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Rashford had virtual talk with Obama

Former US president Barack Obama has spoken with Manchester United forward and campaigner Marcus Rashford, praising him for the work he has done on social issues

 Marcus Rashford

England star Rashford met virtually with Obama in an online conversation organised by Penguin Books and discussed topics such as the positive impact of reading.

Rashford, 23, last year spearheaded a campaign to tackle child food poverty in Britain during the coronavirus pandemic and has launched a book club to get disadvantaged children reading more.

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.”

The conversation will be released in full on Penguin UK’s YouTube channel at 1300 GMT on Friday.

Rashford said: “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.

“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.”

Rashford said he was racially abused on social media following Manchester United’s defeat in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

The forward, who has previously been a victim of online attacks, said he had received “at least 70 racial slurs” following United’s penalty shootout loss to Villarreal in Gdansk.

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