'Liverpool have total respect for him' - Henderson pays tribute to 'incredible' Rashford ahead of Manchester United clash

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Jordan Henderson Marcus Rashford Liverpool Manchester United 2020-21
The England star's efforts to combat child food poverty during the coronavirus pandemic have drawn praise from all corners

Jordan Henderson has paid tribute to Marcus Rashford ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Manchester United at Anfield.

Rashford has enhanced his status from footballer to national treasure during the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to his efforts fighting against child food poverty in the United Kingdom.

Jurgen Klopp said in October that he was proud of Rashford, who has maintained his on-pitch form with 14 goals and nine assists in all competitions so far this season.

Henderson knows there will be no room for sentiment when the teams face off on Sunday but, in his programme notes ahead of the game, he paid tribute to Rashford’s off-pitch work – and is sure the rest of Merseyside would be happy to do the same.

“For once, I’m going to have to put rivalries to one side to pay tribute to one of United’s players and I’ve no doubt that our fans will support me without question given it is Marcus Rashford,” Henderson wrote.

“What Marcus has done over the last 12 months is incredible. He has battled against food poverty, given a voice to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have one and used his own reputation for the benefit of others. Every bit of praise that has come his way, and every award he has won as a result, is not only deserved, it probably doesn’t do him justice.

“Andy Robertson made a rare good point when he said Marcus would become the first United player to receive a standing ovation from the Anfield crowd. For obvious reasons this can’t happen, but I hope Marcus knows that everyone at Liverpool Football Club has total respect for him.

“It’s not always fair that footballers are charged with providing an example for the rest of society – we are just young lads who are fortunate enough to work in sport when it comes down to it – but there is no question that Marcus is an example for everyone.

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“I count myself fortunate to have him as a teammate with England, but today that will count for nothing and knowing Marcus he wouldn’t have it any other way. This is a day for rivalry and it is a day for those of us in Liverpool red to give everything we have for our cause because that is exactly what this fixture demands.”

Henderson also paid tribute to the late Gerry Marsden, singer of Liverpool’s anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone, who recently died at the age of 78.

“Finally, today will be the first time that You’ll Never Walk Alone has been played at Anfield since the passing of Gerry Marsden," Henderson said. “You don’t have to be a Liverpool fan to know how special this song is to everyone associated with our club and it doesn’t matter how many times I hear it, it will always give me goosebumps.”