Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given his support to the Black Lives Movement and charitable work of Marcus Rashford and believes the ‘incredible’ Manchester United forward is a ‘future captain’ of the club.
The England international has raised over £20m for food charity FareShare during the suspension of the season, whilst his passionate, thoughtful and perfectly-executed campaign to help children in desperate need has led to a U-turn from the Prime Minister on providing children with free meals throughout the summer holidays.
Rashford’s stance has been an uplifting back story during the Premier League’s suspension, and Solskjaer has been gushing in his praise for a player who has provided a perfect example of how to use his platform for the greater good, suggesting he could be a future captain for both club and country.
“I think it’s an honour to have Marcus and what he’s done during the lockdown has been unbelievable he can help so many kids,” Solskjaer said at his pre-match press conference. “He’s just shown he’s taken from his own experience when he was a kid and knows how much it feels, means and we as a club are proud of him. He’s a top footballer but also a fantastic human being, future captain, leader, Manchester United, England, who knows… we’re really proud of him and his family must be [too].
“As his manager as well, it’s been fantastic to follow Marcus during the lockdown period, he got the Prime Minister to change his mind, but also what he’s done over the last months, Marcus is such a top, top human being, brought his own experiences and changed the lives of so many kids, he’s already been captain of the club and he’s proving all the time his human qualities and his qualities as a player of course.”
Asked if Rashford is the most popular man in the country right now, Solskjaer continued: “Yes, what Marcus has done has been incredible with his family, with his own personality.
"I once had to go through that same system"
In a TV exclusive with #BBCBreakfast @MarcusRashford explains why he's calling for a u-turn over the decision to end free school meal vouchers in England over summer.
More here: https://t.co/xcqAUyGU20 pic.twitter.com/Yndb93vqlH
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) June 15, 2020
“Marcus has always been a great human being, coming up through the academy, the club recognised that early on, gave him chances, the talent, but you need to be a human being to come all the way, he’s changed the lives of so many kids this summer which is more important than any game he’ll play. So hopefully he can keep both sides going as well as he is doing now.
“I don’t think Marcus thought about this politically or in any other way than helping people and kids and he knows deep inside he’s helped children with food and to change their lives and it makes him feel good about himself and as a role model, a top player he affects people in a good way, it’s not about him or anything like that.
“It’s up to every individual of course and footballers, as a group, they’ve been criticised a lot. This lockdown period has made a change in people and made them think about larger issues and different perspective, and for Marcus he’s always been a good lad and the change he’s made is unbelievable. If you can use your face to change something for the better then why not.”
Solskjaer also spoke on the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement to ended racial inequality, with Premier League players taking the knee at the start of the division’s first fixtures of the restart on Wednesday evening.
— Man City Xtra (@City_Xtra) June 17, 2020
The United boss says all sides must now ‘make a stand’ in a bid to make a collective change, and is hopeful that ‘leaders of countries and decision-makers’ will throw their support behind the movement.
“I feel now maybe this time finally is changing and it’s been on the agenda now for many many years, this issue of racism and we’ve had a couple of instances, talked about it, maybe forgotten but this time hopefully it will affect more people, leader of countries and decision-makers but we all support the actions.
“It’s been an event in history that’s changed people’s views and the movement now we all know this shouldn’t happen in 2020 and players, Premier League teams, we all make a stand and say enough’s enough, that’s good and I don’t expect anything different from ours.”
Manchester United get their campaign back underway with a trip to north London to Spurs on Friday night, the Red Devils three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, with ‘Black Lives Matter’ replacing player names on the back of shirts for the opening 12 fixtures of the restarted season.