Marcus Rashford hails Raheem Sterling as ‘inspiration’ for off-field work

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has named Raheem Sterling as an inspiration for his campaign work that led to the government reversing its decision on free school meals during the lockdown.

Rashford’s campaign resulted in the government providing free school meals for needy children during the summer, and he was later awarded an MBE.

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Can’t stop smiling, I’ve waited so long for this. I just wish the fans could experience it with me ♥️

— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 28, 2020

Manchester City forward Sterling has long used his platform to fight racism and spoke on the BBC’s Newsnight program in June following the death of George Floyd in the United States, which sparked global outrage. Sparked the Black Lives Matter protests.

Speaking as part of the FA’s Black, England and Proud series, when asked who his footballing inspirations are, Rashford responded. [via Sky Sports]: “The most recent was probably Rahim when he started talking about the problems he is facing.

“For me, Raheem showed me that if you’re not happy with something, say it and let people know. It’s not a crime to tell people what you think, it’s probably the greatest thing you can do. It made a difference for me.”

Both Rashford and Sterling started – and scored – during England’s 6-0 win in Bulgaria in October 2019 – a game which saw racist abuse from the home crowd.

Sterling calls out racism in media in 2018 / James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

The Manchester United forward praised the culture that England manager Gareth Southgate has created in the national team which enables the team to discuss issues collectively.

“I know some players have spoken out about racist issues in the past. [have had to] Deal with it yourself,” Rashford added. “The way we’ve dealt with things in recent days, it’s been amazing, literally all together.

“Sports in Bulgaria [the racist abuse] Been happening literally since the beginning of the game. I think one of the main reasons he had the strength to carry on and ignore it and play our football was because of that bond.”

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