The chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor, said there could be "one or two surprises" in the line-ups for the union's centenary celebration match at Eastlands – with former Real Madrid pair David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane top of the wish list.
A Rest of the World XI managed by Manchester City manager Sven Goran Eriksson will face a team of England Legends coached by Terry Venables on 2 December. The cast list for the game already includes some stellar names – including respective captains Gianfranco Zola and Alan Shearer – and Taylor says the prospect of adding the recent England and France captains is still alive.
He said: "I'm hoping against hope that there will be one or two more surprises in store as international icons David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane have also expressed an interest in appearing, but both may have other commitments so I'm not going to say for definite they will be there.
"David has said if he can make it he will. But there's always a doubt at the moment with America [where Beckham plays for Los Angeles Galaxy]. Their season should be over but they're organising international tours so I wouldn't want to promise that."
Taylor added: "As for Zidane, I've spoken with him and he's very much a player's man but he has a lot of demands so we just have to keep our fingers crossed."
Those who are confirmed to play some part include Teddy Sheringham, Roy Keane, David Ginola, Marcel Desailly, Ian Rush, Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle and Niall Quinn.
And Taylor is confident of a memorable spectacle, saying: "Gianfranco Zola was not only a living legend who played the game in a magical way, but a brilliant role model to all and a perfect gentleman to boot. I'm sure his many fans will be delighted to see him back in action again.
"The same, of course, applies to Alan Shearer whose goalscoring record at club and international level alike was nothing short of phenomenal."
Proceeds from the match will go towards the PFA's funding of a £1m new children's rehabilitation and physiotherapy unit at the University Children's Hospital in Manchester.Reuse content