Bradley Lowery's excitement ahead of leading out England with 'best friend' Jermain Defoe

Bradley Lowery with Jermain Defoe earlier this season.
Bradley Lowery with Jermain Defoe earlier this season.
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Brave Bradley Lowery can't wait to lead out England with "best friend" Jermain Defoe this weekend.

The cancer-battling five-year-old, whose story has touched people across the world, is the Three Lions' mascot for their World Cup qualifier with Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday.

Bradley has built up a strong relationship with Defoe and other Sunderland AFC players over recent months, with many of them having visited him in hospital while he underwent life-prolonging treatment, while he has also been the club's mascot on a number of occasions.

Defoe was recalled to the England squad ahead of this match, and so Bradley's mascot opportunity has come at the perfect time.

Mum Gemma, from Blackhall, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "To find out Jermain is going to be there as well just totally topped it off for him.

"For him to just be in the dressing room when Bradley goes in is going to be absolutely fantastic for him."

On Bradley's relationship with Defoe, Gemma 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.

"It gives us memories we can obviously carry with us for the rest of our lives as well."

Defoe gave Bradley, who is battling neuroblastoma, a cuddle in a heart-warming moment at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary earlier this year as the youngster fell asleep in his arms.

Bradley has been Sunderland's mascot for games against Everton and Chelsea this season.