Marcus Rashford will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester for his “remarkable campaign against child poverty” which caused a government U-turn and the granting of free food vouchers for the poorest families over the summer.
Boris Johnson had initially rejected the Manchester United striker’s move before the prime minister reversed his decision last month.
Rashford grew up in Wythenshawe, south Manchester, and will become the university’s youngest recipient of the award in a ceremony this summer. It also recognises his “outstanding sporting achievements”.
The 22-year-old said: “It’s a proud day for myself and my family. When you look at the great names that have been awarded this doctorate in the past, it’s humbling. We still have a long way to go in the fight to combat child poverty in this country but receiving recognition from your city means we are heading in the right direction and that means a lot.”
Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton and Vincent Kompany are among the football figures to have received the award.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, the university president and vice-chancellor, said: “Marcus is an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary talent and drive that stretches well beyond the football field. His work for charity and his high-profile campaign will not only help countless young people across our own city but across the entire country.
“Our university has social responsibility at its core and this sense of civic pride and duty is something we are proud to share with Marcus. That is why the university is delighted to make Marcus our youngest-ever recipient of an honorary degree.”
A Manchester United spokesperson said: “Marcus is an exceptional player and an exceptional person. His work with FareShare and his focus on child poverty make him richly deserving of this tremendous honour and everyone at Manchester United is incredibly proud of him.”