Marcus Rashford says Raheem Sterling has inspired him

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Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford says Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling helped him appreciate and understand the power of his own voice; Rashford also praises Gareth Southgate for helping instil a sense of unity within the England squad

Marcus Rashford says England team-mate Raheem Sterling has been huge source of inspiration for his off-field activities that have recently seen his awarded an MBE.

Rashford was honoured last month after successfully lobbying the Government into a U-turn over its free school meals policy during lockdown, ensuring children in need would receive meals across the summer.

Manchester City forward Sterling has emerged as one of football’s most prominent voices in the fight against racism. Sterling was last week credited by the FA’s Paul Elliot for helping provide impetus to last week’s launch of the FA Leadership Diversity Code after describing a lack of black representation at the upper echelons of the game as an injustice in a Newsnight interview in June.

Speaking in the first episode of the FA’s Black, England and Proud series, made in partnership with Refresh Productions and Facebook, Rashford says Sterling’s use of his platform to try and affect change made him realise what he could achieve.

Asked who his football inspirations are, Rashford said: “The most recent one was probably Raheem when he started speaking about the issues that he has faced.

“For me, Raheem showed me if you’re not happy about something say it and make people aware of it. It’s not a crime to tell people what you think, it’s probably the biggest thing that sparked change for me.”

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Rashford’s admiration for Sterling – despite the fact they play for rival Manchester clubs – underlines the togetherness that exists within an England team that last month beat Belgium.

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