Insight

Higher goals

Champions Journal delivers the written equivalent of a standing ovation to the Manchester United man of the moment

WORDS Dan Poole

Marcus Rashford. Just over five-and-a-half years ago that name resonated with a mere handful of people. No one beyond friends, family and his nearest and dearest in the football world. Throw in some fans who would have watched him playing for the reserves too – “Looks alright, that lad.”

Then: 25 March 2016. Manchester United’s round of 32 second-leg Europa League match against Midtjylland. There were already 13 players missing through injury before matchday, then Anthony Martial made it 14 in the warm-up. Now what? Nothing else for it: throw the kid on, starting XI. Cross fingers.

The 18-year-old striker scored twice; United won 5-1. Play him again against Arsenal in the Premier League three days later? Too soon? Nah, another brace. A few weeks went by and he scored the only goal in the Manchester derby. Then a debut strike in the FA Cup to boot. Call-up for England, another goal on debut and selection for the EURO 2016 squad before the season was done? You know the answer.

The wide smile and down-to-earth demeanour complemented Rashford’s on-pitch progress. Sort of guy who grandma would warm to – “He seems like a nice boy.” Just doing his thing, playing football, scoring goals. Getting on with it.

Then: 19 March 2020. The day before, Boris Johnson had announced the first UK lockdown. In response, Rashford tweeted this: “Guys, across the UK there are over 32,000 schools. Tomorrow all of these will close. Many of the children attending these schools rely on free meals, so I’ve spent the last few days talking to organisations to understand how this deficit is going to be filled.”

Marcus Rashford. Just over five-and-a-half years ago that name resonated with a mere handful of people. No one beyond friends, family and his nearest and dearest in the football world. Throw in some fans who would have watched him playing for the reserves too – “Looks alright, that lad.”

Then: 25 March 2016. Manchester United’s round of 32 second-leg Europa League match against Midtjylland. There were already 13 players missing through injury before matchday, then Anthony Martial made it 14 in the warm-up. Now what? Nothing else for it: throw the kid on, starting XI. Cross fingers.

The 18-year-old striker scored twice; United won 5-1. Play him again against Arsenal in the Premier League three days later? Too soon? Nah, another brace. A few weeks went by and he scored the only goal in the Manchester derby. Then a debut strike in the FA Cup to boot. Call-up for England, another goal on debut and selection for the EURO 2016 squad before the season was done? You know the answer.

The wide smile and down-to-earth demeanour complemented Rashford’s on-pitch progress. Sort of guy who grandma would warm to – “He seems like a nice boy.” Just doing his thing, playing football, scoring goals. Getting on with it.

Then: 19 March 2020. The day before, Boris Johnson had announced the first UK lockdown. In response, Rashford tweeted this: “Guys, across the UK there are over 32,000 schools. Tomorrow all of these will close. Many of the children attending these schools rely on free meals, so I’ve spent the last few days talking to organisations to understand how this deficit is going to be filled.”

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

And so it began. And so we began to find out more about the boy from Wythenshawe: one of five children raised by single mum Melanie, he relied on breakfast clubs and free school meals to top up what she could provide while working full-time on the minimum wage. Rashford had a vested interest in this cause – and now he had the requisite platform and the earnest drive to make it the country’s cause as well.

"HE'S DONE IT ALL IN A MEASURED AND CONSIDERED MANNER; PASSION WITHOUT THE NEED FOR PYROTECHNICS. A QUIET LEADER."


Since then, tens of millions of pounds have been raised for food-poverty charity network FareShare, for which Rashford is an ambassador. He has successfully lobbied the government – not once but twice – to continue to provide free meals during school holidays. He’s formed the Child Food Poverty Task Force, a coalition of charities and food businesses, to keep the conversation, and the good work, going. And just as impressively, he’s done it all in a measured and considered manner; passion without the need for pyrotechnics. A quiet leader.

The contents of that previous paragraph would be enough. Plenty. No one would be saying, “That Marcus Rashford, why doesn’t he pull his finger out?” But the mark of the man is that if he sees a problem that needs a solution, he’ll try to provide it. Hence the Marcus Rashford Book Club, which donates to disadvantaged children across the UK. Hence his own book, You Are a Champion, which aims to empower and encourage children aged 11 to 16. Hence the online family cookery programme with Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge. And hence petitioning social-media companies to take a stand against racist abuse – and calling out the idiots who abuse him personally.

