Rashford encourages players to speak up after his free school meals campaign

Omnisport

Marcus Rashford hopes the success of his free school meals campaign will encourage other players to speak up about social issues they care about.

The Manchester United and England striker wrote to members of parliament this week, imploring the United Kingdom government to continue providing food vouchers for 1.3million vulnerable children over the school holidays.

The scheme typically only runs during term time but the government made a U-turn on Tuesday and extended it for six weeks, with prime minister Boris Johnson claiming he had been unaware of Rashford's campaign prior to learning about the 22-year-old's own story.

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Rashford feels it can be used as an example for why modern players should use their platforms to highlight important societal matters, as his England team-mates Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho have done regarding racial injustice.

"Especially our generation of players in our sport, it's becoming more normal that people speak out on topics that they believe in," Rashford told BBC Breakfast.

"I think it's just positive for the future. We look at the generations after us, hopefully it becomes a normal thing and people actually want to do that and put themselves forward to do that."

Rashford has also helped charity FareShare reach a goal of supplying three million meals for children by the end of June.

He received widespread support for his lobbying of MPs, with United and England great David Beckham among those to praise his work.

Asked what his current United team-mates had said to him, Rashford replied: "They've all been interested and just asking questions about it.

"People want to make change and sometimes, like I was, you don't know the ins and outs of certain situations and the amount of people that it's actually affecting.

"They're just asking general questions like that and just trying to gain an understanding of it, which is definitely positive because that's what you need to do - you need to raise awareness to people who don't know."

The forward intends to continue to campaign for disadvantaged children having revealed his own reliance on free meals and food vouchers when growing up.

Though the campaign has dominated the news agenda in the UK over the past few days, health secretary Matt Hancock still managed to commit a faux pas when he called Rashford 'Daniel' during a Sky News interview on Wednesday.

Rashford saw the funny side, writing back to England legend Gary Lineker on Twitter: "I've been called much worse over the last couple of days."

Hancock later replied to Rashford calling him "a credit to the nation".

Rashford wrote back: "As I said yesterday this was never about politics or me.

"The PM didn't need to U-turn the decision but I'm thankful he did. I asked you to listen and you did that so on behalf of all mums like mine, dads and carers that are struggling across the country, thank you."

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