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We'reflying the flag for England; WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN 9 DAYS TO GO.

Byline: SCOTT GORAN ERIKSSON

World Cup Reporter TWO football-mad friends were in training today after receiving a surprise England call-up for the World Cup tournament.

Schoolboys Simon Davies and Jack Sherlock are part of a sixstrong team chosen to carry the flag before England's opening clash against Sweden on June 2.

The youngsters, both 14, and pupils at Mosslands School, in Wallasey, are jetting off to Japan next week for a three-day allexpenses-paid trip.

They will join their football heroes at the Saitama Stadiumon for the national anthem before taking their seats in the stands to watch England's opening game.

Simon, a Tranmere Rovers supporter, won the dream prize in a Coca-Cola competition in a national newspaper and chose best friend Jack as his fellow flagbearer.

Jack, an Everton FC fan said: ``I think we have an extremely good chances of lifting the trophy. The other sides haven't as much talent as England.''

His father Tony revealed how his son recently gave up the chance to be a Tranmere Rovers mascot enabling his wheelchairbound brother Anthony to take his place.

He added: ``For two years Simon has looked after his brother. His escape is football. This prize is a great reward - if anyone deserves it, he does.''

GIANT television screen will show World Cup matches and Golden Jubilee celebrations in Liverpool.

The city council has struck a deal with the BBC to erect the giant screen in Williamson Square1.

CAPTION(S):

BANNER BEARERS: Simon Davies and Jack Sherlock who will carrying the England flag for the national team
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 22, 2002
Words:258
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