Marcus Rashford hopes his new book can help inspire the next generation, just as the memoirs of President Barack Obama have done for millions around the world.
Manchester United and England striker Rashford met virtually with the 44th United States President in a Zoom conversation organised by Penguin Books.
During the wide-ranging discussion, Rashford and Mr Obama spoke about some of their shared experiences, including being raised by single mothers.
The conversation, moderated by broadcaster and author June Sarpong OBE, was released in full on Penguin UK’s YouTube channel on Friday afternoon.
Talk also focused on the importance of giving back to your local community and the positive impact of reading, as well as other themes from the president’s memoir, A Promised Land.
Last year Rashford, 23, spearheaded a prominent campaign to tackle child food poverty in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.
It led to 1.7million vulnerable children being supported by a £520million Government scheme and other projects have helped deliver 130 million meals. Rashford has also launched a food education and cooking project for children, ‘Full Time Meals’.
On May 27, the United striker saw his first book published, ‘You Are A Champion: How To Be The Best You Can Be’, which is aimed at inspiring the next generation.
Rashford hopes to be able to reach some of the youngsters who, much like him, had faced their own difficulties at an early age.
“As long as I feel like I am learning and am taking my mind somewhere it has not quite been before, (then) I feel like as a person I am still growing and developing,” Rashford said.
“The main reason why I started passing this message on to the younger generation is I wanted them to feel the same thing I felt at an earlier stage really, to just give them a head start in whatever it is they are going to end up doing.”
Rashford added: “I don’t want the book to be only read by people who want to become footballers or grew up in places I grew up. I feel it has got messages in there for everyone and can benefit you when the time is right.
“For me, it is just about setting them off in the right direction and allowing them to go and do things bigger than what anybody could imagine.”
The England international admitted it was “quite surreal” to have been speaking to the former US President “while sitting in my kitchen in Manchester”.
Rashford 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 revealed he had been impressed by Rashford’s achievements to make a real impact for communities most in need.
“When you look at the history of big social movements and big social change…. it is usually young people who initiate this because they do not take for granted things have to be as they always were and can imagine something different,” he said.
“From what I have read about what Marcus is doing, he is taking his own experiences and realised: ‘I have now been blessed, I have the good fortune of being this prominent footballer and people pay attention to what I say.
“(So) how do I give back? How do I take what I know about living in modest means, not having enough to eat all the time, there are kids who are like that, who are feeling the same way – what can I do for them?’
“Like Marcus, I think we all find our own paths to that kind of service, but if enough young people do that, (then) that is how progress gets made and how things get moved forward.”
Mr Obama added: “A lot of the young people I meet — including Marcus — they are ahead of where I was when I was 23.
“They are already making changes and being positive forces in their communities and countries.”