A little boy whose spirit and determination inspired Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu saw his dream come true when he scored a goal at Goodison Park in front of thousands of admiring fans on Sunday (January 24).
Wild applause greeted George Shaw, who has cerebral palsy, when he stepped on to the pitch at half-time as Deulofeu’s guest of honour for the Blues’ clash with Swansea City.
Nine-year-old George’s special invitation came about after his dad posted a clip of him practicing his dribbling skills online, attracting his hero Deulofeu’s praise and racking up millions of views.
Then at half-time a beaming George took centre stage in his new boots - a gift from Deulofeu - and launched the ball into the back of the net at the famous Gwladys Street end, as his dad’s original clip was played to the crowd.
Hailing his moment in the spotlight ‘brilliant’, football-mad George said: “It was great walking up the tunnel and seeing the whole crowd.
“I thought nothing would come of the video but I was wrong.
“When I was going to meet Gerard after the game, I met Duncan Ferguson and had a picture with him.
“My bottom lip just dropped because he was speaking to me and knew my name.”
The thoughtful youngster even thanked Girona-born Deulofeu for inviting him along using his newly-learned Catalan.
'George is still buzzing'
George’s proud dad Dave Shaw said he welled up when he saw his son on the pitch.
“The day could not have gone much better for George,” he said.
“The crowd’s reaction was unreal.
“It was amazing and George is still buzzing.”
Deulofeu, who later presented George with the signed shirt he wore during the match, tweeted on Sunday night: “But today I met George & his family, a very strong, inspiring boy.”