The heartwarming story behind Jack Grealish’s World Cup goal celebration

Jack Grealish honoured a promise to a young fan with cerebral palsy by celebrating his goal in England’s first match of the 2022 World Cup with an arm-waving dance.

The midfielder scored England’s sixth goal of the national team’s stunning 6-2 opener against Iran, off a set-up from new forward Callum Wilson.

Grealish then turned to the camera and performed the celebratory dance, as he had sworn he would to 11-year-old Finlay, a fan of the footballer’s Premier League club Manchester City.

Finlay said Grealish was his favourite player and had sent him a letter calling him a “hero”. The young fan has cerebral palsy, a condition Grealish’s sister Holly also has.

His original letter to Grealish read: “I wish there were more people in the world just like you who treat people with disabilities the same as anyone else.

“It makes me really happy when I see that you, a famous footballer, knows what it’s like to live with people with cerebral palsy.

“You’re my hero and the best big brother to your sister.”

The footballer wrote back: “Finlay thank you for saying kind words about me being a good brother to my sister.” He also sent a signed city shirt.

The pair later met as part of a Premier League initiative called “fan mail”, which saw Grealish travel to Finlay’s local amateur football club.

Grealish told Finlay he was “really touched” by the letter and after a high-five, promised that he would do a special goal celebration of the 11-year-old’s choosing.

After the professional refused Finlay’s first choice – “I can’t do the worm” – the pair agreed on an arm waving celebration before hugging goodbye.