Man Utd to provide 5,000 free school meals in October holidays

(Reuters) – Manchester United said on Monday that they will be provide 5,000 free school meals during the October half-term holidays to help forward Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child food poverty in the United Kingdom.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Champions League – Group H – Paris St Germain v Manchester United – Parc des Princes, Paris, France – October 20, 2020 Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Rashford has campaigned for the government to provide food vouchers during school holidays to children who normally receive free meals during term time if their parents receive welfare support.

Dozens of local organisations all over the country came forward last week to supply free school meals in response to the 22-year-old’s plea on social media.

Now, working together with the charity FareShare, meals will be prepared and packaged individually at Old Trafford by club staff before being shipped to local Manchester United Foundation partner schools.

Six local schools will receive the meals while others will be delivered to local charities.

“Many of Manchester’s children are going hungry and they are particularly vulnerable during school holidays when they cannot benefit from the meal voucher programme,” Collette Roche, Chief Operating Officer at United said.

“In parallel with the brilliant work being done individually by Marcus Rashford, we’re proud that the club continues to step in alongside FareShare, the Foundation and their partner schools to help fill this void.”

Rashford forced a government U-turn in July when he won his battle to ensure free school meals during the summer holidays. He then proposed extending the campaign for families receiving financial assistance from the government.

Parliament on Wednesday rejected a Labour Party motion to extend free school meals until Easter 2021 from the cut-off before the half-term and winter holidays, prompting the England international to launch his campaign on social media.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he fully accepted that children going hungry during school holidays was a problem during the COVID-19 pandemic but said he had not spoken to Marcus Rashford over his plans to tackle it.

Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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Chelsea star Ziyech provides fitness update & urges bench-warming Van de Beek to be patient at Man Utd

Hakim Ziyech has spoken of where he sees himself fitting into Chelsea’s attacking plans as he continues to work towards full fitness, while also urging former Ajax team-mate Donny van de Beek to remain calm at Manchester United despite a lack of playing time.

Having established himself as one of Europe’s top attackers during his time in the Netherlands, Ziyech saw the Blues swoop to secure his services in a £33 million ($43m) deal following a transfer ban.

The Morocco international was subsequently joined by other high-profile signings such as Kai Havertz and Timo Werner at Stamford Bridge, although the latter pair have seen far more game time due to Ziyech having been contending with injuries.

Asked to comment on when he will be back to full fitness, the 27-year-old told the press: “For me it can’t come soon enough, but if you think realistically I’ve been out for a while, the season stopped early for me last year, so I didn’t play for a while as well.

“The injury came at an unlucky time, so for me it’s now important just to get rhythm back and build up everything again. I know it will take some time, but for me it couldn’t be soon enough.

“It is what it is right now, it’s most important for me to build and get to 100 per cent fitness, and that’s what we’re working to do.”

Asked what position he is likely to take up, the versatile attacker added: “Two different options, maybe three, depending on where the coach needs me. For me it doesn’t matter where I am playing, I just love to play the game, and it doesn’t matter where.”

Another former Ajax man has also found playing time hard to come by in the Premier League, with Manchester United’s summer signing Van de Beek having spent most of his time warming the bench at Old Trafford despite a big-money move.

Ziyech is unconcerned, however, and feels it will take time for the Netherlands international to fully adjust to his new surroundings before showing fans what he is truly capable of.

“We spoke in the beginning when he moved to Man United, but we didn’t speak about his situation,” Ziyech said. “I think he will need time as well, he’s come from a different country, a different style of play.

“And I know for sure it will take some time for him as well to get used to everything and then I know for sure he will bring quality to the squad over there.

“For him the most important thing now is to stay calm.”

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Christian Pulisic sends message to Frank Lampard over his fitness ahead of Man Utd clash

Christian Pulisic is working his way back to full fitness following a serious hamstring injury (Picture: Getty)

Christian Pulisic insists he is back to full fitness and ready to play a full 90 minutes having recovered from the hamstring strain which ruled him out of the opening weeks of the new season.

The America international enjoyed an eye-catching first season in English football and emerged as a key component of Frank Lampard’s new-look side before he was forced off during the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

Lampard embarked on a major summer spending spree, recruiting the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech to reinforce Chelsea’s already formidable looking forward line.

Pulisic made his comeback as a late substitute during a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace earlier this month and got further minutes under his belt against Southampton last weekend, while he was taken off late on during last night’s Champions League stalemate against Sevilla.

Chelsea travel to Old Trafford this weekend looking to kick-start their Premier League season having won just two of their opening five fixtures and Pulisic believes he is now ready to offer his manager a boost and go the whole distance.

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‘Fitness-wise I feel great, I’m getting back to where I was, I feel strong, I feel like I can play 90 minutes,’ he said. ‘So yeah, I’m happy. ‘

After some noteworthy defensive lapses in recent weeks, Pulisic was pleased to see his side record a rare clean sheet, particularly against such difficult opponents, but admits his team must strike a balance if they are to achieve a positive result on Saturday.

He added: ‘It was definitely a tough game, it was definitely kind of one of those where there were not a lot of chances in the game. We did a lot of good defending and we can walk away proud with a point today.

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‘It’s a strong team absolutely, they definitely put us to the test, moved the ball really well we definitely defended a lot today and we are going to continue to work to improve as a team.

‘It’s everyone’s job to be behind the ball at times we have to help out defensively and I think it will give us some confidence today going away from the game with a clean sheet is not all bad. I think it’s not bad for the guys.

‘That’s the goal we’ve got to find the balance. Obviously we’ve got to create more chances and I want to help with that. We’ve got to find a way to do both.’

MORE: Joe Cole convinced Chelsea trio will make huge difference for Frank Lampard after Sevilla draw

MORE: Frank Lampard reacts to Manchester United beating PSG ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Old Trafford

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