Liam Payne hopes he has “big enough personality” to captain Soccer Aid

Liam Payne hopes he won’t make a fool of himself in his Soccer Aid debut, adding he “has a lot to offer” to follow in the footsteps of his One Direction bandmates.

The England v Soccer Aid World XI game will feature a host of famous faces including debuts from Alex Brooker, Lucien Laviscount and Arsene Wenger.

Former One Direction singer Payne will captain England while Usain Bolt will lead the Soccer Aid World XI team.

Payne, 28, told the PA news agency: “I hope I’m a big enough personality to pull it off because football won’t be able to help me.

“It’s a fun, fun game and it’s actually my debut, a lot of my bandmates have already played so I feel like I have quite a lot to offer as well.

“I wouldn’t say I was the worst footballer in the band, but I wasn’t far off.”

Bandmate Niall Horan feuded with his One Direction co-star Louis Tomlinson in the 2016 tournament before returning in the 2019 match.

Payne said he was “anxious and excited” about the June 12 game and hoped he was “worthy” of the captain’s armband.

“I’ve watched a lot of football games over the years and you’re always like, ‘I could hit that shot’ or ‘I could do that,’ so for me it’s a small chance to cosplay in a way that’s a part of it.

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World XI’s Usain Bolt lifts the trophy after winning the SoccerAid match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester in 2021 (Martin Rickett / PA)

“I started training and I was already training too hard, my coach told me.

“I’m very excited. I’m a person who gets way too involved when I get involved and I think a lot of my team would say that about me.

“So I really put my heart and soul into it. I hope when we get to that I’m worthy of that armband,” he said.

Martin Compston, Mo Gilligan, Harry Redknapp, Gary Neville, Fara Williams and Chunkz will also return to the pitch in 2022.

“Everyone I’ve met so far has been really, really nice so it seems like a really good team and we all know why we’re here and it’s a very, very important thing, super grateful.


Soccer Aid World XI’s Martin Compston in action during the 2019 game at Stamford Bridge, London (Nigel French/PA)

“I hope I’m not making a fool of myself and I just hope that we do everything we can for the cause and remember the real reason we’re all on this pitch,” he said.

Payne added that Soccer Aid co-creator Robbie Williams, who will perform his 1997 hit ballad Angels in front of 60,000 fans at halftime, is his “hero”.

“He was the reason I started singing,” he said.

Since its inception in 2006, Soccer Aid has raised more than £60m for Unicef ​​which helps help children worldwide.

Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2022 takes place at London Stadium on 12 June, tickets available at Liam Payne hopes he has “big enough personality” to captain Soccer Aid

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