Marcus Rashford holds ‘surreal’ Zoom call with Barack Obama

Marcus Rashford has had a Zoom call with Barack Obama, describing the experience as “surreal”.

The 23-year-old footballer met virtually with the former president and the pair bonded over their shared experiences of being raised by single mothers and wanting to make an impact on society.

Rashford, who has been an outspoken champion for tackling child food poverty, joked about holding the call with Mr Obama while “sitting in my kitchen in Manchester”.

Rashford is pictured during Wednesday night's final
Image:The Manchester United striker said the experience was ‘surreal’

The discussion, organised by Penguin Books, focused on giving back to your local community and the positive impact of reading – another cause that Rashford has supported for children.

“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,” the young footballer said.

“It wasn’t long before I realised just how aligned our experiences as children were in shaping the men you see today – adversity, obstacles and all. I genuinely enjoyed every minute of it. When President Obama speaks, all you want to do is listen.”

Mr Obama was also full of praise for the Manchester United and England striker, saying: “A lot of the young people I meet – including Marcus – they’re ahead of where I was when I was 23.

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“They’re already making changes and being positive forces in their communities.”

Barack Obama and Marcus Rashford spoke on Zoom
Image:Barack Obama and Marcus Rashford spoke on Zoom

Rashford spearheaded a prominent campaign for free school meals for children in poverty last year, prompting the government to turn around its policy twice.

As a result, 1.7 million vulnerable children were supported by a £520m government scheme.

The footballer also topped the Sunday Times’ Giving List this year after raising £20m for the charity FareShare.

The conversation between Rashford and the former president was moderated by broadcaster and author June Sarpong and will be released in full on Penguin UK’s YouTube channel at 2pm on Friday.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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