Marcus Rashford has been trending on social media for weeks – and it’s not just because of his footballing prowess.
Manchester United have been handed a huge boost with the news that the Wythenshawe-born striker has fully recovered from a troublesome back injury which sidelined him in January.
Premier League fixtures were suspended back in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now team-mate Odion Ighalo has revealed he has returned to training ahead of the resumption of the Premier League on Wednesday, 17th June.
Rashford’s progress has been meteoric. He was 18 when he scored twice on both his first-team debut against Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League in February 2016 and his Premier League debut against Arsenal three days later.
Within four months, he was in the England squad for the European Championships.
Since then, he has become a key player at United and a regular in the England team.
But it’s his displays of humility and compassion during lockdown which are grabbing the attention of neutrals.
The United striker, who is a graduate of unofficial United youth academy Fletcher Moss Rangers, has put his shoulder behind an effort to make sure children don’t go hungry during lockdown. He’s doing it, he says, because he knows the feeling.
In the space of a few weeks, Rashford went from searching for charities that work to alleviate hunger to providing the impetus for a campaign that has, so far, raised £20 million and helped provide more than 2.8 million children with food.
Guys, I spoke to @FareShareUK a couple of days ago and we are just £30k away from providing 3million meals a week to the most vulnerable across the UK. We have done a great job so far but we still have a long way to go. Some children will stay home until at least September (1)
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) June 4, 2020
The causes he has chosen to support tend to be those which are close to his heart.
He has judged poetry competitions, learned sign language to visit a deaf school, and encouraged children to read.
Guys, 6 weeks ago I launched my partnership with @fareshareuk and I’m so proud of the progress we’ve made together. Today we are supplying over 2million meals a week to vulnerable people across the UK, meals they wouldn’t otherwise have (1)
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) April 30, 2020
Last Christmas, Rashford began an initiative to encourage people to donate Christmas boxes of essential items to three charities working with Manchester’s homeless population.
“He’s a Manchester lad,” said John Shiels, chief executive of Manchester United’s charitable foundation, said. “Those things mean a lot to him.”
Marcus Rashford has absolutely owned this lockdown. Charity work, inspirational with his social posts, got himself back match fit after a bad injury. Deserves all the plaudits he's getting
— Mark Goldbridge (@markgoldbridge) June 4, 2020
It’s easy to forget Rashford is just 22 years old. Red or blue, love him or hate him, you can’t deny he’s a role model for children across the country. He hasn’t forgotten his roots and he’s doing more than his fair share to give something back to the community.
If only more footballers were like Marcus Rashford.
Marcus Rashford is basically my main source of hope for the future of the UK right now
— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) June 4, 2020