England have a mystery squad member at Euro 2016 that could help *roar* them onto success


Eagle-eyed England fans will have noticed over the past few days that there is a new member of the Euro 2016 squad - a stuffed toy lion.

Chris Smalling appears to be responsible for the mascot, which has already been seen hanging out with the team at England's Chantilly training camp, after the Manchester United defender was pictured holding it before and after the flight to France.

Smalling was actually spotted holding the lion before the friendly against Portugal as well and, when he's not been on the pitch, the cuddly toy has hardly been away from his side.

The Manchester United man rolled into England's hotel on Monday with it, and questions about it's appearance even cracked a mention during Tuesday's press conference with Kyle Walker.

England's Chris Smalling arrives at the Euro 2016 team hotel
( Mike Egerton/PA)

Walker dead-panned the questions - he actually said that was for the senior players to comment on and he didn't know much about it (so watch this space!) - but we suspect the mascot is set to be a source of banter among the England squad.

It has been suggested that Smalling has had to carry the lion around after losing a forfeit and Walker did hint at that in the press conference when he said that it was down to his fellow defender's "bad luck" that he has had to walk around with it.

Roy Hodgson
(Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/PA)

We wait to find out who gets the toy lion next, and for what reason, but for now getting any details out of the England squad about him is proving tough.

There's no word on the lion's name - we're guessing Leo or Rory - what Smalling did to earn his company or if he is now a permanent fixture for the England team as their 'fourth lion'.

Let's hope the team are as miserly with their defending as they are with info on the lion. And let's also hope the lion is a lucky charm or this could be the little guy's only tournament!