Martin Keown has paid tribute to Marcus Rashford’s family for keeping the Manchester United striker grounded as he continues his long campaign to end child food poverty
England international Rashford has seen his profile raised on and off the field during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the 23-year-old awarded an MBE during October in the delayed Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Rashford has done incredible things to help fight child food povertyGetty – Pool
And his mother Melanie has been beside him every step of the wayInstagram
Rashford successfully lobbied the government into a U-turn over its free school meals policy in England during the first coronavirus lockdown, ensuring children in need would receive food over the summer.
The United forward has again led the way in January when tackling the issues over poor-quality food parcels which have been sent out to families, revealing on Twitter he had spoken to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and been assured ‘a full review of the supply chain’ is under way.
On Thursday, Rashford was honoured with the Football Writers’ Association 2021 Tribute Award in recognition of his outstanding campaign, which the FWA said “goes even wider than simply a football context”.
And speaking to talkSPORT, Arsenal legend Keown has praised his family for shaping Rashford into the philanthropic person he has turned into.
Rashford used to get free school meals himself – and he believes the same should happen for all childrenGetty Images – Getty
“I met his parents and his mother particularly, Melanie.” Keown said. “I want to giver her a special message as it comes from the family.
“He’s got two very strong minded brothers around him – Dwayne and Dan – and i think they played a major part in this as well in putting him on the right path.
“They’re very privileged footballers and it hasn’t changed him.
“He knows as he came through this himself. He had these free school meals himself and he’s putting a lot back despite the fact of what he’s got – the privilege he now has himself.
“He’s looking over his shoulder saying: ‘No I want to help and make a difference.’
“I do feel it’s fantastic for the football rights to honour him in a different way in part football, and in part the way he leads his life as an example to everybody else.”
Keown has praised the influence of Rashford’s mother
Despite having achieved so much already, Rashford maintains there is still more work to be done.
“We are at the beginning of what I see as a long journey,” Rashford said in an interview on www.footballwriters.co.uk.
“I am definitely not at the stage of relief yet, I feel that there is a lot more which needs to be done and a lot more steps which need to be taken forward.
“On the positive side we have started to take a few steps in the right direction, but for me now just because we have done that (it) is not about just sitting back now and being happy with what we have done.
“It is about what is next in the chapter of these children’s lives.”
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