Rashford might already qualify as a national treasure. When he came on as a substitute in England’s opening game against Croatia at EURO 2020, he received a glorious reception (and his penalty miss in the final only led to messages of support from all right-minded fans). He’s been given an honorary doctorate by the University of Manchester; there was a place on the Queen’s honours list too. He’s appearing on murals from south Manchester to east London and he recently had a catch-up with Barack Obama.

Rashford will be back in the Champions League for United next season and we look forward to watching him perform on the biggest club-football stage – but we’re as excited to see what he does next off the pitch. And to recognise what he’s achieved so far, we’d like to bestow the player, the man, with an award of our own. Lifetime Achievement? Well earned, but the guy’s only 23. Distinguished Service? Apt but lacks the required sparkle. Ah, got it…

Dr Marcus Rashford MBE, Champions Journal Champion.

Marcus Rashford. Just over five-and-a-half years ago that name resonated with a mere handful of people. No one beyond friends, family and his nearest and dearest in the football world. Throw in some fans who would have watched him playing for the reserves too – “Looks alright, that lad.”

Then: 25 March 2016. Manchester United’s round of 32 second-leg Europa League match against Midtjylland. There were already 13 players missing through injury before matchday, then Anthony Martial made it 14 in the warm-up. Now what? Nothing else for it: throw the kid on, starting XI. Cross fingers.

The 18-year-old striker scored twice; United won 5-1. Play him again against Arsenal in the Premier League three days later? Too soon? Nah, another brace. A few weeks went by and he scored the only goal in the Manchester derby. Then a debut strike in the FA Cup to boot. Call-up for England, another goal on debut and selection for the EURO 2016 squad before the season was done? You know the answer.

The wide smile and down-to-earth demeanour complemented Rashford’s on-pitch progress. Sort of guy who grandma would warm to – “He seems like a nice boy.” Just doing his thing, playing football, scoring goals. Getting on with it.

Then: 19 March 2020. The day before, Boris Johnson had announced the first UK lockdown. In response, Rashford tweeted this: “Guys, across the UK there are over 32,000 schools. Tomorrow all of these will close. Many of the children attending these schools rely on free meals, so I’ve spent the last few days talking to organisations to understand how this deficit is going to be filled.”

Higher goals
Insight

Higher goals

Champions Journal delivers the written equivalent of a standing ovation to the Manchester United man of the moment

WORDS Dan Poole

Marcus Rashford. Just over five-and-a-half years ago that name resonated with a mere handful of people. No one beyond friends, family and his nearest and dearest in the football world. Throw in some fans who would have watched him playing for the reserves too – “Looks alright, that lad.”

Then: 25 March 2016. Manchester United’s round of 32 second-leg Europa League match against Midtjylland. There were already 13 players missing through injury before matchday, then Anthony Martial made it 14 in the warm-up. Now what? Nothing else for it: throw the kid on, starting XI. Cross fingers.

The 18-year-old striker scored twice; United won 5-1. Play him again against Arsenal in the Premier League three days later? Too soon? Nah, another brace. A few weeks went by and he scored the only goal in the Manchester derby. Then a debut strike in the FA Cup to boot. Call-up for England, another goal on debut and selection for the EURO 2016 squad before the season was done? You know the answer.

The wide smile and down-to-earth demeanour complemented Rashford’s on-pitch progress. Sort of guy who grandma would warm to – “He seems like a nice boy.” Just doing his thing, playing football, scoring goals. Getting on with it.

Then: 19 March 2020. The day before, Boris Johnson had announced the first UK lockdown. In response, Rashford tweeted this: “Guys, across the UK there are over 32,000 schools. Tomorrow all of these will close. Many of the children attending these schools rely on free meals, so I’ve spent the last few days talking to organisations to understand how this deficit is going to be filled.”

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Marcus Rashford. Just over five-and-a-half years ago that name resonated with a mere handful of people. No one beyond friends, family and his nearest and dearest in the football world. Throw in some fans who would have watched him playing for the reserves too – “Looks alright, that lad.”

Then: 25 March 2016. Manchester United’s round of 32 second-leg Europa League match against Midtjylland. There were already 13 players missing through injury before matchday, then Anthony Martial made it 14 in the warm-up. Now what? Nothing else for it: throw the kid on, starting XI. Cross fingers.

The 18-year-old striker scored twice; United won 5-1. Play him again against Arsenal in the Premier League three days later? Too soon? Nah, another brace. A few weeks went by and he scored the only goal in the Manchester derby. Then a debut strike in the FA Cup to boot. Call-up for England, another goal on debut and selection for the EURO 2016 squad before the season was done? You know the answer.

