Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has praised Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford for his 'absolutely incredible' work regarding free school meals, claiming that the Englishman is showing the kind of 'leadership' the government currently aren't.
The 22-year-old has become a true role model for so many not only because of his on-field displays, but also because of his hard work off the pitch to tackle child food poverty. However, Rashford - who was recently awarded an MBE for his hard work - saw Labour's attempt to extend the free school meals scheme rejected by the UK government.
Following the government's decision, businesses from around the country offered to give out free food over the half term holidays in order to help support those in need.
Liverpool boss Klopp has now put his side's rivalry with Man Utd to the side when discussing Rashford's efforts. Klopp was keen to praise United's number ten for acting in a responsible way at a time when the government are failing to show the required leadership.
"Yes, I’m not sure I can find any better words than other and much smarter people than me said about it," Klopp said ahead of his side's Premier League clash with Sheffield United, via Liverpool's official website.
"But what Marcus started there is absolutely incredible and it’s so nice. With all the rivalry between the clubs and stuff like this, in these moments as footballers – and as human beings – always united.
"It’s just nice to show in a time when obviously a lot of people who are really in charge of something and don’t show any sign of proper leadership, that a boy grown up in difficult circumstances, blessed with a sensational talent obviously, never forgot his roots and where he is coming from. That he has to do it then is a bit of a shame but is wonderful as well."
Klopp was keen to stress that there was a certain amount of difficulty regarding speaking in such a way about a Man Utd player, but the issue he is tackling is bigger than club rivalry. He added: "I hope his mother is really proud of him. I don’t know him but even I am. He plays for United, which makes it really tricky! But it’s really an absolutely wonderful, wonderful thing."
Taking to his Twitter on Friday, Rashford revealed that he felt proud after seeing so many businesses reach out to support the campaign, praising the real superstars. He said: "I’m signing off with a feeling a pride tonight. The superstars of this nation lie in local communities.
"Even after taking the biggest hits you have wrapped your arms around your community to catch children as they fell. I really can’t thank you enough, you’re amazing."
To that end, Leeds United captain Liam Cooper took to his Twitter on Saturday to inform Rashford that the Peacocks squad will offer £25,000 to help support the initiative. Indeed, Rashford's work to address the issues surrounding child poverty are far greater than club rivalries, something which Klopp and now Cooper have highlighted.