Tomorrow, communities across the city will watch England play Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-final having watched some of the stars in the white shirts growing up, and with a special sense of local pride as they shout: “Come on England.”
And city youngsters at players' former schools have told how they have been inspired by what they have seen.
For shopkeeper David Herring, who runs the Herring’s Top Shop grocers and café on Mosborough High Street, towering England defender Harry Maguire is the boy who used to pop in for a sausage sandwich on his way to school.
David, aged 77, said: “I’ve known Harry since he was a small boy. He’s more or less grown up in the area and done very well for himself. What can you say? As a community, we’re so proud of him.
“He contributed a lot to Mosborough during the pandemic, providing food parcels for residents who needed them. He has done a lot for the community and clearly remembers his roots. I’m really looking forward to watching him in the semi-final.
“It was great to watch him on Saturday, and when he scored that really was the icing on the cake. I just want to say go on Harry, win the cup for us. He’s a local lad and we’re all hoping he does well.”
Customer Neil Goodison agreed. Neil lives just round the corner on Cadman Street and recalls seeing Harry out training locally as a youngster.
He said: “We’re proud of him. We used to see him out training with his brother, Laurence, who plays for Chesterfield, out on Bridle Stile. They’d be out doing extra, out of hours training. I’ve spoken to him a few times and he is such an approachable fellow, who has also been looking after the pensioners in this village during the pandemic.
“It’s brilliant he’s doing so well - I hope they go all the way. I’ll shout for all of them, but I’ll shout loudest for Harry.”
Former Mosborough Primary School pupil Abbie Shepherd, aged 29, said she was aware Harry had helped residents during the pandemic.
“We’re really proud of him,” she said. “I know he lives round here and so does his family.
“I say good luck to him and the team on Wednesday – win it for us.”
Outside the Admiral chip shop, resident Bret Rivett, aged 25, added: “I think it’s a source of great local pride that a local lad is playing for England at such a high level. We still see him a lot – his mum and dad still live in the village, and he’s not forgotten his roots.
“There is a buzz about the place because he is there. I will be watching the game. My message to him is good luck Harry, do us proud.”
It is not just Mosborough watching closely.
In Sharrow, they will be rooting for full back Kyle Walker.
At his old school, Porter Croft CofE Primary, on Pomona Street, pupils have put together messages for him.
Headteacher, Cath Thomas, said: “Kyle Walker is an inspiration to our pupils because it instills the belief that their dreams can come true. Porter Croft would like to wish him and the whole team all the best for the game on Wednesday.”
One message, signed ‘Alex, year six’, read: “You are a huge inspiration to us and we’re rooting for you. You can do this.”
Another, signed Amonara, said: “You are inspirational and you have good sportsmanship. That’s why I’m rooting for you.”
Another, signing their message Keri, said: “Well done for getting this far – you deserve to be the champions.”
And a message, signed Megan, added: “We know you can win – you are inspiring us all.”
Patrick Meleady, from Pitsmoor Adventure Playground, said he and the team remembered Kyle, from when he played there as a child.
Patrick said: “Kyle Walker, who we’ve known from being a young boy came, onto the Highfield Adventure Playground aged four with his lovely family - his mum, Tracey, Mike, his Dad and his sister Amber, and who stayed with us playing on the ground for many years.
“Through this daily play and our annual summer expeditions to Thornbridge camp, led by the wonderful Graham Kay, Kyle was able to learn problem solving, team work, resilience, cooperation, leadership skills and how to manage difficult situations .
“At 16, he used to return to the ground to play football on the kick pitch with others of his age and with the play staff members too.
“We wish Kyle, our first class defender and in my humble opinion the best right back in the world, every success.”
He was also pleased to see Harry Maguire’s success, recalling him helping at St Wilfrids Centre during his Sheffield United days and helped with anti-racism schemes.
“We are rooting for our local lads and all others in the England Team,” he said.
“Hopefully we will be seeing the lads return to Sheffield victorious soon, with the trophy. They may even pop in for a brew.”
At Malin Bridge Primary School, Dykes Lane, they also have good reasons to get behind the team.
It is the old school of striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who played in the 4-0 win over Ukraine. And his younger twin sisters still attend, as final year pupils.
Teacher Grace Turner taught Dominic there and remembers him well.
She said: “We're really, really proud although we're not surprised that he's done so well as he was never without a football in the playground. We wish him all the luck in the world. Come on England!”
“The whole school will be cheering for England on Wednesday,” added office administrator Sophie Rigby.