What did we learn from Marcus Rashford's new book?

Marcus Rashford has become one of the most famous young men in the United Kingdom over the past year or so, as much due to his off-the-field work as his footballing heroics.

And our no.10 has added another string to his bow with the recent release of his first book, You Are a Champion  – which recently ascended to no.1 on the children’s bestsellers list.
 
The book aims to inspire children through positive and practical advice about self-development, and does so thanks to Rashford sharing stories from his own childhood and teenage life.
 
So what new things have we learned about Marcus from You Are A Champion? We’ve read the book and picked out 10 interesting tidbits…
HE BELIEVES IN BOOKS

You might expect someone who’s just written their first book to say that. But Rashford’s love of the printed word runs much deeper than that:
“For me, learning how to believe in myself came when I started reading books,”
he says.
“It showed me how to explore the possibilities within myself… Books are powerful because they allow you to dream about different worlds and to look at different things in different ways.”
Amen!

HIS FIRST NICKNAME

Apparently, Rashy’s first nickname was
“Shot”
, picked up after he got smashed in the face by a powerful shot while playing in goal.
“I sprang back up like it was nothing,”
he says proudly. He also reveals he has no middle name, which means Roy Maurice Keane still reigns supreme at the top of the United middle-names chart.
HE’S LEARNING THE GUITAR
 
Marcus is enjoying music more and more as he gets older, to the extent that he’s even learning the guitar and the piano. Juan Mata is very adept at playing Oasis’s Wonderwall – maybe he’s giving Rashford a few tips after training down at Carrington.
 
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER HIS FAMOUS DEBUT
 
Rashford’s first United appearance has gone down in Old Trafford folklore – he scored twice to help us overcome FC Midtjylland in the Europa League, at the age of just 18. But in the book, Marcus says the most important moment of that day was when he got home to his family and told them:
“My promise to you guys is that I’m never going to change who I am.”
 
THE SKILL THAT STILL GIVES HIM PLEASURE
 
When he was a teenager, Rashford was given a book of skills by the United Academy, and told to learn them. But he got stuck at one particular technique…
“There was this one challenge though… I’ll never forget it. The booklet asked me to do 20 kick-ups before kicking the ball high in the air and then controlling it again on the half-turn.”
He eventually conquered the challenge, but admits it took him ages.
“Next time you watch me play, see if you can spot it when I take a ball out of the air. It took a lot of hard work to learn this, but I’m always proud when I pull it off.”
Based on his goals against Sheffield United and Granada this season, it’s clear Rashy has well and truly mastered it…

Goal of the Day: Rashford v Sheff UtdVideo

MUHAMMAD ALI HELPS HIM DEAL WITH FAILURE

Everyone is frightened of failing. And, unfortunately for Marcus, football is a game of failure.
“My life is full of mistakes – as a profession, football depends on them! If everyone did their job properly 100 per cent of the time, then every game would end 0-0.”
Rashford cites Muhammad Ali as an inspiration to help him deal with failure, because of the unusual arc of his career. 
“Ali is considered the greatest not because he was near perfect in the ring, but because he was amazing at how he bounced back when things went wrong, and stayed true to himself throughout.”
 
COOKING MAKES HIM STRESSED!
 
Rashford says he hasn’t been nervous for a football game in a long time (because nerves don’t help his performances)
“But I DO get stressed out when I’m cooking. I’ve only started doing it recently, and I am so bad at making dinner when I’m already hungry. I get really hasty and start making ‘Rash’ mistakes. Pun intended!”
Three-time world heavyweight champion Muhummad Ali is an all-round inspiration to Rashford.
THE LAST TIME HE FELT NERVOUS

Marcus says the last time he felt nervous playing football was in the Under-16 Victory Shield tournament, where he was playing for England against Northern Ireland.
“I was nervous and eager to impress, and it caused me to get lost in my own head. I was getting so fixated on what was going wrong that I forgot all my processes for making them go right… The whole experience showed me I wasn’t someone who played well if I thought too much about a big game. I just needed to remember that I was picked for that team for a reason, and I had a job to do.”
 
HIS NANNA WAS AN IMPORTANT INFLUENCE
 
Marcus’s grandma, Gillian, was a vital person in his life until she sadly passed away when Marcus was 11. Not only did she look out for him, provide a sanctuary that was
“full of laughter and happiness”
and cook the most amazing corn porridge, but she taught him how to think in a more mature way.  She taught him that he had to have multiple approaches to a situation – rather than asking her to make him porridge over and over again! This led to him seeking out clips of all different types of players on YouTube – not just Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo as before. He ended up even studying defenders, so he could work out what they were doing and how to out-think them.
 
IT ISN’T JUST A KIDS’ BOOK!

You Are a Champion is aimed at children, but as a 34-year-old, I found plenty of useful advice contained within its pages. Marcus says throughout that we should never stop learning but I think it’s fair to say, as adults, we sometimes get distracted by the small details of our circumstances and daily lives, so we end up losing the bigger picture. Focusing on the long-term things we want to achieve and the practical ways in which we can get there is something that we should all do more often, whatever our age.

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