Marcus Rashford has urged children to “find their voices” in a special edition of the Beano he has guest-edited.
The England and Manchester United footballer has teamed up with the children’s comic following the publication of his new book, You Can Do It: How To Find Your Team And Make A Difference, written with Carl Anka.
The campaigner also makes several appearances throughout the special edition, drawn alongside popular characters including the Bash Street Kids, Billy Whizz and Bananaman.
Rashford also appears on the front cover in cartoon form, wearing a Beano Editor’s T-shirt.
The special edition is available from Wednesday in partnership with NatWest’s Thrive programme, set up with Rashford to help six to 16-year-olds become more financially confident and realise their full potential, through a series of interactive group workshops and peer-to-peer sessions.
In his editor’s letter, Marcus Rashford claimed he “jumped at the chance,” to be involved with the comic.
He said: “Nobody is a success in football without good teammates, and that’s true in life as well. Everybody needs to build a team of allies to have fun with and speak up for what’s important.
“Our voice is strong alone, but when our voices come together, we are powerful. When we fight for things that are important together, we can make progress a lot quick than by ourselves.
“Asking for help is no weakness. Asking for help to achieve things quicker is a superpower.
“Finding your voice doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as simple as having the confidence to stand up for something you believe in, or to champion someone else and their difference.
“Your journey is your strength, and everyone has something valuable to contribute.
“I wrote my new book You Can Do It with my friend Carl to help you with this, and I hope you enjoy it.”
He added: “My favourite thing about Beano is how the comic brings together all sorts of different children.
“Instead of our differences dividing us, we embrace them here, and we find strength in them. We should be celebrating all things that make each of us unique.
“Reading is one of my favourite things to do because it lets me dream. I see myself achieving so much more and I’m motivated to give new things a try.”
The Beano features a strip specially created to support the NatWest Thrive programme, where the England striker teaches the Beanotown kids about failure, persistence, role-models and patience.
For every copy of the special Beano sold, 20p will be donated to the Marcus Rashford Book Club to help children access books, in partnership with Macmillan Children’s Books.