Ole: Marcus's work has been incredible
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised the humanitarian work of Marcus Rashford off the field.
The Reds' leading goalscorer succeeded in lobbying the government to extend the free school-meal voucher scheme into the summer holidays, benefiting around 1.3 million children in the country, while earning widespread acclaim and support, even from rival clubs.
Prime minister Boris Johnson called Rashford about the matter and the England international has vowed to continue to fight food poverty and other inequality issues.
“What Marcus has done has been incredible with his family, with his own personality of course,” said Solskjaer. “Marcus has always been a great human being. Coming up through the Academy, I think the club recognised that early on and gave him chances. Of course we saw the talent, but you need to be a really good human being as well to come all the way through that. He's changed the lives of so many kids this summer, which is more important than any game of football that he would probably play. Hopefully he can keep both sides going as well as he's doing now.
“What he’s done over the last few months... Marcus is such a top, top human being and he's brought his own experiences as a kid into this conversation and changed the lives of so many kids, as you said. So he's already been the captain of the club at such a young age and he's proving all the time his human qualities, which is the main attribute for a Man United player, along with his qualities as a player.”
"Me, at 22, of course I wouldn't be in a position to affect people and affect a change like this," added Ole. "I don't think Marcus is thinking about this politically or in any other way apart from helping people and helping kids.
“He knows deep inside that he has helped children with food now and to change their lives, and I think that makes him feel good about himself and using his position as a role model at Man United. He's one of the top players in the country, a Man United player, and he can affect people in a good way – that's what it is about. He is a good human being. He wants to make a good change. It's not about him or anything bigger than that."
All the players have thrown their support behind the 'Black Lives Matter' movement and the public perception of footballers, in general, has probably changed in recent times.
"It's up to every individual, of course," said the boss. "Footballers, as a group, they have been criticised a lot, even over this lockdown. I think this lockdown period has made a change in people and made people think about the larger issues and given them a different perspective and, for Marcus, he's always been a good lad and now the change he has made for kids has been unbelievable. But, as footballers, we are easy targets at different times, but we can also affect people in a good way. If you can use your face to change something for the better, why not?
“I think it [the BLM movement] has been an event in history that has changed people's views and of course the movement now... I think we all know that this shouldn't happen in 2020, what's been happening. That players, Premier League teams, that we all make a stand and say 'enough is enough', I think that is good. I don't expect anything different from ours."