Marcus Rashford has defended his off-field partnerships and questioned why footballers “can’t just do the right thing” for charity after learning of claims that he has profited from his campaigning.
The Manchester United and England forward, 23, said on Twitter that British political magazine The Spectator was set to run a story suggesting he has “benefited commercially” from his work.
Rashford has backed a number of child food poverty initiatives, forcing government U-turns over free school meals during the coronavirus pandemic.
He became the youngest person to top the Sunday Times Giving List by helping raise £20 million ($27 million) for groups tackling the issue.
“Just heard @spectator are planning to run a story on me tomorrow about how I have benefited commercially in the last 18 months,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
“To clarify, I don’t need to partner with brands. I partner because I want to progress the work I do off the pitch and most of any fee I would receive contributes to that.
“Last summer, 1.3m children had access to food support, through my relationship with Burberry children have a safe place to be after school where they will be fed, following the November investment vulnerable children have safe places to go this summer holiday, and due to my relationship with Macmillan 80,000 children now have a book to call their own.
“Do I have a larger commercial appeal following the U-turns? I’m sure. But I’m also a Manchester United and England international footballer. Why has there always got to be a motive? Why can’t we just do the right thing?”
Rashford, who received free school meals himself, was honoured in the delayed 2020 queen’s birthday honours list.
However, he was the target of online racist abuse after his penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final against Italy and offensive graffiti was also left on a mural of his face in Manchester.