Marcus Rashford: Frank Lampard, Jurgen Klopp praise Man United striker for campaign against child poverty

Lampard: "It's been great to see young players with personality, with a voice, speaking up for things that they care passionately about"; watch Manchester United vs Chelsea on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 5pm; kick-off at 5:30pm

Marcus Rashford
Image: Marcus Rashford was awarded an MBE this month for his campaign against child poverty

Frank Lampard has praised Marcus Rashford's "fantastic" campaign against child poverty, while Jurgen Klopp says it is "absolutely incredible" what the Manchester United striker has achieved.

Rashford has been urging the Government to continue their free school meals programme over the upcoming school holidays, having already successfully forced them to extend the scheme over the summer.

The 22-year-old's campaign was put forward for a vote in Parliament by Labour, but it was rejected. However, an ever-growing number of councils and businesses are committing themselves to Rashford's proposals.

Lampard has been watching Rashford's work from afar and, ahead of Chelsea's trip to United on Saturday - live on Sky Sports Premier League - he said: "It's been great to see young players with personality, with a voice, speaking up for things that they care passionately about. I absolutely commend him for that.

"There are a group of players now in the Premier League - doesn't matter what age or what team you play for - that are speaking out in the right way. It's been fantastic and he deserves credit for it."

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Jurgen Klopp also expressed his admiration for Rashford but joked it was "tricky" for him to praise the striker because of the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United.

"I am not sure I can find any better words than much smarter people have said but what Marcus has started there is absolutely incredible, it is so nice," said Klopp.

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"And with all the rivalry between the clubs, in these moments we are as footballers and as human beings always united.

Jurgen Klopp
Image: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Rashford is a 'role model' and has praised him for his 'absolutely incredible' campaign

"It's just nice to show in a time when obviously a lot of people who are really in charge of something and don't show any sign of proper leadership, that a boy grown up in difficult circumstances and blessed with sensational talent, obviously, never forgot his roots and where he is coming from, that he has to do it.

"It is a bit of a shame that he has to do it but it is wonderful as well. I hope his mother is really proud of him. I don't know him but even I am proud of him.

"And he plays for United which makes it really tricky! I've heard about Liverpool and Manchester United (rivalry) years and years ago.

Juan Mata celebrates with team-mates after putting Manchester United 2-0 up at Brighton 1:17
Juan Mata – the special guest on this week’s Pitch to Post Preview podcast - has encouraged more footballers to follow Marcus Rashford’s lead and use their status to make a difference in their communities

"But yes that just shows that football can be really wondrous in moments and it shows that the subject is really really serious and that is why everybody puts the rivalry aside and thinks about the more important things in life.

"So I am really happy that Liverpool can show this solidarity in these moments. Now he is a role model for that and it is truly great and it won't distract him from his football things."

Lampard 'understands Ole pressure'

Chelsea's game at United on Saturday will see Lampard take on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the fifth time since he became Chelsea boss in the summer of 2019, with both managers looking to help their sides close the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League hierarchy.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford pictured in his training kit ahead of Champions League match against PSG at Parc des Princes 0:44
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks about the development of striker Marcus Rashford and hopes he goes from a 'good player to a very very good player'

Solskjaer has faced speculation over his future on a number of occasions since he replaced Jose Mourinho in December 2018, and Lampard says he understands the pressure on his counterpart's shoulders.

He said: "I've got a good relationship with him. When we play against them we're very cordial, shake hands and wish each other the best - and I think we genuinely both mean it.

"I know Michael Carrick [United coach] very well from my playing days, so I have a really good relationship with him.

"Every Premier League manager will have their own issues, their own story, their own problems. So I don't draw a line between me and Ole. He has his squad, I have mine.

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"I understand the pressures of managing a club of the size that we manage and I respect him completely."

Have Solskjaer and Lampard progressed?

A lot has happened since the corresponding fixture on the opening weekend of last season. From coronavirus to cup finals, major signings to minor crises, winning runs to woeful defeats, this has been an extraordinary time in the world of football for Manchester United and Chelsea - and beyond.

Frank Lampard 1:02
Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard expects his side to improve after collecting just eight points from a possible 15 in the Premier League so far this season

But 14 months on from Frank Lampard's harsh introduction to life as a Premier League manager with a 4-0 defeat against Manchester United, not much has really changed for the Chelsea boss or his Old Trafford counterpart. The same issues still need to be addressed.

Lampard's side had more possession that afternoon and more shots. But their efforts were undermined by individual errors. United might have been outpassed in open play but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were ruthless on the counter-attack. They picked Chelsea off.

Read the full feature here.

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