Lizzie’s joy at leading out England

A football-mad youngster in the Fens has admitted she “can’t stop smiling” after leading out the England team at Wembley earlier this week.

Lizzie Jackson accompanied winger Stewart Downing onto the pitch on Tuesday night before the Three Lions’ friendly match with Sweden.

Her brother Nicky, 16, had won a competition in Match Magazine for tickets to a game and the chance to be a mascot – but didn’t realise he was too old to enter.

The 12-year-old from March said: “I really enjoyed myself and can’t stop smiling. I felt proud standing on the pitch but walking out I couldn’t hear a thing, it was just a loud noise.

“When I told my friends they couldn’t believe it. I’ve had people coming up to me all day congratulating me and after the game I had 73 texts!”

Nicky said: “I couldn’t believe I won but was gutted when they said I was too old, I didn’t realise there was an age limit.

“It has always been my dream to lead England out – I was even prepared to shave my legs and head to look younger but it was still a fantastic day and I’m proud of my sister.”

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It was Downing who provided the cross which was deflected in by Swedish defender Daniel Majstorovic to earn England a 1-0 victory. It was England’s 2,000th goal.

Lizzie, a student at Neale-Wade Community College in March, plays for Estover Park Under-14s Girls and her family arrived at Wembley at 5pm on Tuesday.

She was given an England kit and goodie bag before being taken out onto the pitch to practise her routine.

She said: “I was really nervous before I went out, I didn’t want to make a mistake on TV but it all went well. I will definitely remember it for the rest of my life.”

Lizzie, a Manchester United fan, also put her club allegiance aside to accompany the Liverpool winger.

She said: “It was overwhelming

to walk out with Stewart Downing, even though he had really sweaty hands.”

England’s next match is against Belgium at Wembley in February – and Nicky has already started looking for competitions to enter.