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Marcus Rashford: Government to provide free school meals

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Marcus Rashford has forced a major u-turn from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as the most vulnerable children in England will now receive free school meals throughout the summer months.

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The Man United and England forward had campaigned tirelessly throughout the coronavirus pandemic to make sure that kids across England who were eligible for free school meals were getting enough food as he raised funds and was donating his own money to supply millions of meals for children.

Initially his plea to the government for help on providing free school meals for over 1.3 million vulnerable children this summer months was rejected but Johnson made a massive about-turn and free school meals will be issued throughout the summer months at a cost of over $151 million for the government.

The summer program is being called the ‘Covid Summer Food Fund’ and will provide $19 per week for each child in England who needs the free school meals program.

“Owing to the corona pandemic, the PM fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer,” a spokesman for Boris Johnson said.

Rashford responded to the news by saying:  “I don’t even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.” Rashford has been lauded on social media for his campaign to help provide free school meals and was honored by the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester last month.

Shadow education secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey thanked Rashford for his help in making it a reality.

“It is thanks to the amazing work of Marcus Rashford and campaigners that the government has had no choice but to reverse their decision. The government must now confirm that this new money will be for the direct provision of free school meals to all eligible children.”

The 22-year-old striker doubled his donations in late April while revealing that he was once in the same shoes as those kids, and that he would have gone hungry many times had he not had access to such programs.

While the UK government had been providing free school lunches to kids during the coronavirus pandemic, it did plan to do so during the summer.

Then Rashford stepped in and further cemented his status as a thoroughly nice bloke.

Transfer news: Sancho transfer fee set; Zouma to Tottenham

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In the latest transfer news an updated transfer fee has been revealed for Man United target Jadon Sancho, while Kurt Zouma has been linked with a move to Tottenham.

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First up, not a day goes by without a new story on Jadon Sancho potentially leaving Borussia Dortmund as Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea seem to be the frontrunners to sign the England international.

According to the Telegraph, the 20-year-old winger will be available for $135 million this summer as Dortmund have admitted on several previous occasions that the Watford and Man City academy product will not be with them for much longer. The report also states that Man United are the frontrunners but are wary of paying the biggest transfer fee in Premier League amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sancho has scored 17 goals and added 16 assists in the Bundesliga this season and is having the best campaign of his fledgling career. Man United seems the most obvious destination for Sancho, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made signing young, British talent his top priority. See: Maguire, Harry; Wan-Bissaka, Aaron and James, Daniel.

Can Man United, or any club for that matter, afford Sancho right now? If anybody can, it is Man United.

Their pursuit of Sancho this summer is likely to hinge on whether or not the qualify for the Champions League via a fourth or maybe fifth place (if Man City’s UEFA ban is confirmed, fifth place in the PL will likely be given a UCL spot) finish, as executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has previously mentioned that getting back into the UCL group stage will have a massive impact on their finances.

Sancho’s talent is undoubted and clubs across Europe want to sign him. With Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes all part of Man United’s attacking lineup, there is a missing piece of the superstar jigsaw on the right wing. That is where Sancho comes in.

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Moving from Manchester to London, it appears that Kurt Zouma could be linking up with his former boss Jose Mourinho or heading back to Everton.

Zouma, 25, has been in and out of the Chelsea team this season under Frank Lampard and like most of the Blues defense he’s had a topsy-turvy campaign.

A report from the Daily Express says Everton (who loaned Zouma for the entire 2018-19 season) want him back at Goodison Park on a permanent basis but Tottenham are also keen on the French international. It is reported that Chelsea would allow Zouma to leave on a permanent deal for around $25.2 million.

Zouma signed for Chelsea when Mourinho was in his second stint in charge at Stamford Bridge and the Portuguese coach was a big fan of him. His Chelsea career suffered a cruel blow in 2016 when he suffered a serious knee injury when landing after an aerial challenge against Man United, but Zouma has been able to work his way back to full fitness, for the most part, at Everton last season and then with Chelsea this season.

Chelsea have been linked with Ben Chilwell, Nicolas Tagliafico, Achraf Hakimi and Nathan Ake, among many others, and sprucing up their defense is obviously key for Frank Lampard, as he also spends big on freshening up his attack. With Zouma not seeming to fit in his plans as Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori and Cesar Azpilicueta ahead of him in the pecking order, it is probably best for his career if he moves to a club where he will play regularly.

