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Eric Dier has hailed Marcus Rashford as a role model for every footballer in the country.
The England and Tottenham defender delivered the glowing accolade after Manchester United striker Rashford was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours.
Rashford has spent much of lockdown single-handedly forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the government into a U-turn on providing free meal vouchers for more than a million under-privileged kids.
And after the England ace received a standing ovation from Gareth Southgate’s squad on Saturday, Dier admitted he is a shining example to the rest of football regarding what can be achieved off the pitch.
The Spurs star, who faces Belgium on Sunday in the UEFA Nations League, declared: “We had a team meeting before training, the manager gave a speech on everything that Marcus has done and congratulated him.
“We gave him a round of applause, which he fully deserves and more. It’s a fantastic honour for him to have received the award.
"But he’s doing so much more than that. For him to put everything into a cause that is so close to his heart and to affect change the way he has, he is a fantastic role model.
Queen's Birthday Honours 2020: Marcus Rashford, Lorraine Kelly and Joe Wicks get gongs
“Not only for the kids but for us players as well.
"What Marcus has done shows players we can all have an affecting change – in a positive way – on subjects that matter dearly to us.”
Of course, this time last week Dier was part of the Tottenham team that gave Rashford and Man Utd a 6-1 hiding at Old Trafford.
It was a torrid afternoon for every United flop but, especially, skipper Harry Maguire, who received stinging criticism for his lack of leadership.
Marcus Rashford awarded MBE for services to vulnerable children during Covid-19 pandemic
Unsurprisingly, the crushing defeat has NOT been a topic of conversation during the international break.
But Dier, who spent a year out of the England squad after a dip in form post Russia 2018, is convinced his Three Lions defensive partner will bounce back.
“I can't really speak about the criticism,” Dier went on. “I don't pay attention to it. It’s not my business.
“But the impact he’s had since he arrived with England and the way he played at the last World Cup, shows that he’s a fantastic player.
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“With his consistency, he’s very important for both United and England. He’s someone I respect as a player and person.”
Those sentiments were echoed by England boss Southgate, who dropped Maguire last month after a holiday bust-up with Greek police ended up in court.
Southgate said: “There’s obviously a lot that has changed in his life, and a lot he's gone through over the last couple of months.
“There’s a different level of scrutiny on his performance because he's captain of United but he's absolutely outstanding, as far as we're concerned.
"He's been pivotal to every good performance over the last few years. We couldn't have more faith and belief in what's possible for him. He's a big, big player for us."
- England Football Team
- Marcus Rashford
- Manchester United FC
- Boris Johnson
- Gareth Southgate
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