Soccer Aid: Liam Payne to captain England team for charity football match

‘I’m determined to lead us to victory,’ the 28-year-old singer said

Maanya Sachdeva
Tuesday 22 March 2022 00:01
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Soccer Aid for Unicef 2021

Former One Direction singer Liam Payne is set to captain England for the world’s biggest celebrity football match, Soccer Aid, this year.

Soccer Aid is returning in June to raise money for the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), having raised more than £60m since its creation in 2006 for the organisation.

The match between England and the Soccer Aid World XI will feature a variety of recognisable faces including debuts from English journalist Alex Brooker, Supernatural actor Lucien Laviscount and former Arsenal football club manager Arsene Wenger.

Payne, who called the opportunity to wear the captain’s armband for the charity match “a real honour”, said: “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.”

He added: “I’m determined to lead us to victory!”

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt will captain the Soccer Aid World XI FC this year, marking his return to London a decade after his gold medal wins at the Summer Olympics in 2012.

British broadcaster Maya Jama and former football player Alex Scott will once again present the charity match, with ITV’s Dermot O’Leary hosting the live show.

During half-time, Soccer Aid co-creator Robbie Williams, 48, will perform his 1997 hit song “Angels” to a crowd of 60,000 fans.

He said: “I already know that it is going to be one of the most special nights of my career – and I want as many of you as possible to be part of it.”

TV personality and comedian Brooker has said he is “proud” to be the first physically disabled Soccer Aid player, ahead of the match.

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“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,” he continued.

Soccer Aid 2022 will take place at The London Stadium on 12 June, and the match will also air live on ITV and STV.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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