Young cancer patient beams as Man Utd players recognize him in meeting ahead of match


An inspirational young boy receiving treatment for cancer in Manchester was given the chance to meet some of his favorite footballers ahead of today’s match.

River Rhodes, seven, is actually from Wolverhampton, where his family are firm supporters of their local club Wanderers, but the youngster is so mad about football he’s over the moon to see any team play.

Whilst undergoing radiotherapy treatment at The Christie in Manchester for rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of soft tissue, connective tissue or bone, River started going to football matches at Old Trafford, and the Manchester United family quickly took him in as one of their own.

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River has been to see lots of Man U’s games over the last few months, getting to meet a lot of the players at Turf Moor earlier this month when the reds took on Burnley in the Premier League.

Today, February 26 River was outside Old Trafford waiting for the players to arrive ahead of their match against Watford, and a video shared on the Manchester United Twitter page showed the squad recognizing their young fans as they were coming in.

Captain Harry Maguire was the first player to greet the youngster, asking if he was ok and coming to watch the game.

Forward Cristiano Ronaldo followed, instantly recognizing River and breaking out in a grin upon spotting him.

Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga both posed for pictures with the youngster, before Paul Pogba tried to pop his head into the picture and Jessie Lingard came to give River a hug.

Keeper David De Gea also came to shake the youngster’s hand, before posing for a picture with him.

Cristiano Ronaldo and River shared a hug before the match

Clips of the players walking past were shared on the club’s social media pages, alongside pictures taken by Man U’s photographer.

Another shot showed the young boy meeting Marcus Rashford, with the pair grinning.

Earlier this month, Ronaldo shared a picture of him meeting River on his Twitter account.

Marcus Rashford also stopped to greet Little River ahead of the game

The dad-of-four, who has twins on the way, wrote: “Children are and will always be the best thing the world has to offer, and we must protect them at all costs. Supporters are and will always be the best in football, and we must respect everything they face and endure for their clubs.”

River has been given several shirts from the club, with Lingard running over to hand the youngster the shirt he played in after spotting him in the stand after the Burnley game.

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Videos shared online by dad Ryan have also shown River in an adult-sized Maguire shirt, dangling down towards his knees.

River’s cancer first presented itself as a tumor in his eyelid, with the young boy needing 12 months of chemotherapy to battle the condition.

His course of radiotherapy at The Christie has now been completed, finishing on Thursday, February 24.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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