Analysis: Attempt to shame Premier League players backfired

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FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 file photo England's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal during the Euro 2020 group A qualifying soccer match between England and Montenegro at Wembley stadium in London. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an abrupt about-face Tuesday June 16, 2020 and agreed to keep funding meals for needy pupils over the summer holidays, after a campaign headed by young soccer star Marcus Rashford. The Manchester United and England player has been pressing the government not to stop a meal voucher program at the end of the school term in July. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

MANCHESTER – A Premier League shutdown that began with the British government trying to shame stars over their wealth ended with admiration for a player's determination to ensure children won't starve.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford received an unprecedented outpouring of congratulatory messages ahead of Wednesday's resumption of the world's most followed soccer league.

“Amazing to see your efforts rewarded and to know so many will benefit,” the England national team account tweeted. “We’re so proud of you, Marcus.”

It's not often anyone — let alone a footballer — secures a government U-turn, especially so swiftly.

Rashford implored Boris Johnson's administration on Monday to extend a scheme providing meal vouchers for impoverished schoolchildren into the summer holidays.

“Make protecting the lives of some of our most vulnerable a top priority,” Rashford wrote to politicians.

Only after a pubic furor escalated Tuesday did Johnson back track.

“I thank him for what he’s done,” Johnson said in Downing Street.