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Footballer Marcus Rashford discusses fight to end child poverty

Footballer Marcus Rashford has been holding the government to account over its support for some of the UK’s poorest children during the pandemic.

And the Premier League star, 23, has said he wants to end food poverty and give every child a fighting chance to beat the odds – just like he did when he became one of Manchester United’s youngest stars

Posing for a striking shoot for WSJ, he said: ‘I’m a person that’s still close to his community. I see people going through what I was going through when I was younger. I just understand it.’ 

‘I see people going through what I went through’: Footballer Marcus Rashford, 23, posed for a striking shoot as he discussed fight to end child poverty in a new interview with WSJ magazine

In the space of 12 months, humble Rashford has led a campaign to end child food poverty in the U.K., taking on the British government to secure millions of free meals for underprivileged kids whose families are facing financial crisis.  

He has worked closely with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Queen put Rashford on her Birthday Honours list in October—though he insists a royal accolade misses the point.   

He said: ‘There’s things that are right and things that are wrong. And a lot of the way that the system is set up for these children is wrong. I think people can’t really turn away from that.’

He said: 'I’m a person that’s still close to his community. I see people going through what I was going through when I was younger. I just understand it'

He said: ‘I’m a person that’s still close to his community. I see people going through what I was going through when I was younger. I just understand it’

Rashford’s proud and supportive mother, Melanie Maynard also discussed her struggle to feed her family and said she hid her money worries from her son. 

She said in an email: ‘I would never have allowed him to see the struggle. As much as you are embarrassed about what those outside of your immediate family circle think of you, I was embarrassed to admit to my own children the level of our struggle. 

‘It was normal back then to just sweep your issues under the rug, to hide them from sight. Having opened up more over the last year it’s evident Marcus saw more than I thought he did.’

In fact, she revealed she asked Manchester United to allow her son to move to their residential program early.

Power player: The Premier League player has worked closely with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Queen put Rashford on her Birthday Honours list in October—though he insists a royal accolade misses the point

Power player: The Premier League player has worked closely with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Queen put Rashford on her Birthday Honours list in October—though he insists a royal accolade misses the point

He said: 'There’s things that are right and things that are wrong. And a lot of the way that the system is set up for these children is wrong. I think people can’t really turn away from that'

He said: ‘There’s things that are right and things that are wrong. And a lot of the way that the system is set up for these children is wrong. I think people can’t really turn away from that’

She said: ‘No mum wants to make that decision, but I needed to do it so that Marcus could fulfill his dream. I really didn’t have a choice. 

‘Regardless of working three jobs, I couldn’t give him what he needed. He wasn’t safe on the streets. I didn’t want him mixing with the wrong crowd and derailing him. 

‘He needed the nutrition to prepare himself for professional football. On my budget I just couldn’t give him that.’ 

Marcus recently tied David Beckham for number of goals scored for Manchester United, was recently defended by Prince William when he became the target of racist attacks, and successfully lobbied U.K. PM Boris Johnson to reverse course (twice) on limiting meal programs for children in need during the pandemic, effectively expanding food access during a national crisis. 

Proud of him: Rashford’s proud and supportive mother, Melanie Maynard also discussed her struggle to feed her family and said she hid her money worries from her son

Proud of him: Rashford’s proud and supportive mother, Melanie Maynard also discussed her struggle to feed her family and said she hid her money worries from her son 

And his brother Dwaine Maynard offered some insight into Rashford’s desire to pay it forward:

He said that for a while, Rashford was even in the habit of rolling down his car window to hand cash to kids or homeless people around Manchester, until his brothers, now his agents, explained that there were more constructive ways to help. 

They said: ‘It’s actually not very safe for you to stop your car and do that.’  

And James Corden discussed Rashford’s scathing open letter to parliament laying out how they were letting the country’s neediest down.

Support: The Manchester United player's mother revealed she asked Manchester United to allow her son to move to their residential program early, saying he 'wasn't safe on the streets'

Support: The Manchester United player’s mother revealed she asked Manchester United to allow her son to move to their residential program early, saying he ‘wasn’t safe on the streets’ 

He said: ‘He did it in such a human way. This was, “They are hungry now, they are starving now, and they need help today”.’ 

More to come: The article is featured in WSJ. Magazine’s Spring Men’s Style Issue out on newsstands Saturday, March 13

More to come: The article is featured in WSJ. Magazine’s Spring Men’s Style Issue out on newsstands Saturday, March 13

‘This isn’t some appeal film for a country that you’ve never visited. These kids are at the end of your street. And the government were ignoring them—it wasn’t good enough.

‘And here was guy with the full backing of Manchester United telling them so. It’s really difficult if you’re the left back for Norwich City.’

Marcus also weighed in on how his outspokenness has turned him into a target.

He said: ‘This generation seems to be judged more. What frustrates me is—how do I put it? When people speak out on something they don’t have an understanding of. 

‘And at the beginning, that’s what was happening. I became sort of a bridge between the people that the government were supposed to be helping and the government. 

He added: ‘It’s like we’re going the long way round things.’ 

The article is featured in WSJ. Magazine’s Spring Men’s Style Issue out on newsstands Saturday, March 13 

Marcus also weighed in on how his outspokenness has turned him into a target. He said: 'This generation seems to be judged more. What frustrates me is—how do I put it? When people speak out on something they don’t have an understanding of'

Marcus also weighed in on how his outspokenness has turned him into a target. He said: ‘This generation seems to be judged more. What frustrates me is—how do I put it? When people speak out on something they don’t have an understanding of’


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