Today's Reading

CHAPTER 1

THERE ARE PROBABLY A LOT OF THINGS YOU KNOW ABOUT ME ALREADY.

I play as a forward for Manchester United and England, which means I have to try my best to create or score goals whenever possible. I'm right-footed, although I'm working on getting better on my left. I'm the youngest of five siblings—I have two older brothers, Dwaine and Dane, and two sisters, Chantelle and Claire—and my mum's name is Melanie. I love them all a lot. Family is really important to me, and I like to help people, too—that's one reason why I work hard on things I'm passionate about, both on and off the field.There are also lots of things you might not know about me. I don't have a middle name, but one of the first nicknames I ever had was "Shot," because once I was playing in goal, and I took a shot right in the face, then I sprang back up like it was nothing. (It ended up being an epic save!) When I was a kid, I wasn't the best swimmer and I was also a little scared of heights, but I loved strawberry cream cookies. My favorite Ninja Turtle was Donatello, although I wasn't great at science in school like he was—I was better at math. I grew up by Button Lane in Wythenshawe, South Manchester, and I used to sleep on the top bunk in a bedroom I shared with my brother Dane. We had a little TV on top of this set of cupboards, but it didn't work all the time, and sometimes you'd have to give it a bang when the picture was getting fuzzy.When I was growing up, my days used to follow a pretty standard pattern: I'd wake up, eat two Weetabix for breakfast (covered in sugar), I'd go to school, do the lessons, play soccer at break time and lunch-time, then at the end of the day I'd go home. On the way, I'd always look for a rock, or drink can, or anything I could pretend was a ball so I could kick it home. Soccer has always been on my brain that way. Some days I would go to the park after school, but if I couldn't do that, then I'd be playing soccer in my garden, working on my skills, or hanging out with my friends.That was me up until about the age of 11, which was when I moved into digs (a kind of house young players move to when they join a soccer academy) to be closer to Manchester United. And a lot of that is still me now that I'm an adult—I'm better with heights, but I still like strawberry cream cookies, and I love cereal (especially Coco Pops). On top of that, there's also a bunch of new things that I'm beginning to enjoy: I like music a lot more now, and I've been trying to learn how to play the guitar and the piano (although I find the guitar way easier). I'm also trying to learn some languages—I think Spanish is very cool. (Or, 'muy guay', as they say!)

All of this makes up the person I used to be, the person I am now, and the person I'm working to be in the future. A lot of it has stayed the same since I was a kid, but a lot of it has changed, too.

AND NO MATTER WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN MY LIFE, NO MATTER WHAT I'M WORKING TOWARD, I'M ALWAYS MARCUS. 100% MARCUS RASHFORD. BECAUSE THAT'S THE ONLY PERSON I CAN BE.

And I want you to be you.

Don't get me wrong, I know that can be really tough sometimes. 'IT'S SO EASY TO LOOK AT OTHER PEOPLE AND WISH YOU HAD WHAT THEY HAD, OR EVEN WISH YOU''WERE SOMEONE ELSE ENTIRELY.' We've all been there. You might look at me and think, "Why would Marcus Rashford ever want to be someone else?!" But trust me, I've been there.

WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, THERE WERE PLENTY OF TIMES WHEN THINGS WEREN'T GOING MY WAY AND I WISHED LIFE COULD BE DIFFERENT FOR ME.

I used to spend a lot of time around my brother Dane and his friends—this was when I was about 4 or 5, so they would have been around 9 or 10. They would go to Hollyhedge Park, this big park near where we lived, to play soccer all the time. And I wanted to join in more than ANYTHING.

I LOVE SOCCER. It might be a bit silly to say, considering I play for Manchester United, but I LOVE SOCCER!

FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, ALL I'VE WANTED TO DO IS PLAY. It doesn't matter what position I'm playing in, what the weather's like, or who the opponent is, if you give me a chance to play, that's what I'm going to do.

But when I was following around my brother and his friends, there were often times I wasn't allowed to play, and that used to really wind me up—'SOMETIMES I WASN'T ALLOWED BECAUSE MY BROTHER WAS WITH SOME OLDER BOYS WHO WERE A BIT ROUGH AND HE DIDN'T WANT ME TO GET HURT, AND OTHER TIMES I WASN'T ALLOWED BECAUSE SOME OF THE KIDS WERE WEARING SOCCER CLEATS'. I didn't have any ofmy own, and it can be pretty painful if someone steps on you wearing soccer cleats, especially when you're not wearing them. I'm an adult now, and it still hurts when someone tackles me in cleats!

But when I was a kid, I didn't care about that stuff. Not being allowed to play didn't feel great, and it made me feel really frustrated. I spent a lot of time on the sidelines, watching Dane play with his friends, wishing that I'd get a chance to join in.There are going to be times in your life when you're not going to be able to do the things you want to. This might make you feel trapped, and that might hurt for you. It's never a great feeling being on the sidelines and watching other people do the things you really want to do in life, and when you feel stuck, your mind might start to wander and you'll think about how things could be different. How situations could be different. Sometimes you might start to think about the ways YOU could be different.

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