'I'll be backing Brazil,' says Scot who could escort England at World Cup

IT WOULD be a dream come true for any of the thousands of English children who will be supporting their national team at this summer's World Cup in Germany, but the person who could lead England on to the pitch if they reach the final is a six-year-old Scottish boy - who supports Ukraine.

Connor Gray, from Cumbernauld, whose football hero is Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko, doesn't even want England to make it to the final - which he believes will be won by Brazil.

Connor was picked from 50,000 hopeful children across the UK to take his place among 22 team escorts chosen from all over the world. He is the only British child in the contingent and will appear as one of two team escorts at the 9 July final at the Olympic Stadium, in a game which will attract an audience of millions worldwide.

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The youngster had been on a shopping trip in Parkhead near the Celtic football ground with his father, Andrew, and sister, Carmina, four, four months ago when they stopped for a McDonald's meal.

While waiting for Carmina to finish eating, Mr Gray, an officer with Central Scotland Police, read details of the once-in-a-lifetime competition and asked Connor if he wanted to enter. Connor replied: "Yeah, great dad."

Entrants had to tick whether they wanted to be an England escort or whether they didn't mind which team they escorted - Connor chose the latter.

The family forgot about their entry until three weeks ago, when a recorded delivery letter landed on their doormat.

When Connor came home from school his parents handed him the letter.

Connor said: "When I told my friends they said 'no way'.

"My friend entered it and he sits next to me at school. He didn't win it and he's a wee bit jealous," he added.

"I want Ukraine to win but I think Brazil will do it. I don't want England in the final. I don't want them to win. My dad doesn't like them."

Mr Gray, who had already pre-booked leave from work in case Scotland qualified, will accompany his son to Germany.

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Connor's allegiance to Ukraine stems from having a Russian mother, Indira, and a grandmother from Ukraine.

His parents met when Mr Gray went to Moscow to watch Scotland play Russia in a Euro 96 qualifier in 1995.

Connor, who also supports Clyde football team, and who speaks fluent Russian - says his favourite players are Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko and Brazil's Ronaldinho.

Despite his lack of enthusiasm for the team he may end up leading out, Connor, whose prize includes a few days' sightseeing, a trip to Berlin and a tour of the stadium, is looking forward to the trip to Germany.

He said: "I'm so excited, I can't wait. I don't fall asleep until nine at night and I've woken up early every morning since I won, thinking about it."

A spokeswoman for McDonald's said: "Connor's a very lucky boy - he'll be the envy of any football supporter, however old they are."

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