/Marcus Rashfords school teacher on why he predicted he would do great things

Marcus Rashfords school teacher on why he predicted he would do great things

Marcus Rashford’s former school teacher says he is not surprised he has gone on to take the country by storm with his charity work and campaigning.

The Manchester United star Rashford is being hailed as a national hero after forcing the government into a u-turn on their plan to end free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays.

He had previously also raised £20 million to pay for meals for families living below the breadline during lockdown.

Simon Pyne taught the England forward at Button Lane Primary School on the Northern Moor estate in Wythenshawe where Marcus moved aged nine.

Marcus Rashford with mum Mel
(Image: Instagram)

Big United fan Simon, 43, still a teacher at the school, was left delighted when he broke into the Reds first team four years ago.

However he says he also believed he would go on to do good things off the pitch.

“He’s always wanted to give back” he said.

“He has always stayed in touch with his area. He has a couple of really close friends, former classmates and I think he wanted to help people like them.

“He also has a strong family behind him who would have been rooting for this as well.

Marcus’ old primary school teacher Simon Pyne
(Image: Button Lane Primary School)

“He talks about his mum a lot and she will have made sure he stayed grounded

“And knowing what he was like in school, he was always going to give something back if he could.

“I always knew he had it in him.”

Simon revealed Marcus used to help struggling classmates with their work as well show an extraordinary level of dedication given his age.

“He’s more or less the same now as he was in school” he said.

“He was just a genuinely nice, thoughtful, hard-working well mannered lad.

Button Lane Primary School in Northern Moor, Wythenshawe
(Image: Button Lane Primary School)

“He always thought of others. He was always very helpful in class.

“It’s difficult to remember specific incidents as it was so long ago but I know he spent a lot of his time sat next to one of our more difficult pupils at the time and I know helped him quite a lot with his work.

“He was always very patient like that.

“Obviously he absolutely loved his sport, but he worked hard in everything he was doing.

“We do a residential in the Lake District every year and the year he came with us he asked me if he could set an early alarm.

“I said ‘why do you need to do that, we wake you up’ and he said ‘I want to get up and do my training.’

A banner which appeared in Marcus’ hometown yesterday
(Image: Wythenshawe Whisperers)

“That was nine years-old. And every morning he was there up doing press-ups, sit-ups or whatever it was.

“I used to have to send a report to his coaches and I would tell them you couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated child.

“I think it was instilled into him from an early age – remember where you’ve come from, don’t forget it, don’t leave it behind. And he hasn’t done.

“In fact I believe he has a tattoo of the house he grew up in.”

Speaking just after Boris Johnson announced the government would provide meal vouchers for parents over the summer in a move costing £120 million Simon said: “This is another level.

“It makes you proud to know he has done all this. I support him in everything he does.

“I would love to take credit but I think it was his family who have succeeded in pushing him this far.

Rashford scoring on his United debut against FC Midtjylland in February 2016
(Image: Getty Images)

“But I am immensely proud of what he has become and part of me hopes I did help him along the way.

“We do have families in our school who would benefit from what Marcus has achieved.

“It’s probably helped breathe a sigh of relief for them.”

Before moving to Wythenshawe, Marcus lived with his mum Mel and his four siblings in both Withington and Fallowfield.

During that time he played for the now legendary Fletcher Moss Rangers, who have had an array of professional stars on their books down the years including Wes Brown, Jesse Lingard, Ravel Morrison, Tyler Blackett, Cameron Borthwick and Kyle Bartley amongst many others.

Dave Horrocks, 67, was one of Marcus’ first coaches who worked with him from the age of five until he was picked up by United’s academy aged eight.

One of Marcus’ first football coaches – Dave Horrocks from Fletcher Moss Rangers
(Image: Fletcher Moss Rangers)

“I’m not using the word proud because it doesn’t seem to cover what we feel about him” he told the Manchester Evening News.

“I’ve been trying to find the right word and it’s honoured. I’m honoured to know the guy and the family. He comes from such a fantastic family.

“I was talking to some of our parents today and it came home to me, there are so many of them who will benefit and are benefiting from what he has done.

“It’s when you realise it’s our kids and our parents who are going to get looked after, it reminds you how close to home it is.”

The changing rooms at Fletcher Moss where Marcus played for three years
(Image: Manchester Evening News)

He says Marcus was so young it was hard to predict at that age what he would become, but says he and his family bought into the club’s ethos of team-spirit and looking out for each other.

“He was just a little boy when he was with us. But he was always very polite kid and listened to his coaches.

“Because he was so young five or six years old, you don’t envisage they are going to go on and be the iconic sort of footballers that Marcus has become.

“You don’t think of that, that’s not part of it. You’re just trying to develop them in any way you can.

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“We see it as a collaborative effort between us and the parents and if everyone can buy into that ethos then great. And if it’s done from an early age it’s bound to have more of an effect.

“We try and make it that if the kids remember us in the future, then brilliant

“If they do something as fantastic as Marcus has gone and done then phenomenal.

“Whether Marcus still thinks of us as fondly we do of him I don’t know

“But I’d like we may have played some small part somewhere.”

Reacting to the news of the government u-turn yesterday Rashford said on Twitter: “I don’t even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.”

He then responded to a tweet about his mum bursting with pride saying “this is her moment.”.

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