"3 goals, 16 minutes, 10,30,000 signatures". The caption may seem a bit confusing, but there could hardly have been a better way for Marcus Rashford to describe a picture of himself celebrating Manchester United's 5-0 win over RB Leipzig on Wednesday.
'With the same leadership that he has shown through continued efforts off the pitch in the fight against child food poverty, Marcus Rashford flourished on the pitch with a stunning 16-minute hattrick, the fastest by a Champions League substitute. At the same time, the 22-year-old's continuing fight against food poverty aimed to cause a second government U-turn, the first of which earned him an MBE, had gathered significant steam earlier in the day, with his petition to end child food poverty topping a million signatures.
Rashford looked fired-up after being introduced in the 63rd minute, those fires perhaps stoked by the knowledge that he could transfer the limelight shining on him to an important issue.
The Mancunian's selfless streak even shone through in the match when, after firing home two quick goals in the 74th and 78th minutes, he deferred a Manchester United penalty to strike partner Anthony Martial. While most players would be chomping at the bit for a Champions League hattrick, Rashford picked the ball up and handed it to Martial, who scored his first of the campaign.
Yet, even in the three minutes that remained, Rashford found the time to complete the hattrick. "Better late than never", in the words of a satisfied Manchester Mayor Andy Burham, who had tweeted ahead of Manchester United's Premier League clash with Chelsea last Saturday: "If there's a God, Marcus Rashford will get a hattrick tonight."
Asked about that penalty and whether there was a discussion, Rashford said: "A little bit. But I feel confident with Anthony taking them as well, so there was no problem."
On Instagram, Rashford posted: "Can't stop smiling, I've waited a long time for that. Just wish the fans were in to experience it with me." Always thinking of his campaign he added: "ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY".