Marcus Rashford embraces Man United leadership role and giving back to the city he loves

Exclusive: Rashford on United dreams and fighting homelessness (2:33)

Alexis Nunes speaks with Marcus Rashford about his charity campaign and all things Manchester United. (2:33)

MANCHESTER, England -- When you're Marcus Rashford, there is rarely a day off.

Granted a rest by Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, to recover from an international break during which he scored in both England games, Rashford decided against spending the day with his feet up. Instead, he was at the Selfridges in Manchester city centre encouraging people to help the homeless this Christmas.

United's No. 10 turned 22 on Halloween, and those closest to him talk about a player and a person who is becoming more and more mature. Having scored 10 goals in his past 11 games for club and country, including one in the 3-3 draw with Sheffield United on Sunday, he is in the form of his life.

- ESPN FC 100: Our annual ranking of soccer's best players
- Why Liverpool and Man City are so good
- Is it time for Messi to leave Barcelona?

Off the pitch, he is beginning to use his platform -- he has nearly 10 million followers on Instagram and Twitter combined -- to promote messages other than "focused on the next game" and "we go again". He has spoken out on racism in football and voiced his concern when The Sun printed a controversial story about English cricketer Ben Stokes.

Rashford's efforts to help the homeless in Manchester has morphed into the In the Box Campaign -- a drive to collect essential items to hand out to homeless people over Christmas -- but it started with the Rashford family -- mother Melanie and brothers Dane and Dwaine -- handing out money on the street. In other words, Rashford is not just a famous face to front a charity.

"I just remember even when I was a kid, we used to train in Salford and at the time we didn't drive, so we used to get a bus into town and a bus out of town," Rashford says. "And between the two bus journeys, you have to walk through the city centre. And probably every morning you'd see five or 10 different people, and from then it was in my mind. As I got older, I'm in a position to make a difference for them.

"It's a no-brainer for me, I think. Why not?" Rashford continues. "That's how it all developed [the In the Box Campaign] and just stemmed from there. This is the most productive way ... For me, this type of stuff is making a bigger difference to our lives than just giving them money."

Part of Rashford's aim is to give something back to Manchester, the city that has shaped him whether he has lived in Withington or Sale Moor. As United fans sing whenever he scores, he is "Manc born and bred."

"Everyone knows everyone, I wouldn't say it's a normal community," says Rashford. "I've lived in three or four different places in Manchester and each place is as much as home as the last place. The people around your neighbourhood -- it's all just very, very homely. I think as a city that's massive and we have to use that to our advantage.

"I'm from one part of Manchester but people from all over Manchester are coming in and helping." Rashford continues. "It's something that coming in I expected and Manchester is a beautiful city and the more people that get to know that the better."

It is approaching four years since Rashford, well-grounded and well-spoken, burst into United's first team with two goals on his debut as a teenager. Since then he has scored on his Premier League debut, Champions League debut, League Cup debut, England Under-21 debut and full international debut. He has reached 50 United goals in fewer games than Cristiano Ronaldo and in July signed a new contract that will keep him at Old Trafford until at least 2023.

Rashford's is one of the most recognisable faces in the world, but it is only now that he is starting to reveal parts of his personality. Shielded by United, he rarely does interviews except for one or two minutes after games when he is requested by the various broadcast companies who pay for the privilege. A dedicated professional, he can usually be found at his Cheshire home or at Manchester United's training center, Carrington.

He has not yet played 200 games for United, but he is already the face of Solskjaer's young team. Along with Jesse Lingard, Rashford has been key in helping youngsters like Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams settle into the squad. His emergence has coincided with a turbulent time at Old Trafford and while Ryan Giggs played nearly 1,000 games under one manager, Rashford has already played for three.

"Of course you have ups and downs, and for me it's all part of the journey of becoming successful," said Rashford. "If there are downs then you take them all day long. I'm obviously very happy in my position right now and you just want to keep improving and keep bettering yourself as a person."

Despite playing during a relatively lean period in the club's history, Rashford has still managed to collect winners' medals in the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League. But he has signed up for four more years on the understanding that he will be able to win the Premier League and the Champions League with the team he has supported since he was a boy.

"It had to be United for me," said Rashford. "You know, I remember when I was younger, you used to go and train at other clubs and as soon as I trained at United that the first time, that was it. I remember saying to my brother, 'I don't want to go to anywhere else now. And that the feeling of a family that we have in Manchester, when I went to United, that was the exact same thing.

"It's like one big family and everybody, the coaching staff, from all ages, they all want the best for you. I think that's what draws people into Manchester United. Once they become a part of it, it never leaves them. When I was a kid this is this is what I dreamed of doing."