Joe Cole calls government a "disgrace" for not backing Marcus Rashford
Cole was full of praise for Rashford
Joe Cole has described the government's failure to back Marcus Rashford's pleas to extend the free school initiative through holidays a "disgrace".
The former England midfielder was appearing as a pundit on BT Sport for the weekend's early kick-off between West Ham and Manchester City when asked about Rashford's recent efforts to help those in need by host Jake Humphrey.
"We said it last season, early on after lockdown: what a lad," Cole said.
"At that age, to have that social awareness to understand that that's what's needed, and it's great seeing the people from all cities getting together and helping him.
"And it's a disgrace really that the government are not backing him again. But yeah, Marcus Rashford, massive respect.
"I think we should all be proud of him, he's a footballer, he's in our industry. What a lad."
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 24, 2020
Rashford had expressed his disappointment on Wednesday night after MPs voted against Labour's bid to extend the free school meals initiative beyond term time.
'A significant number of children are going to bed tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter because of comments that have been made today,' a statement from Rashford said.
It later stressed: 'This is not politics, this is humanity.'
Since then, he has spoken of his pride at the community response - with countless businesses and local authorities offering to provide food for those entitled to free school meals.
Shortly after Cole's comments, Leeds United captain Liam Cooper vowed he and his teammates would stand with Rashford, also pledging £25,000 to help provide meals for hungry children over half-term.