Marcus Rashford: How 'humble' Manchester United star was nurtured on and off the pitch

Marcus Rashford's former coach Dave Horrocks tells Sky Sports News how the Man Utd and England forward has developed into a star on and off the pitch: "His mum has taught him to be humble and respectful and he remembers that. Those early life lessons have been instilled in him."

Marcus Rashford 0:28
Marcus Rashford's former coach Dave Horrocks says the Manchester United forward wanted to express himself on the football pitch from a very young age

Not many 23-year-olds have achieved what Marcus Rashford has. From winning major trophies with Manchester United to forcing government U-turns and receiving an MBE from the Queen, his former coach Dave Horrocks tells Sky Sports News what makes him such a special young man.

Since scoring on his Manchester United and England debuts as an 18-year-old in 2016, Rashford has won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League and gone on to find the net 87 times in 269 appearances for club and country.

This season, he scored his first senior hat-trick for United against RB Leipzig in the Champions League and got the opening goal in England's Nations League win over Belgium - the world's No 1-ranked team.

Marcus Rashford, Manchester United
Image: Rashford has scored nine goals for Manchester United so far this season, including six in the Champions League

Off the pitch, Rashford has campaigned successfully to persuade the UK government to extend free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays, received an MBE from the Queen for his services to vulnerable children during the coronavirus pandemic, attracted over a million signatures on his petition to end child food poverty, earned a place on the Football Black List, and recently launched a book club to help children enjoy the escapism of reading.

Dave Horrocks, who received special recognition at the UK Coaching Awards this week, coached Rashford as a youngster at Manchester-based junior side Fletcher Moss Rangers. He could not be prouder of the man Rashford has become and spoke to Sky Sports News about how he has developed on and off the pitch.

Rashford has earned praise for his efforts from across football and beyond
Image: Rashford has earned praise for his off-the-pitch efforts from across football and beyond

Q: What was Rashford like as a youngster and as a footballer?

DH: "He was a lovely kid and came from a great background. He was very respectful and just loved having the ball at his feet.

"We've always said that when he was on the pitch we really should have had two footballs because he just loved it so much.

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"He just wanted to express himself which was really the ethos of what Fletcher Moss Rangers tries to do with the kids. Getting them to express themselves and do things without fear of getting criticised or getting things wrong."

Q: Where did Rashford's compassion and kindness come from?

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford 1:54
Rashford's family upbringing instilled important early life lessons which he has used to help champion social issues, according to Horrocks

DH: "I think that's just his upbringing. His mum has taught him to be humble and respectful and I think he remembers that.

"Those early life lessons have been instilled in him and it fell in line with our values because when we meet, we always shake hands with the kids.

"That's why this Covid situation has been really sad for us because when we shake hands with the kids and the parents, we feel as though we are being a little bit more personal with them."

Q: How do you identify and nurture talent like Rashford's?

DH: "You can't put your finger on what it is they've actually got. Yes they're very attentive, yes they listen very easily, yes they have got certain skills and attributes, but it's putting the whole package together.

"I think our biggest asset has always been the parents and having the parents buy into what it is we do with the kids. We get the full support and backing from the parents.

"When we ask the kids to listen, they do stop and listen and the parents back up what it is we're trying to do."

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the head coach / manager of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester United at Turf Moor on December 28, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom 0:31
Speaking in October, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks about Rashford's work off the pitch after he was awarded an MBE and launched an online petition demanding more help for vulnerable children

Q: How did you feel watching Rashford's instant impact on his Europa League & Premier League debuts?

DH: "The biggest impact was the Arsenal game because yes Marcus scored two goals, but Danny Welbeck scored as well and Danny Welbeck is an ex-Fletcher Moss Rangers player too.

"Myself and one of the other coaches who used to work with us, we were sitting together in the ground and we were just in tears. It was a phenomenal experience to see three goals scored by two of our players."

Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata linked up well at Old Trafford on Sunday
Image: Rashford scored twice on his Premier League debut against Arsenal in February 2016

Q: He's clearly still developing as a footballer. Could he be a future England captain?

DH: "I don't necessarily think he's an England captain in terms of showing leadership in his vocal attributes.

"I think he does show leadership in how he puts a lot of effort in, and I do see him getting better and better because of the players he has around him in the United team and England side as well."

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