Village mascots’ England hat trick

Ten-year-old Alex Pepper, of Armthorpe, has been selected to escort a player for the forthcoming England vs Brazil game.  Picture: Liz Mockler D4000LM
Ten-year-old Alex Pepper, of Armthorpe, has been selected to escort a player for the forthcoming England vs Brazil game. Picture: Liz Mockler D4000LM
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DONCASTER will score a superb England hat-trick tomorrow - with a trio of town mascots set to rub shoulders with a string of famous footballing faces.

Even more amazingly all three hail from Armthorpe, and will be joining the likes of Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart and Theo Walcott as England take on soccer legends Brazil in a glittering friendly at Wembley Stadium.

Youngsters Ethan McGhee and Alex Pepper, and Doncaster Rovers’ mascot Donny Dog, will be stepping out onto the turf, following in the footsteps of Armthorpe-born former England ace and boss Kevin Keegan at the prestigious fixture.

The trio will all be accompanied by family and friends for the game which will be screened to millions of homes around the globe.

Alex’s delighted dad Stephen Pepper said: “It is brilliant there will be so many people there from the same village. We’re very proud of Alex and it’s going to be an amazing night for everyone from Doncaster.”

Football mad Alex, 10, who plays for Barnby Dun Under 11s, is no stranger to the England set-up, having already watched the national team on 17 occasions, also taking in away games in Switzerland and Denmark.

The Sheffield Wednesday season ticket holder was picked for the honour by the Football Association and the family from Barton Lane, Armthorpe, admit they are hugely excited for Wednesday night’s game.
“We are over the moon,” added Stephen, whose son has also featured several times as a mascot at Hillsborough. “We are all really looking forward to it.”

Joining him will be sporty Armthorpe Southfield Primary youngster Ethan, nine, who plays for Moorends Stingers U9s and will join his footballing heroes as a McDonald’s player escort.

His mum Suzanne, who will accompany Liverpool fan Ethan to the game, said: “He is very excited and has been smiling from ear to ear ever since we found out he’d been picked.

“His favourite player is Steven Gerrard so it would be amazing if he gets to meet him.”

Ethan, of Poplar Place, said: “It will be amazing to walk out with the England players at Wembley.” Completing the line-up will be Doncaster Rovers’ mascot Donny Dog - who is known to be kennelled in the Armthorpe area!

But the occasion could come as a culture shock for the furry friend - he’ll have to turn into a cat for the clash by walking out as one of England’s lion mascots.

Donny, who will change his name to Paws for the match, will get to meet families before the game then go pitchside to warm up the crowd before returning to the pitch at half time.

He said: “I know I have to turn into a cat for the game but it’s a great international honour and I will be Rovers’ only full England international.

“The pride of pulling on a Three Lions shirt and walking out at Wembley will be an amazing honour.

“I’m not sure I will be able to sleep the night before with the thrill of such a night, as two of the world’s top sides face each other.

“My first club will always be Rovers but not many mascots get the chance to represent their country.”