A nine-year-old boy from Haverfordwest is setting off on a trip of a lifetime tomorrow (Tuesday), after winning the chance to be a mascot for the England team at the World Cup in Brazil.
Sport mad Morgan James is bursting with excitement as he and his dad Julian prepare to travel some 6,000 miles to Sao Paulo.
Morgan, who plays for Merlins Bridge Juniors, will walk out on to the pitch with the England team, including a number of his Man United heroes, before their match against Uruguay onThursday.
The £10,000 prize was handed out by McDonalds, one of the sponsors of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and Morgan is one of a select few to have been given such a fantastic opportunity, all thanks to his dad who sent off an e-mail entry.
Mary Immaculate pupil Morgan, who also plays rugby, tennis and loves swimming, and Julian will spend four days in Brazil, getting the chance to take in the sights and atmosphere. The young mascots will also play their own football match before the big game.
Morgan’s favourite player is Wayne Rooney so he would love to walk out with the star striker but will be delighted whoever he is paired with.
He said: “It’s really, really exciting because England have a lot of Man United players.”
He added that many of his school friends supported Liverpool, who will have players on both sides of the England v Uruguay contest, including captain Steven Gerrard captaining England and star striker Luis Suarez lining up for Uruguay.
Julian, who helps out with Merlins Bridge Juniors, added: “I had this phone call and I thought they were taking the mick at first. It will be a trip of a lifetime. It’s going to be a busy four days and will be a learning experience for them all.
“The look of joy on his face when I told him, that first night I thought ‘he’s never going to get to sleep’.
“If he’s not playing football he’s watching it, he’s fiddling with his Match Attack book or playing football on the Xbox and there are goal posts in the garden – we’ve turned into a football family. He’s an all round player, he must have been playing since he was about four.”
Although patriotic Welshmen, Julian and Morgan will be supporting England.
“It would be nice if it was Wales. I don’t think I’ll be wearing an England shirt! He’s got to wear an England kit,” Julian joked.
Unfortunately for mum, Melissa, the prize only includes one adult place but she is just as excited for her family and will be proudly watching out for them on the television.
“I think it’s fantastic. I asked him if he would be nervous and he said ‘no, why should I be nervous’. He’s a very lucky boy. He’s embracing it, he realises not many people get the chance to do that,” she added.