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'Rashford doesn’t just speak about something, he acts'

UCD professor and author Paul Rouse praised Marcus Rashford for his calmness and his tendency to ...


'Rashford doesn’t just speak about something, he acts'

UCD professor and author Paul Rouse praised Marcus Rashford for his calmness and his tendency to be proactive rather than simply speaking about an issue.

Since October 2019, the Manchester United forward has been involved in providing food and other support to young homeless people across Manchester, as well as expanding the school dinners programmes in England.

Rashford has been at the forefront of food distribution for the poorer communities of England over the past two years, despite facing opposition from within the English government.

Speaking on OTB Sports’ Sunday Paper Review, Rouse suggested that, despite opposition from politicians and fans alike, he enjoys watching athletes and celebrities use there platforms for activism.

“I am really interested in that intersection between sport and politics, and between sport and policy-making” Rouse said.

“There is a kind of a view abroad that a sports person should almost shut up and sit to the side, similarly a musician should.

“I would disagree with that; I think you are entitled to make your point and to make a statement.”

Rouse has been particularly impressed with Rashford’s proactivity throughout his campaigns for food distribution.

“I think what makes Rashford really interesting is that he doesn’t just speak about something, he acts,” Rouse said.

“Rashford acting on the kids campaign for breakfast food for kids during the holidays in England, and school dinners, comes after something else that he has done.

“He has been involved since October 2019 in the provision of food boxes for young homeless people around Manchester.

“He went on from that to issues around food banks and school kitchens.

“It is absolutely true that this year, he took on [Boris] Johnson and the British government.”

Marcus Rashford Food Manchester United's Marcus Rashford during the Carabao Cup Semi-Final match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Peter Powell/PA Wire/PA Images

Rashford has shown maturity in his campaigns

Rashford’s food campaigns first came to the public eye in July 2019, when he campaigned for the extension of school dinners to support families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He faced the same struggle again in October after the government voted against the extension of the scheme into the holiday period.

Rouse suggested that both instances allowed Rashford to display his maturity in the face of criticism and how he managed to successfully campaign against the English government.

“In both instances, the Tory government displayed just how slow learners they are when it comes to dealing with Marcus Rashford,” Rouse said.

“The upshot of it is that even in October, when the Tory party voted against the extension of the school dinners programme into the holiday period, Rashford did something really simple and really clever.

“He began to retweet stories of how different communities were acting together to fill this vacuum left by the state, and within a week, the government had caved for the second time and announce the 400 million programme for low income families during this period.”

For Rouse, this maturity is most evident in the way that he has dealt with abuse from fans, politicians and members of the media.

“If you see Marcus Rashford on Twitter, even when he is abused by people, he just calmly destroys their arguments,” Rouse said.

“Even when the Daily Mail had a go at him, they were unsuccessful, and it comes down to his calmness and his judgement in how he presents himself and his ideas.

“He is relentlessly practical, rather than just engaging in rhetoric.”

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Boris Johnson England Liverpool Manchester United Marcus Rashford Paul Rouse UCD