Cat-ar 2022: England players will adopt ‘Dave’ the cat after leaving the World Cup | England

England footballers return home without the World Cup trophy but weren’t entirely empty-handed as they left their training base in Al Wakrah on Sunday.

Defenders Kyle Walker and John Stones, who both started for Gareth Southgate’s side in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to France, befriended a stray tabby cat during their stay in four weeks in Qatar.

Stones named their handsome new feline companion Dave, while Walker said they plan to adopt the cat and bring him back to England should the Three Lions ultimately prevail.

While that dream has yet to come true, it seems players loved Dave too much to say a final goodbye when they left Al Wakrah.

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The cat was taken to a local veterinary clinic for tests and vaccinations and will spend four months in quarantine before what is likely a free transfer to Manchester City – or in the care of Stones or Walker, who both play for the champions of the Premier League.

“They still don’t know who has him, but he’s going back,” a woman in charge of taking Dave to the vet on Sunday said in a video. posted by Rich McCarthy on Twitter.

“He was just there one day, so we just adopted him, me and Stonesy,” Walker told the official FA media channel during England’s World Cup campaign. “Dave is welcome at the table… Some people really don’t like the cat, but I do.”

A cat (left) visits Brazil's press conference ahead of their World Cup loss to Croatia, much to striker Vinícius Junior's amusement.
A cat (left) visits Brazil’s press conference ahead of their World Cup loss to Croatia, much to striker Vinícius Junior’s amusement. Photography: André Penner/AP

“The first day we got there…Dave comes out,” Stones said. “Every night he sits there waiting for his food.”

Walker also told reporters that Dave was involved in a fight with a rival cat before the round of 16 loss to the Blues. “Dave is fine, thanks for asking,” Walker revealed.

Dave is not the only cat to have attracted media attention in Qatar. Ahead of their round of 16 loss to Croatia, Brazil’s press conference was invaded by a cat sitting in front of the cameras next to striker Vinícius Junior, before being thrown off the table by a club official ‘crew.