London (AFP) – Marcus Rashford said he is “more determined than ever” to eradicate child food poverty and called on people to put football rivalry to one side after receiving the backing of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

The 22-year-old Manchester United and England striker has formed a task force along with some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets and food brands designed to address the issue after persuading the Government into a U-turn to extend free school meals over the summer during lockdown.

Rashford’s campaign has earned him widespread plaudits, including from Khan.

London’s Mayor joked that as a Liverpool fan “it wasn’t easy being complimentary about a Man Utd star” but was fulsome in his praise for Rashford’s campaigning.

“As a child, I benefited from free school meals. Life would have been much harder for my family if we didn’t have them and I know how important they are,” Khan said in a letter to Rashford, which the latter posted on social media.

“Your campaign, as well as the tireless efforts of charities and campaigners, many of whom we work with here in London, meant hundreds of thousands of children received the vital support they desperately needed over the summer holiday.

“But our fight to end child poverty doesn’t stop here. Every child should have the right to healthy, affordable and sustainable food no matter what their circumstances or where they live.

“I will continue doing everything within my power to end the pandemic that is food poverty and support the most vulnerable children in our society so that each one of them can fulfil their potential, as you have done.”

Rashford thanked Khan for his “kind words” and called on other fans to also forget rivalries when it comes to social causes.

“I do what I do for Liverpool as much as anywhere,” Rashford tweeted. “Children all over the UK are crying out for our help. This is much bigger than me, than football, than politics. It’s time we all started listening, instead of clouding our views will allegiances and rivalries.”