THE Health Secretary was keen to heap praise on the footballer who campaigned tirelessly to extend England’s free school meals scheme over the summer holidays today – but not knowing his name made the efforts a bit tricky.

Asked about the UK Government’s U-turn on the scheme, Matt Hancock told Kay Burley: “I’ll tell you what happened. The Prime Minister talked to Daniel Rashford, he considered it and made his decision, I think it’s terrific.”

Gary Lineker tweeted out the clip, saying it was good to see ministers giving credit to footballers – Daniel Rashford in particular.

The England striker himself replied: “I’ve been called much worse over the last couple of days,” followed by a laughing emoji.

Hancock later moved on to speak to BBC Breakfast, who told him “Daniel Rashford” was already trending on social media.

Laughing in front of his pop art of the Queen, Hancock said: “I completely misspoke!”

Asked to explain what happened, Hancock went on: “I can’t, of course I know he’s called Marcus Rashford.

“I think I said that once and then several other times I said I’ve no idea, I just completely misspoke.

“Too early in the morning.”

Later, during an interview with BBC Radio 4, Hancock said twice that he was “really proud of” Rashford. Online the Cabinet member was accused of being “patronising”.

Also this morning, Hancock was challenged by Burley to explain which countries the UK’s £650m quarantine for air travellers scheme is protecting us from – given that the UK has the fifth highest number of confirmed cases in the world.

Hancock would only cite Brazil as an example even though the US has more than double the number of positive tests as the nation and the highest number of cases in the world.