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Man Utd star Rashford holds ‘surreal’ talk with former US President Obama

Marcus Rashford has spoken with President Barack Obama to discuss the power young people can have to make a change in society.

The Manchester United and England striker met with the 44th United States president in a video call organised by Penguin Books.

Their discussion also focused on the importance of giving back to your local community and the positive impact of reading.

They also spoke about some of their shared experiences, including being raised by single mothers.

Rashford, 23, last year spearheaded a prominent campaign to tackle child food poverty in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.

It led to 1.7m vulnerable children being supported by a £520m Government scheme and other projects have helped deliver 130m meals.

He has also launched a food education and cooking project for children, ‘Full Time Meals’.

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President Obama said: “A lot of the young people I meet – including Marcus – they’re ahead of where I was when I was 23.

“They’re already making changes and being positive forces in their communities.”

Rashford added: “It’s quite surreal isn’t it? I’m sitting in my kitchen in Manchester, speaking to President Obama. But, immediately, he made me feel at ease.

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“It wasn’t long before I realised just how aligned our experiences as children were in shaping the men you see today – adversity, obstacles and all.

“I genuinely enjoyed every minute of it. When President Obama speaks, all you want to do is listen.”

In addition to his campaign to end child food poverty, Rashford has also been a prominent figure in the fight against racism in football and online abuse.

The Manchester United forward said he received “at least 70 racial slurs” on social media following Wednesday’s Europa League final, which ended in a penalty shootout defeat to Villarreal.

Following the match, Rashford wrote on Twitter: “At least 70 racial slurs on my social accounts counted so far. For those working to make me feel any worse than I already do, good luck trying.”

United said they were “disgusted” by the abuse Rashford received, adding that other members of the team were targeted online following the defeat in Poland.

A club statement read: “Everyone at Manchester United is disgusted by the online hate and abuse aimed at Marcus Rashford and other players on social media after last night’s game. There is simply no excuse for it and we utterly condemn it.

“Manchester United has zero-tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and we encourage people to report it through

“We also urge social media platforms and regulatory authorities to strengthen measures to prevent this disgusting behaviour.”

In response to a request for comment from Sky Sports News, Facebook – which owns Instagram – said: “The racist abuse sent to Marcus Rashford last night is abhorrent and we don’t want it on Instagram.

“We swiftly removed a number of comments and accounts for breaking our rules and we’re currently rolling out a new tool which, when turned on, will help prevent anyone seeing messages like this again.

“No single thing will fix this challenge overnight but we’re committed to doing what we can to keep our community safe from abuse.”

However, Facebook turned down the opportunity to put somebody forward for an interview.

Sky Sports News has also contacted Twitter for comment.

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Kick It Out is football’s equality and inclusion organisation – working throughout the football, educational, and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices, and campaign for positive change.

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