Marcus Rashford.

Marcus Rashford is a Red for life

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has said he can never imagine wearing another shirt as he expressed his appreciation for those who have supported his efforts in tackling social inequality after he received a SJA Sport for Social Change award.

The England international was recognised by the Sports Journalists’ Association (SJA) for his role in raising awareness of child food poverty in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic, which included him helping to extend the free-school-meals voucher scheme.

Marcus was one of four recipients of the prize during the 2020 British Sports Awards on Thursday afternoon, alongside former Red Lou Macari, who was acknowledged for his efforts in battling homelessness in Stoke.

“For me, I never look beyond Manchester United,” he said during the virtual awards ceremony.

“As a kid, I never looked beyond Manchester United. In my mind, it wouldn't sit right for me to be pulling on another shirt. I just want to do my best for the club while I'm here. Long term hopefully.

“It is a lot deeper than what people see sometimes. I think people see some of the stuff that has been happening since I've been in the first team but the bond that I have with United is much greater than these last five years.

It will forever be greater than probably my actual career because they are the reason I have become a footballer, they have given me the opportunity to express myself and to find out I had talent in football.

Speaking to host Jim Rosenthal, Marcus also expressed his gratitude to everyone who has supported him in his campaign so far.

“I appreciate everyone who has got behind me and helped me along the way because for me, without that push from the public, not even half of this was possible,” the 23-year-old said.

“I’d like to say thank you for the award but also a big thank you to anyone who’s helped me along the way.”

That support has included backing from his fellow professionals – something Marcus says will go a long way towards creating change in the future.

“A lot of players have shown huge interest, and many have donated to the cause," he said. “It’s not the donations that are important to me, it’s the fact that they want to understand it more.

“That’s the change I want to see more than anything,” he added. “If more people do that, you’re looking at real positive change in the long term. The children’s future is our future as well and that’s why I’m so passionate about protecting them and giving them the best chance to become whatever they want to be.”

Marcus also highlighted the importance of backing up the progress his campaign has made so far and in continuing to push on over the coming months.

“Now it’s important for us to keep on the front foot and keep moving forward,” he said.

“In my mind, I understand change doesn’t happen overnight, so I know it’s going to be a long game and my end goal might not come true for another three or four years.

“But whatever it may be, that’s how long it’s going to take for me to guarantee that these children get a better chance at life.

“I’m grateful that I managed to come through everything to get where I am today, but I want other children to have a better chance than what I did.”

This is just the latest in host of awards and recognition following the 23-year-old’s off-field work, after he received an MBE in October and was named on the Football Black List.

Congratulations on the award from everyone at Manchester United, Marcus. 

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