Troy Deeney has revealed how he relied on free school meals as a child and praised Marcus Rashford for his campaign efforts.

Watford FC striker Deeney has told talkSPORT Breakfast about how free school meals helped him and his siblings through school.

He also went on to praise Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford for his campaign to end child food poverty and his work to make sure children in need are fed during the school holidays.

The Government was forced to u-turn earlier this year due to the popularity of Rashford's campaign and provided meals during the summer holidays.

Speaking to the radio station, Deeney said: "I'm from that environment. Obviously free school meals was a massive part of what got me, my brothers and sisters through school up until an age where you start looking after yourself.

"For me that was like 13 or 14. I had to rely on help.

"We all need help in some capacity. I think more importantly when you look at the new generation of footballer now that's coming through, you highlight Sterling and Rashford, but there's so many more now."

MPs voted to reject Labour's motion - which called for free school meals to be extended over school holidays until Easter 2021. The motion was defeated by 261 votes to 322.

Deeney added: "So many people used to tarnish footballers with, and still do to an extent, with 'they are stupid, they are selfish, they are overpaid' and all these different things.

"It's finally nice to see people actually saying 'look at the human being behind that footballer'. We are all humans, we have emotions and we all make mistakes.

"When you look at the way this is all going now, Marcus has pushed the envelope to where the government is going to have to do something.

"That is the most powerful thing you can see nowadays. Your social media following, your presence and your actions can actually dictate to what the Government has to do.

"I tip my hat to him. Everyone at talkSPORT here is right behind him and anything we can all do to help him I'm sure we will do in our own capacity."