Liam Payne’s England are aiming to win their first Soccer Aid crown since 2018 when they take on Usain Bolt’s World XI at West Ham’s London Stadium on Sunday evening
Image: ©UNICEF/Soccer Aid Productions/Stella Pictures)
The line-up for this year’s Soccer Aid has been announced with dozens of football legends and famous faces taking part.
England are aiming to win the popular charity match for the first time since 2018 and have recruited well, persuading two Manchester United legends, a recently retired Premier League star and a YouTuber with 2.3 million followers to take part.
Yet the World XI also have a fine selection of players – including five World Cup winners, three Premier League champions and one of Line of Duty’s finest police offers. Here are the teams for Sunday’s blockbuster clash at West Ham’s London Stadium.
©UNICEF/Soccer Aid Productions/Stella Pictures)
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The Three Lions will be captained by One Direction Liam Payne, who will make his Soccer Aid debut in London. “It doesn’t get much better than captaining England in Soccer Aid while fundraising for UNICEF,” said the X Factor graduate as the news broke.
“I can’t believe I get to run out onto the pitch with some of my heroes all while raising money for such a great cause. To be given the captain’s armband is a real honor and I’m determined to lead us to victory! “
Payne will play alongside comedians Alex Brooker and Russell Howard, actors David Harewood and Damian Lewis, musicians Aitch and Tom Grennan, YouTuber Chunkz, reality TV star Mark Wright and and four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah.
“I’m so excited to be a part of Soccer Aid for UNICEF,” said Brooker, who is best known for presenting The Last Leg on Channel 4. “I’ve watched it for years and I’m proud that I will be the first physically disabled person to play in the match.
“When I was a baby, my parents didn’t even know if I’d end up being able to walk, so to be involved in something like this is special. I should add that I’m right footed and don’t have a right foot, so I’m not gonna be a game changer! But I just can’t wait to be involved.”
In terms of ex-professionals, England will have recently retired Premier League midfielder Mark Noble to call on. The 35-year-old recently hung up his boots at West Ham and is expected to receive a fantastic reception at the London Stadium on Sunday.
Ex-England internationals David James, Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Joe Cole, Teddy Sheringham, Stewart Downing, Fara Williams, Eni Aluko and Anita Asante will also feature.
The Three Lions have assembled a four-person management team of Harry Redknapp, David Seaman, Emma Hayes and Vicky McClure. “Anyone who knows me will tell you that I would never turn my country down, so when they asked me to be England Manager, I had to say yes,” said Redknapp, who coached the World XI to a 3-0 win last year .
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England’s rivals will be captained by Olympic legend Usain Bolt for the fourth time. Bolt famously won three gold medals at the London Olympics in 2012 – held at the London Stadium before it was converted into West Ham’s home.
“I had the pleasure of competing in the London Stadium as an athlete many times including the 2012 Olympic Games,” said Bolt. “The crowd were amazing every time I competed there and created a special energy and atmosphere. I look forward to returning.”
Bolt will play alongside actors Mark Strong and Martin Compston, comedians Mo Gilligan, Lee Mack and Munya Chawawa, reality TV stars Kem Cetinay and Steven Bartlett, musician Chelcee Grimes, social media star Noah Beck and strongman Tom Stoltman.
When it comes to ex-professionals, the World XI’s side contains World Cup winners Cafu, Andrea Pirlo, Roberto Carlos, Carli Lloyd and Heather O’Reilly. They’ve also got the brilliance of Andriy Shevchenko, Patrice Evra, Petr Cech and Dimitar Berbatov to call on.
The World XI have also put together an impressive three-man management team of former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, Premier League legend Robbie Keane and actor Idris Elba.
England: Liam Payne (C), David James, Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Joe Cole, Teddy Sheringham, Stewart Downing, Fara Williams, Eni Aluko, Anita Asante, Mark Noble, David Harewood, Damian Lewis, Aitch, Tom Grennan, Alex Brooker, Russell Howard, Chunkz, Sir Mo Farah and Mark Wright.
World XI: Usain Bolt (C), Cafu, Andrea Pirlo, Roberto Carlos, Carli Lloyd, Heather O’Reilly, Andriy Shevchenko, Patrice Evra, Peter Cech, Dimitar Berbatov, Mo Gilligan, Lee Mack, Munya Chawawa, Martin Compston, Mark Strong, Kem Cetinay, Steven Bartlett, Tom Stoltman, Chelcee Grimes, Noah Beck.