England’s Leighton Baines has suffered a tragic family blow just weeks before he jets off to Brazil for the World Cup.
The left-back today bid a fond last farewell to his much-loved nan who died after falling down the stairs.
Ann Baines, 81, sustained serious head injuries when she tumbled at her home a fortnight ago and died two days later in hospital.
He was today among grieving relatives who remembered the woman he affectionately described as ‘the glue that held the family together’.
Baines has told his England squad pals he will dedicate every performance for the Three Lions in South America to his nan.
And the national team backroom staff have urged the Goodison talisman to take as long as he needs to recover from the personal body blow.
Ms Baines’ funeral took place at St Joseph’s the Worker Church in Kirkby, Merseyside, the town where the left-back grew up.
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And in a touching message left for his gran, the Goodison favourite wrote: “Nana, our sadness in losing you is consoled knowing you are back in the arms of our Grandad Dixie.“The two of you were the glue that held this family together. You will be so missed Nana and will always be remembered lovingly.
“Thanks for the memories. All our love Leighton and Rachael.”
A message from Baines’s children added: “Nannie Annie, we’re really going to miss you.”
An England source said: “Leighton told the boys over the weekend and everyone in the World Cup camp has been incredibly supportive.
‘He’s been told to take as much time as he needs. He will be dedicating his performances in Brazil to his nan.”