“I learn something new every game. Every game is always different, no matter how you try and think about it beforehand”.Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford has achieved a lot for someone so young. At the age of 23, he is a professional footballer and philanthropist who has earned widespread praise as a talented player on the pitch for both England and Manchester United, and for his work off the pitch as a passionate and effective campaigner for social justice and child food poverty.
Marcus Rashford was born on 31 October 1997 in Manchester, England, and was brought up by his working-class mother, a single parent who worked long hours in three different jobs to feed her five children. But that wasn’t enough and the family had to rely on free school meals, food banks, soup kitchens and the kind actions of neighbours and friends.
Life changed for Marcus at the age of 11 when his mother managed to persuade Manchester United’s academy to allow him to join its youth training programme a year early in order to make sure he was eating properly. The programme provided food, accommodation and schooling close to the academy’s training facilities.
At the age of 18, Rashford scored a goal in his first team debut for Manchester United and, three months later, he became the youngest English footballer to score in his first senior international match. In his short career, Rashford has made 162 appearances for Manchester United, scoring 51 goals and assisting in another 26, and earned 40 caps playing internationally for England, scoring a further 11 goals. He has been compared by several pundits to Cristiano Ronaldo; indeed, Ronaldo himself said “Marcus Rashford reminds me of me”.
Off the pitch, Rashford has successfully leveraged his fame and social media, where he currently has 21.8m followers, to highlight social injustice by referencing his own experiences without anger or bitterness or attacking politicians. He said “I don’t have the education of a politician … but I have a social education having lived through this and having spent time with the families and children most affected. These children matter … and as long as they don’t have a voice they will have mine”.
In June 2020, he wrote an impassioned open letter to all UK Members of Parliament which resulted in the UK Government pledging £120m for a Covid-19 summer food fund for 1.3m pupils. Later in the year, he persuaded the Government to extend the food programme to support vulnerable families which has resulted in an additional £170m fund. Marcus has also helped to raise £20m for FareShare, a charity that collects and distributes surplus food.
In recognition of what he has achieved the Queen awarded Marcus an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in October 2020 for services to vulnerable children in the UK during Covid-19.
Marcus Rashford is our Rewire Hero of the Week.
“Only stay in competition with yourself … everyone’s journey is different”Marcus Rashford
Photo By Oleg Bkhambri (Voltmetro), CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (Adapted to B&W)