Rashford: A few things I would like to say

Thursday 29 February 2024 20:12

Marcus Rashford has defiantly underlined his lifelong love and passion for all things Manchester United, during a candid conversation with The Players’ Tribune.

In a long read entitled ‘Who I Really Am’, our 26-year-old Academy graduate speaks openly and honestly about recent narratives surrounding his career. Rashford admits he has made mistakes and takes responsibility, but states he has to speak up when his commitment to the Reds is questioned. 

You can read some of the standout sections here…


“I don’t normally like to respond to things said about me,” says Marcus. “It’s not in my nature. I’m an introvert. I don’t even like talking about myself, unless I really know you. So 99% of the time, I can ignore the noise. But sometimes, certain lines get crossed, and I can’t help but want people to just understand who I am as a person.”

After discussing the spotlight that has shone on him since the pandemic, sometimes unfairly, Marcus accepts it goes with the territory, but he won't accept falsehoods.

“Listen, I’m not a perfect person,” he says. “When I make a mistake, I’ll be the first one to put my hand up and say that I need to do better. But if you ever question my commitment to Man United, that’s when I have to speak up. It’s like somebody questioning my entire identity, and everything I stand for as a man. I grew up here. I have played for this club since I was a boy. My family turned down life-changing money when I was a kid so I could wear this badge.”



Rashford reflects on a childhood spent chasing a dream, taking four buses across Manchester to train at The Cliff, and he says it was all worth it. 

“People will actually think I’m weird when I start talking about what United means to me. Because if you’re not me, then I’m sure it almost sounds fake. But you have to understand, when I was young, playing for United was everything. It was out of reach for us. It was hard to get there, and even harder to stay there. When I was young, they used to have these five-a-side tournaments all over Manchester where every player had to pay a pound to get in. It was all ages. You had kids playing against almost grown men. I’d always be asking my mum for a pound, because if you won the whole tournament, your team got all the prize money. It was just about enough for a ticket to Old Trafford. We were so young, but we actually won it a few times. 

“To me, just being there was like… It was everything. We used to stay until everyone had gone, and the stadium was nearly empty, just looking around and listening. Old Trafford really has this sound to it. It’s like a surround-sound echo, and it’s so calming to me. For a kid who moved around a lot, it’s always felt like my home. When something is inside you like that... It’s just inside you. Nobody put it there. It’s just there.”



The long read moves on to 10-year-old Marcus being offered life-changing money that the family needed, but turning it down to pursue his dream at United.

“Money is great. It’s a blessing. But dreams are priceless. For me, even at 11 years old, playing for United was my only goal. I remember around that time, when I was still trying to get signed, Wazza and Cristiano came by to do something with all the Academy lads, and I was just looking at them in awe, you know what I mean? They had a photographer there, and at the end all us kids had a chance to get a picture with them, and I remember hanging in the back away from everyone. 

“I remember my brother saying, ‘Go take a picture with Wazza, bro! What are you doing?’
“I said, ‘I don’t need a picture.’
“He said, ‘Don’t need a picture?’
“I said, ‘I’m going to be playing alongside them some day.’ 

“I think I was the only kid who didn’t get a photo. After we had turned down the money, there was just this hunger inside me. I didn’t see myself as a kid anymore. I had to grab my opportunity and change our lives, period. To be able to go on and really live that dream, as a kid from Manchester… As a kid from Hulme, Moss Side, Chorlton, Withington, Wythenshawe… If you think I would ever take that for granted, then you simply do not know me.

“Listen, the thing is, football can be a bubble. I have tried to stay a normal person. I have tried to keep my same friends. I have tried my best not to change, even when I’m on a night out or on holiday. But there’s another side to that. I’m a human being. I’ve made mistakes that a lot of lads in their 20s make, and I’ve tried to learn from them. But I’ve also made sacrifices that nobody sees. The thing that I want you to understand is that money is not what keeps you playing through the hard times. It’s the love of the game, plain and simple.”



“We all know that this has been a club in transition the last few seasons. When we are winning, you are the greatest fans in the world, and that’s a fact. We need more of that old-school positive energy around the club. I know what that kind of atmosphere can do, because it kept me going through my worst moments. Every time I walk out onto the pitch and I hear the fans singing my name, or I look around Old Trafford before kick-off, I feel that same positive energy.

“Deep down, when I look around before every kick-off, I’m still a fan. I can’t get that out of my blood. I’ll never forget the first time I ever played at Anfield, and I felt that atmosphere of United vs. Liverpool from the pitch, and I heard the whistle go and the roar of the crowd, I had so much adrenaline that I almost got sent off early in the match. I love James Milner, but I sprinted straight at him and flew in for a reckless tackle, because I just had so much emotion going through me — not as a United player, but as a United fan who just happened to be out on the pitch against Liverpool. I remember coming home and telling my family, ‘We need to get this under control right now. I need to find a way to take the fan part out of me, or else I’m going to get sent off every game.’ 

“I can take any criticism. I can take any headline. From podcasts, social media and the papers. I can take it. But if you start questioning my commitment to this club and my love for football and bringing my family into it, then I’d simply ask you to have a bit more humanity.” 



Rashford’s long read concludes with a powerful statement of intent for himself and the team. “Every single time I’ve been down, physically or mentally, I always feel like that’s when I turn it around and play my best football for United and England. 

“I promise you, the world has not seen the best of this United squad and these players. We want to be back playing in the Champions League, then we have a massive international tournament at the end of the season. We will be back where we belong. We just have to keep working, and that starts with me. 

“If you back me, good. 

“If you doubt me, even better.”

Read the full article via The Players' Tribune.

Kobbie Mainoo | Playing With Freedom: