Despite his success on the pitch, we look at the impact Manchester United player Marcus Rashford has made off the pitch.
The journey Marcus Rashford has taken as a young boy to a Manchester United player should not be overlooked.
From leading the way to reduce child poverty in the UK to scoring on his Manchester United debut, to becoming a global star on both the international and domestic stage – the England international has been determined to use his status and influence to create change for the better.
After being born in Wythenshawe and raised in Withington – located in the south of Manchester – with his siblings and his mother who worked full-time and on minimum wage to provide for her children, the forward has been determined to learn from his humble beginnings which have fuelled the mission he is pioneering for today.
“It’s important to understand where I came from and my background and then it’s quite simple why I would try and help people that are in that situation”Marcus Rashford to BBC
As Rashford continues to be the voice for children and families who find themselves in a position the young boy from Withington once found himself in, his response has been dissimilar to what you would expect from a young and successful global superstar embarking on a successful and thriving career in football.
Yet Rashford’s mission to create lasting change across politics and people’s lives – with a long-term view – has been nothing short of inspirational in not only the movement created, but the power a young man in football can possess which goes far beyond the pitch.
During the height of the global pandemic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson chose to reverse the decision of ending free school meals during the summer for around 1.3 million children.
This was the result of perseverance from Rashford which included a personal letter from the Manchester United forward urging the extension of the scheme – which became highly publicised – resulting in the British PM to further the initiative by six weeks over the summer.
Amidst the change, it became clear that football was just a platform with something much larger and more significant being demonstrated – the power of the footballer’s voice.
With the intense following and cult-like support behind footballers in the current climate, Rashford’s efforts should be an empowering example for athletes that their reach extends far beyond their profession if they are willing make their voice heard.
Ending child poverty is a bigger trophy than any other in footballMarcus Rashford following his MBE award in 2020
Although Rashford received an MBE for his efforts after being included on the Queen’s list of Honours for sports, there was a far more rewarding outcome at stake – to end child poverty in the UK which is something he is committed to achieving for the long-term and not just the summer.
“It’s a nice moment personally but I feel like I’m still at the beginning of the journey I set out to achieve,” Rashford said to the BBC after receiving his MBE.
Although the honour marks a proud moment in Rashford’s personal life, he has remained determined to keep the mission at hand at the forefront of his mind which is what ultimately earned him his accolade.
The activist who plays football
Heroism can be defined as having concern for other people in need and defending a moral cause knowing that there will be personal risk.
With that being said, through attempting to create change, it is inevitably greeted with some friction. Comments of needing to “stick to football” during any glimpses of his form in football dipping has been used as a weapon to attack Rashford, though they have still not deterred him from his goals – both on and off the pitch.
Following the creation of the mural painted on a wall in the streets of Withington, it became quickly vandalised following his unfortunate penalty miss in the final of EURO 2020. Despite this, it prompted the kindness of hundreds to plaster over the hate with banners and heartfelt messages of support which quickly became of wall full of colour – a true mark of the unity created by one man and his mission for create change for the better.