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01st Mar 2024

Marcus Rashford expresses regret over “reckless tackle” on Liverpool star

Ryan Price

“I just had so much emotion going through me.”

Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford has opened up about recent criticism aimed towards him by football fans and the media, and has spoken of his regret over a “reckless tackle” on a fellow England international.

In an open letter, published to The Players’ Tribune, the 26-year-old talked about his undying passion for his boyhood club, his struggles as a youth, and his determination to prove the haters wrong.

Rashford started the lengthy message by addressing recent media condemnation: “I don’t normally like to respond to things said about me. It’s not in my nature. I’m an introvert. I don’t even like talking about myself, unless I really know you. So 99% of the time, I can ignore the noise.

“But sometimes, certain lines get crossed, and I can’t help but want people to just understand who I am as a person.”

The Manchester born-and-bred athlete accused the press of focusing on trivial things in his personal life, such as “how much my car costs, guessing my weekly salary, my jewelry or even my tattoos”.

He added: “There’s a tone to it that you don’t get with all footballers. Let’s just leave it at that.”

The currently out-of-form striker went on to outline his deep connection to Manchester United and his devotion to the club.

“If you ever question my commitment to Man United, that’s when I have to speak up. It’s like somebody questioning my entire identity, and everything I stand for as a man. I grew up here. I have played for this club since I was a boy. My family turned down life-changing money when I was a kid so I could wear this badge,” he said.

Rashford expanded on his family’s financial struggles throughout his upbringing, and the sacrifices his mother and brother made to ensure he could attend Manchester United’s Youth Academy training at Carrington.

“Imagine being 5, 6, 7 years old and taking four different buses across town to get to training at The Cliff. That’s not an exaggeration. Ask my mum,” he said.

“Somebody had to take off work to go with me because nobody had a car in our family. Nobody even had a license. In them early days, it was two buses into town, then we had to walk through the city to get to the other bus out of town to get to Salford.

“Even in the pouring rain. Nothing really good to eat. Training for hours with my mum sat there waiting for me, not knowing a thing about football, just doing it out of love. Then the same back home.”

Rashford described the negative effects of his adoration for the club he plays for. He cites one particular game as being an example of an occasion where his passion got the better of him.

It’s no surprise that the opposition on the day in question were bitter rivals Liverpool, but his omission of guilt towards an incident that occurred between a fellow England international and himself has caught many readers by surprise.

He explained: “I’ll never forget the first time I ever played at Anfield, and I felt that atmosphere of United vs. Liverpool from the pitch, and I heard the whistle go and the roar of the crowd, I had so much adrenaline that I almost got sent off early in the match.

“I love James Milner, but I sprinted straight at him and flew in for a reckless tackle, because I just had so much emotion going through me — not as a United player, but as a United fan who just happened to be out on the pitch against Liverpool.

“I remember coming home and telling my family, ‘We need to get this under control right now. I need to find a way to take the fan part out of me, or else I’m going to get sent off every game’.” 

He finished the piece by bringing his crop of current United colleagues into the conversation, and vowing that brighter times lie ahead for the club and it’s fans.

“I promise you, the world has not seen the best of this United squad and these players,” he declared.

“We want to be back playing in the Champions League, then we have a massive international tournament at the end of the season.

“We will be back where we belong. We just have to keep working, and that starts with me.”

While nobody can deny the emotion attached to this message, ultimately it’ll be Rashford’s on-field expressions that will determine his standing amongst the football fandom and ruthless press that seem to have their target permanently fixed on his head.

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