The wide smile and down-to-earth demeanour complemented Rashford’s on-pitch progress. Sort of guy who grandma would warm to – “He seems like a nice boy.” Just doing his thing, playing football, scoring goals. Getting on with it.

Then: 19 March 2020. The day before, Boris Johnson had announced the first UK lockdown. In response, Rashford tweeted this: “Guys, across the UK there are over 32,000 schools. Tomorrow all of these will close. Many of the children attending these schools rely on free meals, so I’ve spent the last few days talking to organisations to understand how this deficit is going to be filled.”

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

And so it began. And so we began to find out more about the boy from Wythenshawe: one of five children raised by single mum Melanie, he relied on breakfast clubs and free school meals to top up what she could provide while working full-time on the minimum wage. Rashford had a vested interest in this cause – and now he had the requisite platform and the earnest drive to make it the country’s cause as well.

"HE'S DONE IT ALL IN A MEASURED AND CONSIDERED MANNER; PASSION WITHOUT THE NEED FOR PYROTECHNICS. A QUIET LEADER."


Since then, tens of millions of pounds have been raised for food-poverty charity network FareShare, for which Rashford is an ambassador. He has successfully lobbied the government – not once but twice – to continue to provide free meals during school holidays. He’s formed the Child Food Poverty Task Force, a coalition of charities and food businesses, to keep the conversation, and the good work, going. And just as impressively, he’s done it all in a measured and considered manner; passion without the need for pyrotechnics. A quiet leader.

The contents of that previous paragraph would be enough. Plenty. No one would be saying, “That Marcus Rashford, why doesn’t he pull his finger out?” But the mark of the man is that if he sees a problem that needs a solution, he’ll try to provide it. Hence the Marcus Rashford Book Club, which donates to disadvantaged children across the UK. Hence his own book, You Are a Champion, which aims to empower and encourage children aged 11 to 16. Hence the online family cookery programme with Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge. And hence petitioning social-media companies to take a stand against racist abuse – and calling out the idiots who abuse him personally.

Rashford might already qualify as a national treasure. When he came on as a substitute in England’s opening game against Croatia at EURO 2020, he received a glorious reception (and his penalty miss in the final only led to messages of support from all right-minded fans). He’s been given an honorary doctorate by the University of Manchester; there was a place on the Queen’s honours list too. He’s appearing on murals from south Manchester to east London and he recently had a catch-up with Barack Obama.

Rashford will be back in the Champions League for United next season and we look forward to watching him perform on the biggest club-football stage – but we’re as excited to see what he does next off the pitch. And to recognise what he’s achieved so far, we’d like to bestow the player, the man, with an award of our own. Lifetime Achievement? Well earned, but the guy’s only 23. Distinguished Service? Apt but lacks the required sparkle. Ah, got it…

Dr Marcus Rashford MBE, Champions Journal Champion.

Marcus Rashford. Just over five-and-a-half years ago that name resonated with a mere handful of people. No one beyond friends, family and his nearest and dearest in the football world. Throw in some fans who would have watched him playing for the reserves too – “Looks alright, that lad.”

Then: 25 March 2016. Manchester United’s round of 32 second-leg Europa League match against Midtjylland. There were already 13 players missing through injury before matchday, then Anthony Martial made it 14 in the warm-up. Now what? Nothing else for it: throw the kid on, starting XI. Cross fingers.

The 18-year-old striker scored twice; United won 5-1. Play him again against Arsenal in the Premier League three days later? Too soon? Nah, another brace. A few weeks went by and he scored the only goal in the Manchester derby. Then a debut strike in the FA Cup to boot. Call-up for England, another goal on debut and selection for the EURO 2016 squad before the season was done? You know the answer.

The wide smile and down-to-earth demeanour complemented Rashford’s on-pitch progress. Sort of guy who grandma would warm to – “He seems like a nice boy.” Just doing his thing, playing football, scoring goals. Getting on with it.

Then: 19 March 2020. The day before, Boris Johnson had announced the first UK lockdown. In response, Rashford tweeted this: “Guys, across the UK there are over 32,000 schools. Tomorrow all of these will close. Many of the children attending these schools rely on free meals, so I’ve spent the last few days talking to organisations to understand how this deficit is going to be filled.”

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

To access this article, as well as all CJ+ content and competitions, you will need a subscription to Champions Journal.
Already a subscriber? Sign in
close
Special Offers
christmas offer
Christmas CHEER
Up to 40% off
Start shopping
50% off
game night flash sale!!!
Don't miss out
00
Hours
:
00
minutes
:
00
Seconds
Valid on selected products only. subscriptions not included
close