Marcus Rashford came from estate plagued by drugs, gangs and shootings but thanks to mum Mel is Man Utd and England hero – The Sun

MANCHESTER United and England star Marcus Rashford has defied the odds to shine at Old Trafford.

Rashford has even forced Boris Johnson to U-turn and provide £15 a week free school meals vouchers for poor kids during the summer holidays.


But the 22-year-old striker grew up in one of Manchester’s toughest areas, on an estate plagued by drugs and shootings.

Many of his peers ended up in gangs, while one of his own step-cousins is a convicted murderer.

But his mother Mel, 56, a devout Christian, was determined not to let her son go off the rails.

Friend Fabio Viviani, 22, told us: “While other people got into drugs and gangs, Marcus kept his head on his shoulders.

“We all used to play on the green outside his house. He was so focused and used to say, ‘I just want to be a footballer’.

“I’m so proud of him. I used to put the ball through his legs when we played together from the age of about ten.

"Now look at him, He is an intelligent lad who never got into trouble.”

One of his cousins added: “His mum Mel is very protective and kept him on the straight and narrow.

"She’s pretty religious and instilled this into him. He kept out of trouble when many other family members haven’t.”

FATAL STABBING

In 2004 Marcus’s step-cousin Nicholas Rashford, then 18, was sentenced to

16 years after fatally stabbing Alex Doyle, 20, in a street brawl.

He is now out of jail on licence to witness his step-cousin Marcus earning all the plaudits, not just for his football skills but his honourable charity work.

Rashford famously scored twice on his Premier League debut against Arsenal in 2016.



He also broke George Best’s record — which had stood for more than 50 years — to become United’s youngest scorer in a European competition when he scored twice against Danes FC Midtjylland in the Europa League in 2016.

HUMBLE ATTITUDE

Last summer, he signed a new four-year contract worth £250,000-per-week, but that hasn't changed his humble attitude.

While his teammates might enjoy fancy restaurants, Marcus still prefers catching up with friends at J’s Rhythm, the Caribbean takeaway near his old family home in Wythenshawe.

Hemen Farouq, 35, who works there, said: “He’s a lovely lad — one of the better kids.

"There’s a lot of drug-taking and dealing of cannabis and laughing gas here, but Marcus stayed away from all that.

“I often give him his chicken patties for free, he’s such a smashing lad.”

'ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A FOOTBALLER'

A big United fan, Marcus had pictures of Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney on his bedroom wall.

His uncle Melvin Maynard, 57, told us: “He was kicking a ball from the age of two and always wanted to be a footballer.”

The family credit Mel, a former Ladbrokes cashier, for helping Marcus become the polite, focused young man he is today.

She brought him up on her own with his siblings Chantelle, 38, Dwaine, 36, Claire, 34, and Dane, 27.


Marcus had little contact with his dad Robert Rashford, 55, whose name is not even on his birth certificate.

One cousin revealed: “Robert has only had minimal contact but he blames Mel for keeping him away. Marcus is a very shy lad, especially around girls.

"He just loves his football and is really into computer gaming. He’s not the sort to get carried away.”

The family first lived in the southern suburb of Withington. Former neighbour Chris Wallace, 61, said: “You’d see Marcus with a ball all the time.

He’d play in the street. I’d say, ‘Watch that ball!’ in case it hit my windows. Even though I’m a City fan, it’s nice to see him doing so well.”

FLETCHER MOSS RANGERS

Marcus was five when his talents were spotted by local youth team Fletcher Moss Rangers, where former United players Wes Brown and Danny Welbeck also started out.

Coach Ron Jamieson said: “He’s a fantastic lad — well-grounded. His brilliant mum keeps his feet on the floor.”

Ron’s colleague David Horrocks, 60, added: “We used to joke about needing two balls on the pitch during games, as Marcus wanted the ball so much.”

When Marcus was nine, the family moved to the Northern Moor estate in Wythenshawe, where Channel 4’s iconic show Shameless was filmed.


It is a tough neighbourhood where local teens smoke cannabis while dealers sell laughing gas and speed.

There is a problem with gangs and crime is rife.

Drug busts and anti-social behaviour are commonplace. But Marcus only ever wanted to have fun enjoying a kickabout outside his £150,000 terraced house.

Family friend Dwyane Simpson, 34, said: “He still comes back to the estate to see people. He was a good kid.

“A lot of youngsters round here drift into gangs, but not Marcus. He was always very focused.”

MUM COMES FIRST

As a thank-you to his mum, for keeping him on the straight and narrow, Rashford showed his gratitude by renting a £800,000 home for her in 2016.

The six-bedroom mansion is a far-cry from the urban estate the family grew up on, and features all the mod-cons.

There is a first-floor laundry room, slit-level master bedroom with separate dressing area, complete with ensuite, sauna, as well as a double garage, and a large garden area

He was believed to have paid around £5,000-per-month for the property that his brothers Dane and Dwayne also lived in.


Rashford, himself, has his own £1.2million five-bedroom luxury pad in Wilmslow he bought in 2019.

CHARITY CRUSADER

During lockdown Rashford has become a charity crusader, juggling challenging Joe Wicks as the nation's PE teacher.

Astonishingly, he has raised £20million to feed three million kids a week across Britain through charity FareShare, with a growing number of children going hungry during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Red Devils star also demanded child poverty be stamped out by writing an impassioned personal letter to Parliament detailing his own experiences relying on school dinners and food banks growing up,



Rashford urged the government to reconsider their plans to halt the school-meal vouchers system at the end of this term.

And after initially rejecting his plea, they performed a sensational U-turn and announced a new £120m voucher scheme called the “Covid summer food fund”.

Rashford responded to the news by tweeting: “I don’t even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.”

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