The worlds of soccer and showbiz will collide once more for Soccer Aid for Unicef 2021.
The world’s biggest celebrity charity football match has given us some memorable moments over the years; Woody Harrelson scoring a match-winning penalty, Zinedine Zidane nutmegging Damian Lewis, Jose Mourinho stepping onto the pitch from the dugout to foul a counter-attacking Olly Murs and Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno delightfully dinking David Seaman. Here’s hoping for many more.
Dermot O’Leary and Alex Scott will present the proceedings live from the Etihad Stadium, the home of the recently crowned Premier League Champions, Manchester City.
As always, there will be both new and familiar famous faces lacing up their boots.
Here are the current team sheets.
Our 10th for @unicef_uk
— Soccer Aid (@socceraid) June 8, 2021
Chart-topping singer-songwriter Olly Murs first played for the England Team at Soccer Aid in 2010 having been personally invited by its co-founder, Robbie Williams. The two first met when Williams joined him for a duet in the final of The X Factor in 2009, in which Murs came second.
It will be Murs’ sixth Soccer Aid appearance but as it stands he has zero goals to his name (and that’s despite being gifted a couple of open goals). Will this be the year he finally gets on the score sheet?
— Soccer Aid (@socceraid) June 9, 2021
Ex-England and Premier League footballer Jamie Redknapp spent the bulk of his career playing for Liverpool and lifted an FA Cup with the side in 1995.
This year’s edition will be a family affair for Redknapp, playing against his own father, Harry, who manages the World XI.
Chunkz, real name Amin Mohamed, is a YouTube sensation who made his name posting rap battles, pranks and challenges. He now presents Sky Sports’ #SaturdaySocial and won the MOBO Best Media Personality for his on-screen antics in 2020.
He played in last year’s edition alongside his best friend and rap collaborator, Yung Filly, and together they captured its true spirit in the moment of the match. When Filly levelled the scoreline with a cool and composed half volley, he celebrated the dream come true by jumping on Chunkz in the dugout.
Mark Wright was one of the original cast members (and biggest flirts) of ITV’s The Only Way Is Essex, and is now a TV personality and presenter. Before his career in showbiz, he played semi-professional football.
After making a debut to remember for England in 2016, scoring a free kick and being named Man of the Match in a 3-2 win, he became a regular returner and will be making his fourth appearance this year.
Ashley Cole was considered by most to be the best left-back in the world at his peak, winning Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League titles with Arsenal and Chelsea.
He is also England’s most-capped full-back with over 100 caps.
Making her debut is Liv Cooke, a professional football freestyler who became the youngest ever world champion at the 2017 Super Ball. She also holds five world records, the most recent being for ‘Most keep-ups whilst skipping in 30 seconds’ with 62.
She’s known for her around-the-worlds but can she beat a team from around the world?
— Liv Cooke (@LivCookefs) June 9, 2021
Kelly Smith MBE
Ex-Arsenal and England Ladies forward, Kelly Smith, will be pulling on the white shirt again having made her Soccer Aid debut for the side last year.
As England’s record top scorer with 46 to her name, Smith will be a major goal threat for the home team.
David James MBE
Aside from his 53 England caps, former goalie David James is fourth on the list of all-time Premier League appearances, having featured in 572 matches for several teams. One of them being Manchester City, so this year’s Soccer Aid will be a homecoming of sorts.
He is also second on the list of keepers with the most clean sheets, and he’ll no doubt be looking to add another to that record.
Emile Heskey played up front for England in every age group from the under-16s. He also made more than 500 appearances in the Football League and Premier League over his 18-year career.
James Arthur first rose to fame after winning The X Factor in 2012, his winning cover of ‘Impossible’ going on to sell over 2.5 million copies worldwide. To this day, it is the most successful winner’s single in the history of the show.
He has since released several successful records, including ‘Back from the Edge’ and ‘You’.
— Soccer Aid (@socceraid) June 9, 2021
Fara Williams MBE
Despite living homeless for six years, former footballer Fara Williams ended up winning titles for several top flight teams (including both Liverpool and Everton, despite the two being fierce rivals).
