Marcus Rashford has praised Chelsea’s Reece James and Mason Mount for their “amazing” charitable work during the pandemic and believes it will help drive significant social change for the next generation.
Rashford, 23, has become a leading figure in the fight against child food poverty in Britain, with the Manchester United striker only last week calling for the government to launch a major and urgent review into the free school meals system.
His England teammates James, 21, and Mount, 22, have also immersed themselves in charitable causes, and have used their large social media followings to promote the work they have conducted off the pitch.
James has spent the past 18 months volunteering with a London-based charity, The Felix Project, which redistributes healthy food to charities and schools. The defender spent Christmas Eve delivering food parcels to two homeless shelters in the capital.
Mount recently became a patron for Together for Short Lives, which supports seriously ill children with life-limiting conditions, and their families, in the UK. Last year Mount auctioned a pair of his boots and made calls to affected children and their families, and he is raising money by raffling tickets to a Chelsea game.
They are not the only England players to have used their influence to help others during the pandemic, with Liverpool’s captain, Jordan Henderson, heading the Players Together initiative – a fund to support the NHS and frontline services.
Rashford, who won the Football Writers’ Association Tribute Award last week, said it had been fantastic to see the effort James and Mount have put into their charitable work, and hopes it inspires others to do the same.
“It is great,” Rashford told the FWA. “What people have to understand is that you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do. For me the fact people are doing it off their own backs is an amazing feeling and for the future it is going to help massively for kids that are not born yet. It is going to be a different environment which they come in to.
“Hopefully it continues and more and more people come on board and start to do their own things, their own little ways of helping people. That is how change happens.
“We have all experienced a tough year this year and change needs to happen, which is evident. The fact that people like Reece and Mason are doing that is amazing to see.”