Footballer Jermain Defoe has spoken of the “special feeling” he got spending time with best friend Bradley Lowery, the six-year old mascot who died from a rare cancer last month.

The little Sunderland fan struck up a remarkable friendship with star striker Defoe touching the world of football.

Bradley, who suffered from a neuroblastoma, died at his home in Blackhall, County Durham, in his parents’ arms.

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Defoe, who has since moved to Bournemouth, said he will forever carry the “special feeling” of his close bond with Bradley.

“That story of Brad’s is just special, my best friend, it was genuine. He loved his football, he loved me, I loved him. There was nothing I could give him, apart from being a friend,” Defoe told the BBC.

“I was on Facetime last night with his mum, dad and brother, it was quite funny. Obviously it is still difficult for them, but it is nice to still be in touch.

“Even towards the end when he was really struggling and couldn’t really move, I would walk into room, he was in bed and he’d just jump up and his mum was like ‘he’s not moved all day’.

“For me it was a special feeling.”

Jermain Defoe during the funeral of Bradley Lowery. (Owen Humphreys/PA)Jermain Defoe during the funeral of Bradley Lowery. (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The bond between Defoe and Bradley saw them lead out the England team at Wembley for a World Cup qualifier against Lithuania in March.

“That was the best, even being down the tunnel. He was looking for me, like he does, then he came and gave me a cuddle and Joe Hart said to me, ‘J, you walk the team out’. For Harty to do that, that was special,” Defoe recalled.

“Then we walked out, and just standing there, singing the national anthem with Brad, on Mother’s Day, and being back involved in the England squad, actually playing at Wembley and scoring, for me that was on of the best moments of my career.”