She also reached 172 England caps before her retirement, making her the current highest capped player of all time.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville was a one-club man and helped win them a total of 20 trophies including eight Premier Leagues.
He is now a renowned pundit on Sky Sports.
Another of Manchester United’s one-club men, Paul Scholes was once heralded by Barcelona legend Xavi as the best central midfielder of his time.
He won even more trophies for United than Neville, a total of 25, as well as 66 England caps.
Both England and Manchester United’s all-time top goal scorer, Wayne Rooney is a footballing legend. He won 16 trophies for the club and a host of individual awards.
Rooney managed the England side to a defeat in Soccer Aid 2020, but this year he will take to the field for the first time since his retirement.
Comedian Peter Kay launched Paddy McGuinness’ career, inviting him to appear on his programme That Peter Kay Thing, among others. He has since toured the UK doing stand-up and presented shows across Channel 4, ITV and the BBC.
He is best known for his nine year stint as host of ITV’s Take Me Out, but McGuinness is a keen footballer and Soccer Aid veteran. Let the ball see the back of the net.
Another ex-Manchester City player who will feel at home on the turf, Micah Richards won a Premier League and FA Cup during his 10 years at the club.
He now regularly shares his expertise as a pundit on Sky Sports.
David Seaman MBE
With David Seaman at the helm, England are in safe hands.
He had a long and successful career as a goalkeeper for Arsenal, winning both domestic and international honours, as well as winning 75 caps for England.
Soccer Aid World XI FC
Tom Grennan first rose to fame when he featured on Chase & Status’ single All Goes Wrong. He is now a chart-topping singer-songwriter in his own right.
A self-proclaimed “huge Man United fan,” Grennan will be looking forward to sharing the pitch with some of his heroes. Here’s hoping it All Goes Right.
Love Island winner Kem Cetinay wrote himself into the Soccer Aid hall of fame in 2019 by scoring one of the best goals in its history, cutting past John Terry and whipping one into the top corner.
He had a quieter game last time around, but there are plenty of other ex-professionals there this year ready for a rinsing.
What.A.Goal@KemCetinay steps inside Terry, YES Terry, and curls the ball into the far corner
England - Soccer Aid World XI
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 16, 2019
The aptly named greatest sprinter of all time is an eight-time Olympic gold medallist and world record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 metres relay. Good luck to the England players tracking his runs.
Bolt captained the World XI to victory in 2019, beating England on penalties.
BOLT IS BACK @usainbolt will be lining up-top once again for the Soccer Aid World XI FC this year
— Soccer Aid (@socceraid) June 10, 2021
Roman Kemp has presented on Capital FM since 2014 and currently hosts their breakfast show.
He survived for weeks in the jungle placing third in I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2019, but will he thrive for the full 90 at the Etihad?
Ore Oduba made a name for himself presenting BBC’s Newsround and has since presented other shows for the broadcaster.
He also won Strictly Come Dancing in 2016, but we’re yet to see if his fancy footwork translates to the field.
One of the best and most attacking left backs in the history of the game, Roberto Carlos spent 11 extraordinarily successful seasons at Real Madrid and won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002.
Carlos played in the winning World XI in 2019.
Patrice Evra is a former French professional footballer and served as captain for both the national team and Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign.
As we all know, Evra “loves this game,” so it’s no surprise to see him on the line-up again.
SOCCER AID September 4th with my friends ⚽ On my first time last year we broke the record records made to be broken so I’m counting on you guys @usainbolt don’t do me like this please.. we play on the same team Tickets in bio @socceraid #ilovethisgame #positive4evra pic.twitter.com/3ZVuQGypfp
— Patrice Evra (@Evra) June 9, 2021
Harry Redknapp is both a former player and manager, but achieved most as manager including an FA Cup for Portsmouth and guiding Tottenham into the Champions League.
As a manager he was renowned for his recruitment, but he can’t wheel and deal his way to victory in this one.