Zouma would do that at both Everton and Tottenham, although it seems unlikely Chelsea would sell Zouma to Spurs as they’d be strengthening a direct top four, and London, rival. At Spurs he would surely be a starter and Mourinho is desperate to strengthen his defense which has leaked goals ever since he arrived in north London. As for Everton, Michael Keane and Yerry Mina have developed a good partnership and the versatile Mason Holgate is an option too, but Zouma would probably start at Goodison.

It is likely Zouma will leave Chelsea this summer and it seems like Tottenham would be the best move for him, but it may not be the best move for Chelsea.

English defender Onuoha speaks out on fear of police in the U.S.

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Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha is speaking out on his experience as a black man in the United States in the wake of ongoing protests and violence following the killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air in Minnesota.

Speaking with the BBC, Onuoha says he has loved his time in the United States but admitted a wariness around law enforcement that he does not experience at home in England. The 33-year-old says there are “plenty of good” police in the country but admitted he doesn’t feel “100% safe” around law enforcement officers and that he has a “fear and distrust” of them.

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Onuoha says the protests and demands for reform are “emotional” and “overdue,” adding that he feels empowered by the non-black voices joining the calls for justice.

From The BBC:

“I have loved living in this country but there is [another] side of it. In the UK, I am more comfortable because if something happens it probably will not be deadly – but over here because of their rights it is more common that altercations become deadly. I am always very aware of that whenever I go around anywhere.

“I am comfortable but when it comes to any kind of brutality, if it’s from the police, if they read me the wrong way then my life could be taken. I feel that every single day. It is not just me but everybody else as well.”

The Nigeria-born English defender joined RSL in 2018 and has played 36 times for the Utah club. Onuoha previously spent seven years with Queens Park Rangers after beginning his career with City and Sunderland.

MLS released a statement on the Floyd killing earlier this week, expressing unity with the black community and “horror” at the “senseless murder” of the 46-year-old American man.

Maguire says Manchester United training was safe but strange

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Manchester United center back Harry Maguire came away from his first day back at training impressed by the measures taken to keep the Red Devils safe.

Clubs unanimously agreed to a return to small-group training beginning Tuesday, and Maguire’s first steps on the pitch were Wednesday.

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The England international said the balls were out immediately. With United’s players having spent so much of their coronavirus pause keeping fitness levels high, there wasn’t a need for a ton of running (though there was some).

Maguire, like anyone, would’ve felt uncertainty in the air as he headed to Carrington, but was put at ease once he stepped through the gates.

From ManUtd.com:

“It’s been a strange few months, but it has been a protocol which the club has followed. It seems such a safe environment. It’s our first day back today, but it seems so safe and everyone is respecting it so well, so long may that continue and I’m sure no one will have any problems.”

He spoke more about how odd this all feels, as it will for anyone who is used to working a certain way and has to find a new normal.

“It’s really strange. Obviously it’s different circumstances for us all. It’s been a strange couple of months, so we’re getting used to it, but we’re in a different building at the moment. We’re not in the normal training ground building, so we’re not in our own changing rooms. It’s literally we get to the training ground, we put our boots on, we go out on the field, we get in our cars and we drive home, so it’s more just getting the physical work in. The socializing isn’t really there, so there’s no banter between the lads which I’m sure the lads are missing. But it’s nice to get the boots back on, put the training kit back on and, like you said earlier, get the balls out.”

Maguire finished by imploring fans to stick to the script when it comes to flattening the curve in the coronavirus pandemic.

“Be patient. We’re all itching to get back out on the pitch and we know that when we do get back out on the pitch it’ll be bigger and better than ever. I’m sure, hopefully, we can give you lots of things to celebrate about.”

Report: Spurs’ Dele Alli punched, robbed during home invasion

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Dele Alli suffered a minor injury when his apartment was robbed early Wednesday morning, reports The Daily Mail.

Dele, 24, was reportedly held at knifepoint and was “thumped in the face” but has escaped major injuries.

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Two males broke into Dele’s apartment, where he’s been isolating with family.

“Following a scuffle, during which Alli suffered a minor facial injury, the two culprits proceeded to take various items including jewelry and watches before fleeing,” reports The Daily Mail’s Sami Mokbel.

Already a harrowing experience, the robbery is made a bit scarier by the coronavirus pandemic; Dele and his family were exposed in isolation as the Premier League appears closer and closer to a return to training.

Dele has nine goals and five assists in 35 appearances this season, and he has three goals in 35 caps for England.