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Manchester United footballer and MBE recipient Marcus Rashford is now set to marry his childhood sweetheart after proposing while on a postseason getaway in California..

The Premier League striker got down on one knee for long-time girlfriend Lucia Loi yesterday, less than a week after United ended their season in defeat to Crystal Palace.

The pair, both aged 24, have been dating since the age of 15 when they were pupils at Ashton on Mersey school in Greater Manchester.

Rashford had been planning the proposal for weeks and popped the question to Lucia at a lavish villa after they shared a romantic meal at celebrity seafood restaurant Catch LA, a source told The Sun.

‘They went out in LA for a romantic night together on Tuesday and he proposed. It was extremely romantic..

‘They celebrated afterwards with a group of close friends — including his United teammate Jesse Lingard,’ the source said.

Rashford shared news of the engagement on Instagram, posting an image of the pair embracing as they stood atop a bed of white roses in front of a heart-shaped archway.

Another source said: ‘All involved are thrilled at the recent news of the engagement,’ and spoke of Lucia’s influence on the Premier League star, who has received plaudits for his charitable work off the field but has struggled to perform on it since having shoulder surgery.

‘Lucia has been a big part of Marcus’ life… offering stability, a sense of belonging and assurance that can be rare to find,’ the source told The Sun.

The high school sweethearts had been together for eight years when difficulties associated with the Covid pandemic triggered a split.

But the pair confirmed they had reunited in January of this year.

News of the engagement comes just days after Rashford claimed the book of the year prize at the British Book Awards for his non-fiction debut.

You Are A Champion, an inspirational guide for young people, was chosen from the 12 individual category winners during the ceremony – nicknamed The Nibbies – at Grosvenor House in London.

The book, written with journalist Carl Anka, offers advice on how to achieve your potential and find success.

In a pre-recorded message, Rashford said: ‘Every child should pick up the book and believe that I wrote it for them.

‘I want to give a huge thanks to MacMillan for believing in me and believing in the process, and a big thanks to Carl as well because he played a massive role in the book being completed.

‘The reason I made the book and the purpose of the book was to give kids the opportunity that I never had.’

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