgery is currently keeping him on the sidelines, with no minutes taken in this season as yet, but he is back in light training at Carrington and is expected to return at some stage during the autumn Premier League schedule.