ENGLAND stars are proving to be heroes on and off the pitch as they battle hidden heartbreaks in their quest for World Cup glory.
Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Raheem Sterling have all suffered personal losses but are still pushing on to keep the nation's hopes alive.
But the brave heroes are still donning the jersey under pressure to try and lead the Three Lions to glory in the most prestigious international tournament of all.
Yesterday, two-goal hero Marcus Rashford dedicated his stunning strikes to his late friend who died just days earlier.
The Manchester United star took the headlines in a 3-0 win with one celebration seeing him kneeling and pointing to the sky with his eyes closed.
Rashford later revealed he was paying a moving tribute to lost pal Garfield Hayward.
Speaking after the game, a brave Rashford said: "Unfortunately I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago.
"He's had quite a long battle with cancer, so I'm pleased I managed to score for him.
"He's always been a big supporter of mine. He was just a great person and I'm pleased he came into my life, really."
And his England and Manchester United team-mate Luke Shaw is also bravely battling on after recently suffering a loss.
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The flying full-back revealed his nan died just hours before England started their World Cup campaign in Qatar.
After the Three Lions' thumping win over Wales, Shaw said that he was grieving for his grandmother but had received the full support of his colleagues in Qatar.
The brave Manchester United man said: “My Nan sadly passed away.
“She had cancer for a long while and unfortunately she passed away just before the first game.
“Gareth was really good with me. He spoke to me said, 'okay, you need to have time away and just focus on that' but I'm out here, this World Cup means so much to me and I didn't want to miss anything.
“Of course, I've had time to grieve and now it's time to fully focus on the World Cup.”
But despite his personal loss, Shaw has had an excellent World Cup so far, having started every single game for Gareth Southgate's side.
Fellow England star Sterling has also been through heartbreak of his own while continuing to perform on the pitch.
Late last year,his childhood friend Steffie Gregg tragically passed away, aged 26.
The England star paid tribute with a T-shirt reading "Love you forever Steffie Gregg" after scoring in the Three Lions' 4-0 win over Hungary.
Gregg suffered from the autoimmune disease Lupus, which led to the complications, according to local reports.
She was the niece of Jamaican dancehall producer Rvssian, was a famous Twitch streamer with more than 36,000 followers on Instagram
Rvssian wrote in a social media post: 'I feel helpless my little Steffie. I feel I failed you and couldn't protect you from this. Covid is real.'
And compatriot Jack Grealish was also doing his bit for the community after making his biggest fan's day.
The Manchester City star sat down for a one-on-one video call with the lucky lad.
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The Three Lions and Man City ace performed his special goal celebration last Monday as a nod to young Finlay Fisher after netting against Iran.
The squad now go into the last-16 with a clash against Senegal to come on Sunday.
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