Barack Obama praises Marcus Rashford in Zoom meeting

Barack Obama praises Marcus Rashford in Zoom meeting
Barack Obama and Marcus Rashford shared their experiences of growing up. Source: RANDOM HOUSE
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Daily US Times: Former US president Barack Obama has praised the anti-poverty campaigning of England footballer Marcus Rashford.

In a Zoom meeting, Mr Obama told Mr Rashford he was “way ahead of where I was” at that age.

The 23-year-old footballer said it was “surreal” to be talking to the former US president from his kitchen in Manchester.

Barack Obama backed young people such as Mr Rashford who are “positive forces in their communities”.

The men, in a meeting set up by the publishers Penguin, discussed Mr Obama’s memoir and shared experiences, such as being raised by single mothers and their involvement in community projects.

Obama said: “Even if you do something positive on a small scale, that’s making a difference, and it’s the accumulation of people doing positive things over time that makes us a little bit better with each successive generation.”

Obama also said in the chatting that when he was younger he had no expectation of becoming president: “If I had had more talent I would have probably preferred to be a professional athlete, like Marcus.”

Mr Obama told the Manchester United footballer that social movements often started with young people – but the footballer said they often “don’t understand how powerful their voice is”.

Marcus Rashford, who has run high-profile campaigns to prevent child hunger, said: “When President Obama speaks, all you want to do is listen.”

“I mean, it’s quite surreal isn’t it? I’m sitting in my kitchen in Manchester, speaking to President Obama. But immediately he made me feel at ease.”

Mr Rashford highlighted this week’s “racial slurs” he faced on social media after his team’s defeat in the Europa League final, with the attacks described by Manchester United as “disgraceful racist abuse”.

In their Zoom call, the two men discussed the importance of reading and books.

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