An 11-year-old boy with cerebral palsy has said seeing Jack Grealish do his “worm” celebration at the World Cup was “a dream come true”.
The midfielder met schoolboy Finlay Fisher during a Manchester City community event last week and promised him he would do their special dance move if he scored in Qatar.
Finlay has been playing football with other disabled children through Manchester City’s initiative, called City in the Community, and he bonded quickly with Grealish, whose younger sister has the same condition.
After securing England’s final goal in the team’s 6-2 victory over Iran on Monday, Grealish performed the arm movement inspired by Finlay, before blowing a kiss.
Finlay, who suffers frequent falls due to his condition, said he had been in hospital with a leg injury on Monday and only just made it home in time to see England’s game.
Speaking alongside his father Dan Fisher, he told BBC Breakfast: “In the morning I injured my leg, so I had to go to A&E, but thankfully I got back 10 minutes before the match started.
“I finally got back, and he scored. I was jumping around, or trying to jump.
“At first I thought he wouldn’t remember, but when he did it, I was like: ‘Oh my God, he’s done the worm.’
“It feels like a dream come true, I can’t say how happy I am. I’ve still not got over it yet.”
“I couldn’t believe it, I was star-struck,” he said.
“When you meet your idol, it’s like meeting Superman or Batman, you can’t imagine it.
“He wanted to come and see me in his spare time, so I really want to thank him for that.”
Finlay also thanked his footballing hero for remembering their celebration, and hailed City in the Community for providing a place where disabled children can play football.
“Before City in the Community, I got upset because I couldn’t really play football.
“When I went there, it just made me happy that I could actually play football.”
His father added that despite being a Manchester United fan – a rival to Grealish’s Manchester City – he said he had “a lot of respect” for the footballer.
Mr Fisher said: “He had so much on his plate, he had just scored a goal for England, and then he remembered to do that celebration for Fin.
“It just shows the level of integrity and what a legend the guy is.”