Rochdale fan Joshua McCormack captured the hearts of football fans around the world this week – and to cap it off he has been named the EFL’s honorary Player of the Month.The five-year-old, who is suffering from a terminal brain tumour, was named by the club as a substitute on their teamsheet for Wednesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy match against Hartlepool United.
Sadly, Joshua was too poorly to attend the game but his shirt was hung proudly in the Dale dressing room before the match and the team ran to the substitutes' bench to hold it up after they scored.
Joshua, who is from Rochdale and was mascot for the day at Spotland in August, was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year and his family were given the devastating news in September that his illness is now terminal. He has been given squad number 55 by the club and received a visit from manager Keith Hill and the players yesterday.
On revealing Joshua would be included in Wednesday night’s squad, Hill told rochdaleafc.co.uk: “It is a real honour to name Joshua McCormack as a substitute for tonight’s game. He has touched the hearts of everyone at Rochdale Football Club since we met him for the first time back in February.
“No child should have to go through what Joshua is going through and we, as a club and a group of players, will continue to do whatever we can to support him and his family.
“We hope this one small gesture can bring some light to his family during this difficult time."
As a result of the impact Joshua’s inclusion in the squad has had and the heartwarming reaction from football fans, the EFL has taken the unprecedented step of naming him as the honorary Player of the Month.
The accolade follows on from the traditional monthly Manager and Player of the Month divisional award winners announced this morning, and will see a special trophy produced and sent to the club for them to pass on to their youngest ever signing.