Great Britain

Liverpool boss Klopp sets fierce Man Utd rivalry aside by revealing he’s ‘proud’ of hero Rashford for school meals drive

LIVERPOOL boss Jurgen Klopp has put rivalries aside to heap praise on Marcus Rashford.

The Manchester United striker is now joint-favourite for Sports Personality of the Year following his tremendous work in campaigning for children to get free school meals over the holidays.

After the government turned down his bid to extend school meals, an army of cafes across the UK backed his pledge.

The 22-year-old has also raised £20million for charity FareShare, and volunteered his own time to help staff on Thursday.

Rashford's amazing work has united a nation and Klopp lavished praise on the 'role model'.

The German said: "I am not sure I can find any better words than much smarter people have said but what Marcus has started there is absolutely incredible, it is so nice.

"And with all the rivalry between the clubs, in these moments we are as footballers and as human beings always united.

"It's just nice to show in a time when obviously a lot of people who are really in charge of something and don't show any sign of proper leadership, that a boy grown up in difficult circumstances and blessed with sensational talent, obviously, never forgot his roots and where he is coming from, that he has to do it.

"It is a bit of a shame that he has to do it but it is wonderful as well.

"I hope his mother is really proud of him. I don't know him but even I am proud of him.

"And he plays for United which makes it really tricky! I've heard about Liverpool and Manchester United (rivalry) years and years ago.

"But yes that just shows that football can be really wondrous in moments and it shows that the subject is really really serious and that is why everybody puts the rivalry aside and thinks about the more important things in life.

"So I am really happy that Liverpool can show this solidarity in these moments.

"Now he is a role model for that and it is truly great and it won't distract him from his football things."

Earlier this week, Rashford blasted Tory MPs for making kids feel like they 'don't matter' after losing his bid to get the nation's most vulnerable youngsters free school meals this winter.

Team-mate Juan Mata was another who encouraged his pal to keep fighting the cause.

He said: "It's important for every player to realise the platform we have, the message we can get across and the amount of people we can help.

"I'm very proud of what Marcus has been doing.

"On the pitch, of course we know how good he is and he is still performing very well but off the pitch also, the work he's been doing over the last months has been great.

"He has improved the quality of life for so many kids in this country, which I'm sure everyone is proud of.

"His family should be proud of him, me, as a team-mate, and the club are very proud of him.

"And I think it's important also to get the message that of course we are football players and our main focus is our professional life, which is training and playing football and being ready to perform.

"But that doesn't take away from having time to do these kind of things, which doesn't take any focus away from our professional life.

"I've seen some people saying, Marcus should stick to playing football and things like that, which I don't really agree with because he can do both, as he's showing.

"And I'm very proud of what he's done and he's getting the reward he deserves."

Man Utd’s Marcus Rashford helps out at food charity after MPs reject bid to extend school meals

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