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Marcus Rashford: Mum being happy means ‘the world to me’

Marcus Rashford FareShare Greater Manchester visit
(Image credit: Fareshare/Mark Waugh)

Marcus Rashford has highlighted the influence of his mother and deep bond with Manchester United after being honoured at the Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Awards.

Rashford’s campaign to end child poverty has seen the accolades come thick and fast in 2020 and led to him becoming one of the most recognisable athletes in Britain.

The 23-year-old England striker was awarded an MBE in October and has been named as an SJA Sport for Social Change winner, alongside Lou Macari, Ebony Rainford-Brent and the Dons Local Action Group.

Speaking at the SJA’s virtual British Sports Awards, Rashford said of his mother Melanie: “She lived the struggle. That is why it means the world to me that she is happy now and she is right next to me with everything that I do, she believes as strongly as I do that things need to change.

“When there’s been setbacks she’s the first person to ring me to say ‘don’t worry, keep going’. It helps me not to lose sight of what it was that I started.

“It has been a difficult period for everyone with the lockdown and the virus.

“At the beginning of the year I was injured as well, I was really down and it gave me the determination and drive I was missing from not being involved in football games. I put everything I had into that.”

Manchester-born Rashford began playing football for Fletcher Moss Rangers at the age of five before joining United.

Rashford scored twice on his senior debut at the age of 18 and now has 77 goals in 232 United appearances.

“All the good things that have happened this year has come from Manchester United giving me an opportunity as a kid,” Rashford said.

“I don’t just remember the last year or the last five years. I’m talking about when nobody in my family drove and I had to get to training and United had people to come and take me to the training ground and take me back home when I was six, seven, eight, nine.

Manchester United v FC Midtjylland – UEFA Europa League – Round of 32 – Second Leg – Old Trafford

Rashford, centre, made his Manchester United debut at the age of 18 in February 2016 (Martin Rickett/PA)

“The times they put me into accommodation when my mum was struggling at home, when I was 11 and I was there up until 16/17.

“It is a lot deeper than what people see sometimes. I think people see some of the stuff that has been happening since I’ve been in the first team but the bond that I have with United is much greater than these last five years.

“It will forever be greater than probably my actual career because they are the reason I have become a footballer, they have given me the opportunity to express myself and to find out I had talent in football.”

Full SJA British Sports Award winners:

– Sportsman of the Year: Lewis Hamilton
– Sportswoman of the Year: Hollie Doyle
– Sports Team of the Year: Liverpool
– President’s Award: Chris Brasher (posthumous)
– Bill McGowran Trophy for male and female para-athletes: Dame Sarah Storey (cycling), Alfie Hewett & Gordon Reid (wheelchair tennis)
– National Lottery Spirit of Sport: Kim Daybell, Polly Swann, Vicky Wright
– SJA Sport for Social Change winners: Marcus Rashford MBE, Lou Macari, Ebony Rainford-Brent and the Dons Local Action Group (formed by AFC Wimbledon supporters).