Marcus Rashford would consider a different approach to his work in helping vulnerable children if he felt his football performance was affected in a negative way.
Rashford, who has been made an MBE for his campaigning, is optimistic he can continue to balance the off-field mission with his England and Manchester United duties.
The 22-year-old has won widespread praise for speaking up for British youngsters facing food poverty during the coronavirus pandemic, persuading the United Kingdom government to provide free school meal vouchers to underprivileged children through the summer months.
Asked about his efforts in an England news conference on Tuesday, Rashford made it clear the campaign was not all on his shoulders.
“I have a team that work behind me and make sure we’re on the same page. A lot of the work is done months in advance. I think it’s important for me to keep doing that,” he said.
“At the moment, I feel in a good headspace. I’m comfortable with doing the two things and I feel ready to train every day and play the games.
“If it was taking a toll, I’d have to look at a different way of doing things and find a way to support the kids and keep my career going in the right direction.”
MBE I’m incredibly honoured and humbled. As a young black man from Wythenshawe, never did I think I would be accepting an MBE, never mind an MBE at the age of 22. This is a very special moment for myself and my family, but particularly my mum who is the real deserving recipient of the honour. The fight to protect our most vulnerable children is far from over. I would be doing my community, and the families I have met and spoken with, an injustice if I didn’t use this opportunity to respectfully urge the Prime Minister, who recommended me for this honour, to support our children during the October half term with an extension of the voucher scheme, as the furlough scheme comes to an end and we face increased unemployment. Another sticking plaster, but one that will give the parents of millions of children in the UK just one less thing to worry about. Let’s stand together in saying that no children in the UK should be going to bed hungry. As I have said many times before, no matter your feeling or opinion, not having access to food is NEVER the child’s fault.
England face Denmark on Wednesday at Wembley in the Nations League, having beaten Belgium in the same competition on Sunday, after a friendly victory over Wales.
Two wins with England, plus recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, has made it “a good few days” for Rashford, who was frustrated to miss September’s games against Iceland and Denmark with an ankle problem.
He could be battling with the likes of Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling for a starting place in attack at Euro 2020, which has been delayed until next year, and says the competition in England’s squad is healthy.
“We all understand that we’re all together as one. Especially in tournament football,” Rashford said.
“At the World Cup I realised it the most – you need the squad to do great things. Looking forward, it’s a big strength of ours to have so many players that can make differences on the pitch.”
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