Man Utd’s Rashford asks critics to ‘have a bit more humanity’

Marcus Rashford says he can take “any headline” but asked his critics to show a “bit more humanity” before they question his commitment to Manchester United and love of football. BSS

The England forward has struggled this season, scoring just five times for his under-performing club side — in stark contrast to last season, when he scored a career-best 30 goals for United.

Rashford has also faced criticism over his off-field conduct.

Reports in late January suggested Rashford had spent an evening at a Belfast nightclub before missing training with United.

And United manager Erik ten Hag branded Rashford’s decision to go to a separate nightclub event after October’s 3-0 derby defeat by Manchester City “unacceptable”.

But Rashford, writing in The Players’ Tribune on Thursday, said he wanted to put his side of the story.

“So 99 percent of the time, I can ignore the noise,” he said. “But sometimes, certain lines get crossed, and I can’t help but want people to just understand who I am as a person”.

He added he understands the media “game”.

“They’re not really writing about me,” he said. “It’s like they’re writing about this character, ‘Marcus Rashford’. It can’t just be about me as a 26-year-old lad on a night out, or a lad getting a parking ticket.

“It’s got to be about how much my car costs, guessing my weekly salary, my jewellery or even my tattoos. It’s got to be about my body language, and questioning my morals, and speculating about my family, and my football future. There’s a tone to it that you don’t get with all footballers. Let’s just leave it at that.”

Rashford said he felt some of the criticism goes back to the coronavirus pandemic when he launched a high-profile campaign to tackle child food poverty.

“For some reason, that seemed to rub certain people the wrong way,” he said. “It seems like they’ve been waiting for me to have a human moment so they can point the finger and say, ‘See? See who he really is?’

“Listen, I’m not a perfect person. When I make a mistake, I’ll be the first one to put my hand up and say that I need to do better.

“But 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.”
– ‘Life-changing money’ –

Rashford said his family had turned down “life-changing money” when he was a child so he could wear the United badge.

“I can take any criticism,” he said. “I can take any headline. From podcasts, social media and the papers. I can take it.

“But if you start questioning my commitment to this club and my love for football and bringing my family into it, then I’d simply ask you to have a bit more humanity.”

The forward, who made his debut for United in 2016, said he had tried to stay a normal person in the football “bubble” but admitted he was not perfect.

“I’m a human being,” he said. “I’ve made mistakes that a lot of lads in their 20s make, and I’ve tried to learn from them. But I’ve also made sacrifices that nobody sees.

“The thing that I want you to understand is that money is not what keeps you playing through the hard times. It’s the love of the game, plain and simple.”

The striker urged United fans to remain positive despite a rocky season for a side who are well off the pace in the Premier League.

“I promise you, the world has not seen the best of this United squad and these players,” he said. “We want to be back playing in the Champions League, then we have a massive international tournament at the end of the season (Euro 2024).

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

“If you back me, good. If you doubt me, even better.”

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