The picture radiates relaxed family togetherness. Footballer Dele Alli, only 22 years old and fresh from a career pinnacle, scoring for England against Sweden in the World Cup quarter-final, smiles shyly with his support team around him.
These are the people he loves and trusts. Posted on Instagram by his model girlfriend, it shows Alan and Sally Hickford, a middle-class couple from Northamptonshire, and their 22-year-old son Harry.
They’re all on the pitch in Russia, beaming with pride. They came with him — of course they did. They are his world, and he theirs
While his birth mother Denise remains on a council estate in Milton Keynes, and his father is in Houston, Texas, this brave and determined young man is with the family of his choosing, the Hickfords.
Two years ago he took the decision to drop the ‘Alli’ surname from the back of his shirt, because he felt it didn’t reflect who he is. His shirt simply bears his first name, Dele.
He chooses not to talk about his family much, saying only that it is ‘complicated’.
But with the country cheering him on tomorrow, perhaps this is an apposite moment to reflect on the grit and character Dele has shown to become a sporting hero. And also on the family whose support and love have played no small part in his success.
So who are team Dele — and how did his fractured family situation come about?