Wednesday 13 December 2017

Bradley Lowery leading out England at Wembley is everything that's good about football

By Alistair Mason

The Sunderland fan walked Jermain Defoe on to the pitch ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

There was scarcely a football fan unmoved as Bradley Lowery led England on to the pitch to face Lithuania alongside his “best friend” Jermain Defoe.

The five-year-old Sunderland fan, who has neuroblastoma, has struck up a friendship with the striker, with Defoe and other Black Cats stars visiting him in hospital when he was undergoing life-prolonging treatment.

And when he led the Three Lions out for their World Cup qualifier alongside a recalled Defoe, more than a few fans found they suddenly had something in their eye.

The moment was even more special as England’s new captain Joe Hart stood aside to allow Bradley and Defoe to go on to the pitch first.

And it was a moment for football fans to cherish.

Somewhat inevitably, it was Defoe who opened the scoring for England too.

Just one problem – the noise was apparently a bit too much.

The event was all the more special as, when Bradley was first told he would be a mascot for the game, the idea that Defoe would have been in the team was pretty far fetched.

Before the game, Bradley’s mum Gemma, from Blackhall, County Durham, told Radio 5 Live: “To find out Jermain is going to be there as well just totally topped it off for him.”

She added: “At the very beginning it was just amazing. It was his dream come true, his hero, Jermain. Now he just calls him his best friend – it’s just normal for him.”

Press Association

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