Rashford responds to claims he should 'stick to football' ahead of Euro 2020

The people who boo Marcus Rashford when he is taking the knee are probably the same people who tell him to stick to football.

Hiding behind phoney social media accounts, this minority seems to think young athletes such as Rashford should not be wasting time challenging the government, raising millions to feed underprivileged children, championing the cause of the nation’s youngsters.

And somehow, they believe their inane mutterings have been given some sort of credence by Rashford’s struggle for form in the latter stages of the domestic season.

Rashford gives them a dignified short shrift.

“From when I was a kid I’ve always dreamed of playing football,” he says on the eve of his third major tournament as an England player.

Marcus Rashford regularly gets told to stick to football

“It’s always been on my mind and it’s put me in a position to do what I’ve been doing this last year.

“But nothing changes in terms of football, I’m still hungry and determined to win things and win trophies. As long as that stays, there’s not an issue with doing the two things.”

The real concern over Rashford is that a long season, in which he has made 60 appearances for club and country, could take its toll, physically and mentally.

And Gareth Southgate phoned the striker a couple days after his emotional post-match interview following Manchester United ’s defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final.

But Rashford was quick to stress his well-being to the England manager, who made the United man his captain for the final warm-up game against Romania.

He explains: “He rang me, just doing the things he’d normally do. We had obviously had a disappointing final and he gave me a couple of days to think about things and regroup mentally.

“When we had the chat, I was more than ready mentally to join the team and get training again.

Rashford had a gruelling season with Man Utd

“When you lose a final, you want to play the next game as quickly as possible. Football’s like that – there are a lot of ups and a lot of downs and, for me, the best way to recover from a big down such as losing a final is to get back amongst the team and play the next game.”

Getting back amongst this England squad was obviously important for Rashford, who believes this is as single-minded an England group as he has been part of.

He goes on: “I think everyone’s got a clear mind going into the tournament, which is important.

“In the past there have been too many, I’d say, outside influences but for this tournament I feel the camp is very relaxed but also determined and focused.

“The togetherness is great. There are players who have been in the semi-finals in Russia, players who’ve been to the Euros in France in 2016, players at the Nations League.

“I feel like we’ve grown and developed together and when you have that togetherness, it’s easy for young talented players that have joined us to slide in and play their best football.”

Those young, talented players are putting pressure on the likes of Rashford, still only 23, for a place in Southgate’s starting eleven.

But Rashford tows the party line and insists it is all about the squad, saying: “Don’t get me wrong, everybody wants to be in the first eleven, but you need to have players capable of coming on at different moments and giving that extra spark.

“I think in our squad we have that all over the pitch so, to be honest, it’s not at the front of my mind.

“Whether or not you’re starting in the first eleven, you’ve still got a massive role to play. You’re being deluded if you expect 11 players to win 7 games in a short space of time.

“The first eleven is important but not the be-all and end-all because we’re going to need everyone to win the trophy.

“It’s seven games to do something special for your country.”

And, thankfully, Rashford knows all about doing something special for his country.


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