The Three Lions will be captained by Liam Payne for the first time… and the One Direction legend has kept the team’s sprits high by throwing a ‘bonding exercise’ party in their hotel on Saturday evening, with Jamie Carragher among those in attendance.
The England team, which is made up of football legends and celebrities, enjoyed karaoke and a few laughs ahead of the game. Soccer Aid is raising money for UNICEF – a charity committed to providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children across the world.
The hotel party was live streamed by Carragher to his 1.6million Instagram followers. Players from the World XI were also in attendance as the famous faces – who are giving up their time to raise vital money for UNICEF – enjoyed a well-earned get together.
“This is a great bonding exercise, isn’t it?” Carragher asked Payne during his live stream, to which the singer cheekily replied: “This is part of it – keeping everyone together, keep everyone’s heads up – and we’ll deal with the hangover in the morning.”
Players from both teams have been training together throughout the week as they prepare for the big charity game. The World XI enjoyed an emphatic victory against England in the most recent edition of Soccer Aid, winning 3-0 at the Etihad last September.
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Payne will make his Soccer Aid debut at the London Stadium and is hoping to make the difference for England. “It doesn’t get much better than captaining England in Soccer Aid while fundraising for UNICEF,” said the X Factor graduate earlier this year.
“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 honour and I’m determined to lead us to victory!”
Payne is one of many celebrities representing England on Sunday evening. Others include musicians Aitch and Tom Grennan, actors David Harewood and Damian Lewis, YouTuber Chunkz and four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah.
England have also drafted in several Premier League heroes – including Carragher, Gary Neville, Joe Cole and Teddy Sheringham, David James and Stewart Downing. Former Lionesses Fara Williams, Eni Aluko and Anita Asante will also feature at the London Stadium.
Bolt’s World XI team contains five World Cup winners: Cafu, Andrea Pirlo, Roberto Carlos, Carli Lloyd and Heather O’Reilly. They’ve also got the Premier League winners Patrice Evra, Petr Cech and Dimitar Berbatov to call on, as well as the great Andriy Shevchenko.
In terms of celebrities, the World XI have persuaded comedians Mo Gilligan, Lee Mack and Munya Chawawa, reality TV stars Kem Cetinay and Steven Bartlett, actors Mark Strong and Martin Compston, musician Chelcee Grimes and others to join in the fun.