Marcus Rashford will wear specially-designed Nike boots with messages from children who have been aided by the England striker’s fight against food poverty in the international against Belgium on Sunday night.
The Manchester United star, who was awarded an MBE on Friday night after being recognised for his efforts in feeding underprivileged children, will wear black boots with ‘I am the future of’ alongside messages from children.
The England twitter account announced the news alongside photos of the boots and Rashford himself holding them, with the caption: ‘Inspiring millions and giving a voice to the next generation.’
One of the laces also has a quote from boxing legend Muhammad Ali, reading: ‘Recognise how every moment of our journey is an important part of the growth of our soul.’
Rashford will wear the boots as England take on Belgium at 5:00pm (BST) at Wembley Stadium in a crucial UEFA Nations League clash.
The 22-year-old has won many plaudits following his efforts to combat child food poverty in the UK, which included forcing Boris Johnson into a U-turn over providing free school meal vouchers for 1.3million kids during the summer holidays.
Rashford admitted it was a proud moment for his family as he received the news on Friday night – and paid tribute to the work of his Mum.
‘This is a very special moment for myself and my family, but particularly my mum who is the real deserving recipient of the honour,’ he said on Instagram.
‘The fight to protect our most vulnerable children is far from over. I would be doing the families I have met and spoken with an injustice if I didn’t use this opportunity to respectfully urge the Prime Minister who recommended me for this honour, to support our children during the October half-term with an extension of the voucher scheme, as the furlough scheme comes to an end and we face increased unemployment.
‘It’s another sticking plaster, but one that will give the parents of millions of children just one less thing to worry about.
‘Let’s stand together in saying that no children in the UK should be going to bed hungry. Not having access to food is never the child’s fault.’
Rashford’s appeal came as it emerged that 900,000 more kids have been registered for free school meals during the pandemic.
The 22-year-old admitted he would definitely be taking his mother Melanie to Buckingham Palace when receiving the honour.
‘I know I’ve got to take my mum, she doesn’t give me a choice,’ Rashford tells BBC Breakfast this morning.
‘Then I’ve got to pick between my brothers and sisters — wish me luck! It’s all just a little bit strange. People from where we come from don’t get these type of things, so we don’t know how to act or behave. It’s just a proud moment for everyone.’
Another beneficiary of free meals as a boy, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, led the tributes to Rashford. ‘When I first heard about Marcus’s campaign, and that he was championing the right of every child to have access to a decent meal all year round, it moved me deeply,’ Mr Khan told Sportsmail.
‘Everything from the conviction with which he stated his position to the determination with which he pursued this cause spoke of someone for whom little had come easy but who wanted life to be a little bit easier for others.
‘Like Marcus, my views on free school meals were not based on political ideology but on my own experience. They were something my siblings and I relied upon and they provided us with the sustenance needed to give our very best at school.
‘What Marcus has achieved on behalf of so many young people is extraordinary and he thoroughly deserves this honour.’