Sir Alex Ferguson has paid tribute to Marcus Rashford after the Manchester United star was honored at the Football Writers’ Association’s annual tribute awards.
The 23-year-old became the youngest ever recipient of the FWA tribute, which was awarded in recognition of his work to fight child food poverty.
Rashford has led a successful, but still ongoing, campaign to extend the provision of free school meals for vulnerable children throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
England star Marcus Rashford was again honoured for his work to fight child food poverty
Sir Alex Ferguson led the tributes to the Manchester United star who he met aged just seven
Legendary United boss Ferguson led the tributes for the England international, and Rashford was moved by the 79-year-old Scot’s words.
After receiving the award he said: ‘For me [hearing from Ferguson] was an unbelievable experience and I think for me that is probably the only regret I have ever had in my career, never having the chance to play under Sir Alex.
‘It is something which is probably never going to happen now but to be on the phone with him and just have 10 or 15 minutes conversation with him was amazing and I am pleased he was aware of the situation and he wanted to help as well, so it was brilliant.
‘He has always, from the beginning really, backed me with what I am doing.
‘Probably when other people in sports were telling me not to do it and just focus on football, he said if I believed in that, and I believe it is the right thing to do, then he is behind it. Those words from him are an amazing feeling to hear that.’
Ferguson has helped Rashford with his fight, previously pledging £2m towards the FareShare charity for which the Manchester United forward is an ambassador.
Rashford admitted the one regret he has is not playing under Sir Alex at Manchester United
The 79-year-old, who left Manchester United in 2013, praised Rashford before he received the award from the FWA.
He said: ‘I have known him since being a kid of 7 years of age, and seen him develop through the ranks of Manchester United into a truly wonderful person.
‘Apart from his football life, what he has achieved in the last few months is quite astonishing, how he has helped the people in need is a truly amazing achievement.
‘I would like to congratulate him on that. He has shown to young people in particular there is a different way of dealing with life.
‘He has shown great humility, he has shown courage to do what he did, so this achievement is well deserved and should be recognised with what he has done.
‘So Marcus, well done on a fantastic achievement.’
On Thursday, Rashford again stepped up pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson over free school meals in England with a call for an urgent review of the Government’s policy.
Rashford stepped up his efforts after private companies distributed ‘inadequate’ food parcels
The England and Manchester United striker has joined with TV chefs Jamie Oliver, Tom Kerridge, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the actress Dame Emma Thompson to press ministers to develop a strategy which could help end child food poverty.
In their letter to the Prime Minister, backed by more than over 40 NGOs, charities and education leaders, they welcomed the ‘robustness’ of his response to the ‘inadequate’ meal parcels being provided by some private companies.
However, they said that after a series of problems – including over vouchers and the holiday provision of meals – that had arisen during the pandemic, it was the right time to ‘step back and review the policy in more depth’.
Earlier, Home Secretary Priti Patel became the latest senior minister to condemn food provider, Chartwells, after images showing the poor-quality hampers were widely shared on social media.
‘The company that were involved with that appalling display of food parcels should be ashamed of themselves quite frankly,’ she told ITV’s This Morning.
‘It was thoroughly unacceptable and it is right that the Government are investigating them. I personally think some action should be taken against that company.’