Marcus Rashford meets Barack Obama in Penguin conversation

Marcus Rashford meets Barack Obama in Penguin conversation

England and Manchester United footballer Rashford has met former US president Barack Obama for the first time in a Zoom conversation organised by Penguin Books.

The pair discussed some of the themes in the former president’s memoir, A Promised Land (Viking), including the power young people have to make change, the positive impact reading can have and the importance of giving back to your community. They also talked about shared experiences like being raised by single mothers, the moment they discovered a love of reading, and their drive to give something back to the communities they were raised in.

During the call, Obama talked about how young people can make change through small gestures, saying: “Even if you do something positive on a small scale, that’s making a difference, and it’s the accumulation of people doing positive things over time that makes us a little bit better with each successive generation.”

Rashford, who recently launched a book club with Macmillan Children's Books, said of reading: “Through books, you can grow yourself in whichever way you want… Books allowed me to do it my own way.”

The conversation, moderated by broadcaster and author June Sarpong, will be released in full on Penguin UK’s YouTube channel at 2 p.m. today (28th May). At the same time, it will also be released as a Penguin podcast

Rashford, whose book You Are a Champion: Be the Best You Can Be (Macmillan Children's Books) was released this week, said: “I mean, it's quite surreal isn't it? I'm sitting in my kitchen in Manchester, speaking to President Obama. But immediately he made me feel at ease. It wasn't long before I realised just how aligned our experiences as children were in shaping the men you see today—adversity, obstacles and all. I genuinely enjoyed every minute of it. When President Obama speaks, all you want to do is listen.”