Two Lancashire lads have fulfilled a childhood dream by leading England’s football team out at Wembley stadium.
Seven-year-old Jude Lambert, from Leyland, and Alex Shuttleworth, 10, from Bamber Bridge, walked onto the hallowed turf as McDonald’s player escorts on Friday.
And they were certainly lucky mascots as England ran out 5-0 winners over the European minnows San Marino in their third World Cup 2014 qualifying match.
Alex, who won his place after entering a national competition, accompanied Arsenal’s pacy winger Theo Walcott on to the pitch.
The youngster, who goes to St Leonard’s Primary School in Walton-le-Dale and captains Walton-le-Dale’s under-11s football team, went to the game with his mum Nicola, dad Mark and seven-year-old sister, Imogen.
Mark said: “It was absolutely fantastic. He is mad on football so he was chuffed to bits.
“The only disappointment was that Theo Walcott got injured before Alex got up in the stand.
“We all had a terrific time. The FA paid for our tickets, helped towards our travel and Alex got a full kit and goodie bag.
“It’s the first time I’ve been to Wembley since it was rebuilt and it’s a world of difference now. It’s absolutely magnificent.”
Jude, who attends Leyland Methodist Junior school and plays for Leyland Albion under eights football team, walked out with England’s number one, the Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart.
His mum, Emma, a school attendance officer who nominated Jude when she saw an advert online, said: “It was amazing. I was nearly crying!
“I was dead nervous when I dropped him off. He looked a bit nervous too, but he loved it. I am a very proud mum.
“We went with my boyfriend and his son and on Saturday we visited the Tower of London.”