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Mike Ashley to give out free T-shirts if England win the World Cup

The Sports Direct boss has warned Apple and Google of a surge in online traffic.

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley will hand out free souvenir T-shirts if England win the World Cup.

The Newcastle United owner has won the rights to make shirts with the official Three Lions logo, emblazoned with the words “2018 Winners” underneath it.

Mr Ashley was in Italy to witness Gareth Southgate’s anguish as he missed a penalty against Germany in 1996, and wants to give England fans an extra boost if their team bring the World Cup home.

The shirts will be available through Sports Direct’s app, and the company has warned Apple and Google that there could be a huge surge on their servers if England do win.

Mike knows the whole country will go potty if Gareth Southgate's boys go all the way. The only limit on how many we can give away will be how fast we can get them printed Sports Direct

A spokesman for Sports Direct said: “Mike knows the whole country will go potty if Gareth Southgate’s boys go all the way.

“The only limit on how many we can give away will be how fast we can get them printed.

“Mike’s ordered everybody at Sports Direct to pull out all the stops in order to make it happen.

“Mike has always been an England fan and he was in Mexico in person to see the heartache of Maradona’s Hand of God goal, and in Italy in 1990 to see Gazza’s tears. He knows how much it will mean to people if we bring home the World Cup.”

England’s World Cup hopes were boosted this week when the Three Lions won a penalty shootout against Colombia in Moscow.

The penalty shootout win was the UK’s most watched television event since 2012, with viewing figures peaking at 24.4 million.

The team are now gearing up to face Sweden on Saturday, a match which former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has said will be “their most difficult game so far”.

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