Marcus Rashford has launched a book club to help children experience the escapism of reading.

The Manchester United and England star has partnered with Macmillan Children's Books in an initiative seeking to promote reading and literacy to children across all socio-economic contexts.

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There will be a particular focus on ensuring that books reach children from vulnerable and under-privileged backgrounds.

Rashford has been open about the fact that he only started reading at the age of 17and said he wishes he had been given the chance to read earlier in life.

"I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality," Rashford said.

"I just wish I was offered the opportunity to really engage with reading more as a child, but books were never a thing we could budget for as a family when we needed to put food on the table.

There were times where the escapism of reading could have really helped me. I want this escapism for all children. Not just those that can afford it.

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"We know there are over 380,000 children across the UK today that have never owned a book, children that are in vulnerable environments. That has to change.

"My books are, and always will be, for every child, even if I have to deliver them myself. We will reach them."

A picture shows a mural by grafitti artist Akse P19 of Manchester United football player Marcus Rashford on teh side of a building in Withington, Manchester

Image credit: Getty Images

The first title of the partnership - an illustrated non-fiction title aimed at 11 to 16-year-olds - will be published in May next year.

Rashford will join forces with journalist Carl Anka and Katie Warriner, a performance psychologist, to co-create the book.

Each chapter of the first book will begin with a story from Rashford's own life. It will focus on the value of education, positivity, female role models and understanding culture.

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