The plush lion mascot that accompanied the England squad before being euthanised last night was one day away from retirement.
Leo the Lion, a mainstay of the national team set up before being put down after last night’s defeat to Iceland, had been preparing for a life of relaxation after Euro 2016, according to sources.
“It’s desperately sad. Even before the defeat he was looking forward to leaving this team behind him, moving on and enjoying the rest of his life,” said one member of England’s backroom team, adding that there had been widespread shock when word of Leo’s demise came through.
“He was excited to spend some time with his family and do some travelling, and now he’s lying at the bottom of a bin in France. No one deserves that.”
Staff at the FA have reportedly notified his widow, who had planned to meet him in Nice aboard their yacht, the Live Forever.