OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER hailed Marcus Rashford’s exploits on and off the pitch, insisting he will become a Manchester United legend.
Rashford, 23, will receive a special award at Sunday’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year show for his tireless charity work on behalf of underprivileged children.
Prior to that he will continue his day job by leading United’s attack in the Prem clash with bitter rivals Leeds.
And Solskjaer is amazed at the young striker’s marvellous multi-tasking.
The Red Devils manager said: “Sometimes you think ‘will this affect his football’ because he is such a young lad. But he has taken on this responsibility in a fantastic way and balanced it really well with his football.
“Marcus is talented enough, grounded enough and driven enough to be a club legend.
“In and around the dressing room as well, he is a Manchester United boy through and through.
“I am delighted with his contribution. He is a role model. He can affect and influence so many people.”
Rashford has helped raise over £20MILLION for kids to receive free school meals during the coronavirus lockdown.
His campaign also resulted in the Government providing 1.3m children with meal vouchers during the summer holidays.
And having forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make one U-turn, Rashford then achieved another.
Just last month £400m was provided by the PM to support poor children and their families and Rashford was given an MBE in the Queen’s honours list.
In between his fantastic campaigning, he has scored 12 goals in 20 appearances.
Solskjaer added: “As a human being, we have seen the true Marcus Rashford ever since he was a kid.
And you see Marcus really cares about people who have had a difficult time or aren’t as privileged as many are, or as he is now
“You always get influenced and your character is shaped through your family and where you grew up.
“And you see Marcus really cares about people who have had a difficult time or aren’t as privileged as many are, or as he is now.
“He knows what they are going through and what he has done is exceptional.
“He has a great team around him — and wants his charity work to be organised by others as well so that he can balance the two most important things in his life.”
The drive to help the needy was born out of his own experiences growing up, often going without food and seeing his mother make sacrifices to help him and her family.
Rashford has also launched a book club to help children enjoy the escapism of reading.
Solskjaer added: “The opposition players and supporters, of course, they respect him for what he’s done.
“Some clubs, the response Marcus has had from them has been unbelievable.”
Solskjaer is trying to do his bit to help.
In last week’s 3-2 win over Sheffield United he kicked off with opposite number Chris Wilder, complained that Rashford was being roughed up by the Blades.
Solskjaer said: “Of course I try to look after him, try to protect him. You never know in a footballer’s career if you are lucky or unlucky with injuries.
“He had a back injury last year and it is mine and the staff’s job to make sure we protect him. Because with his talent, he’s always going to be a target for the opposition.”
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