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Anorak | Manchester United: The Sun buries the hatchet in Marcus Rashford’s Cane Corso

Manchester United: The Sun buries the hatchet in Marcus Rashford’s Cane Corso

by | 16th, April 2018

PHEW! For a while it looked as if Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United striker, was going to be given time to develop as a top-flight England footballer. But the Sun has reached for the hatchet, just as it did in 2017, when apropos of nothing it told readers about the “£30,000-plus Rashford spends annually on car insurance” and how he “splashed out £14,500 on a Rolex Santos wristwatch for his mother Melanie’s birthday”.

One year on and in “Manchester United star Marcus Rashford needs a reality check… he has the car, the gold and even the dog but is still just a substitute”, we get more spite.

The story begins: “NO wonder Marcus Rashford is confused.” No, he’s not confused because he thought making a career from a leisure pursuit was living the dream. This is all about the marketing, the hype machine that has turned footballers into ‘legends’, ‘icons’ and  – dread phrase – ‘role models’. So wrapped about a few photos and a video of Rashford advertising Nike tat, the Sun constructs the story of a man in moral decline:

They dunked the kid in gold paint, dangling a pair of their latest boots around his neck as part of another extravagant advertising campaign to promote their glamorous range.

Rashford’s presented as a slack-jawed, mentally negligible clothes horse. And he’s guilty. He’s guilty of not being the best footballer in the world and playing for Real Madrid:

This is not Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored in his 11th successive Champions League match with Real Madrid’s last-minute penalty against Juventus at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

No. It’s Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford wearing “glamorous” man-made fibres.

When Rashford returned to the day job at Old Trafford, he was still a Manchester United substitute. He is living in a bubble, a cosseted world that will seem pretty cool to a kid who grew up in Wythenshawe… Nike are taking full advantage of that innocence.

Hang on a moment. Are we to suppose that a professional athlete who has dedicated his life to sport, who fought his way up from the junior leagues to the apogee to his game – playing for the mighty Manchester United and England – is an unsullied lamb? Oh, puh-lease.

And then this:

He has the house, the cars, the £10,000 Cane Corso guard dog that cost Rashford £30,000 to train up, plus unlimited pairs of Balenciaga shoes and clothing in the wardrobe.

And..? So what? Is Rashford only to spend his money on a list of proscribed goods and services, stuff of which the Sun approves? The Sun advertises cheap holidays, cheap porn and easy gambling. Around the online version of this story, we see ads for McDonald’s fast food and something called ‘the Claims Guys Ltd’. Better Rashford fills his wardrobe with Bingo cards, fried meat and numbers for on-the clock phone sex lines than shoes?

The modern-day footballer, especially for a player with Rashford’s worldwide profile, is a difficult beast to control. Jose Mourinho, his manager at United, knows that. The Special One is tiring of the social media generation, the rush to get away from the training ground each day to attend the next pyrotechnic event.

That’s Jose Mourinho, the old-school manger who endorses Hublot watches, Jaguar, BT Sport, Adidas, Atlantis hotels, Lipton Tea and EA Sports and Heineken beer.

There are no gifts as a United player. Every appearance is earned, every minute on the pitch is the reward for hard work, professionalism and dedication to the red shirt. Rashford is finding all that out.

I think Rashford knew that when he was waking up at the crack of dawn to train, eschewing nights out in favour of being fresh for an academy match and training hard.

The Nike photoshoots, the private jets, the personal indulgences, such as the fast cars and showy houses, are rewards for high-performance. Instead, Rashford is in danger of losing touch with reality.

It’s not a bloke spending his earnings as he sees fit. It’s a naive child showing off. Rashford is being less than authentic. He’s not allowed to enjoy the fruits of his success. He must be forever grateful, lest he be judged and found wanting.



Posted: 16th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports Comment | TrackBack | Permalink