Soccer-Solskjaer hails Rashford's charity work after 'prioritise football' comment

FILE PHOTO-Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v Manchester United - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 16, 2021 Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks dejected after the match Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

(Reuters) - Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Tuesday that he was proud of Marcus Rashford's charity initiatives, as he clarified his comments on the England international forward needing to "prioritise his football".

Rashford earned widespread praise for his efforts to end child food poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic and earlier this month became the youngest recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester.

Solskjaer praised the 23-year-old's efforts last week and said that he had to focus on his game as "he's got a challenge on his hands here at Manchester United, he has a challenge on his hands to play for England."

Reports in the British media claimed Rashford was unhappy with Solskjaer's comments.

"Just to get the elephant out of the room straight away with the headlines that came out from the chat I had before the last game. We're so unbelievably proud of what Marcus has done off the pitch," Solskjaer told reporters before Wednesday's Champions League clash with Atalanta.

Rashford underwent shoulder surgery in August and played his first match since England's Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy when he came on as a substitute in last Saturday's 4-2 Premier League defeat by Leicester City.

"You (journalists) know what was said and you made headlines out of one little comment that I never intended to be the focus," Solskjaer added.

"I was speaking about Marcus going into training not feeling his shoulder or his back and now he can just enjoy his football."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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