London (AP) – Marcus Rashford 2, Boris Johnson 0. For the second time, the English footballer has pushed the British Prime Minister to give in.

Johnson even called Rashford in person over the weekend to tell him his government plans to invest £ 170 million to help needy families with free school lunches and grocery vouchers and heating bills throughout the winter. Rashford had been stubbornly advocating it for weeks.

The Manchester United striker had already received an open letter to British MPs in the summer so that children from needy families could receive food stamps and aid packages during school holidays. The government wanted to stop this aid, which was deployed during the corona-related exit restrictions. In the end, she gave in to the insistence and public pressure of 23-year-old Rashford.

This time it was the same. “I had a good talk with the Prime Minister,” Rashford said after Johnson’s appeal, “and I am very pleased with the steps taken to combat child poverty in Britain.” Manchester United had just won 3-1 at Everton. The striker was probably even more pleased with the news from Johnson than with the away.

And so is Rashford: after his success, he tried to make sure the conservative Johnson could save face. “The intentions shown by the government today are nothing but positive and that should be recognized,” said the professional footballer. The lives of 1.7 million children in the UK will improve over the next 12 months.

Unlike many of his Premier League colleagues, who publish funny videos on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, show off fast cars and let their PR team make irrelevant motivational statements, Rashford doesn’t like to keep himself the center of attention. Man-United’s homegrown group has long preferred to focus on social media engagement.

When Marcus Rashford speaks, it is always thoughtful and often serious. And he knows what he’s talking about. As a footballer, he became a millionaire, but grew up in poor conditions with four siblings, his mother a single parent. His family relied on meal vouchers. “I don’t want a child to go through what I’ve been through,” Rashford said. “And no parent should experience what my mother went through.”

A few weeks ago, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the Order of the British Empire for his efforts. Rashford then announced that he would continue to fight intensively for charity. Now he is not only one of the most popular but also one of the most influential football players on the island. Someone who can even get Boris Johnson to change course.

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