“Coming from Manchester, families can be…divided – at least, mine was,” the Manchester United striker recalled. “Half my family were United supporters and the other half were Manchester City. So these kits they used to get me were more than gifts, you know what I mean?
“Especially as I got older and I kept getting better at football, my uncles would buy me the newest red or blue kits to try to bring me over to their side. It was a bit of a running joke in our family.”
However, from the moment he was given a red England No9 ‘Rooney’ shirt in 2006 by his United-supporting uncle, there was only one thing still holding him back.
His mum Melanie refused to allow him to cross the main road between their house and the local park without the accompaniment of one of his older brothers.
“When I was about eight years old my uncle gave me that Rooney kit,” Rashford added. “As every kid does, when you’re having a kickabout and you’ve got someone’s name on your back, you just try to follow in their footsteps.
“I was a striker, so from that day I wanted to be just like Rooney. And I wanted to play for England.
“But here’s the other thing about where we grew up in Manchester: the park where we’d all play was on the other side of this busy main road. And if Dane and Dwaine had already left, my mum would never let me go out alone to cross the road and join them. ‘You’ll just have to wait here, Marcus,’ she’d tell me. ‘Wait here.’ She wasn’t having it.”
Rashford is expected to be among those sporting the new Nike away England kit against Germany in Dortmund on Wednesday and his early experiences give a glimpse into how he has found it quite this easy to hold his own among more established stars.
“We’d have games out on the green in front of our council estate,” he said. “These dreams of playing football bonded us together.
“The boys from that neighbourhood, we’re all still mates – even after some of us got scouted and left for academies, after I left for Manchester United. I loved competing against the older boys.”
Subscribe To Our Weekly NewsLetterAnd Get The Most Interesting News In Your Inbox Every SUNDAY!