Kerri-Ann Roper, PA Entertainment Editor
British musician Stormzy will make his Soccer Aid debut when he steps on to the pitch as the manager of the England side, it has been announced.
The Vossi Bop singer will be assisted by former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, Chelsea women boss Emma Hayes and Line Of Duty star Vicky McClure, who are all part of the England management team for the charity event.
Stormzy (29) said: “I’m a massive football fan, so getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to manage England is a dream come true. The fact it’s at Old Trafford, and I’m a Manchester United fan, makes it extra special.
“Growing up, I have such good memories of watching Soccer Aid and all the star names who have taken part over the years. It’s a great family occasion, so come along and support us on Sunday June 11.
“I like to explore opportunities outside of music and when this one came across my desk I was delighted. This is an opportunity to show the world my football mind!
“I’m taking this really seriously. I don’t want the players saying they loved my last album – seriously, it’s just about winning the game for me. I’ll put the fire in them. They need to call me ‘boss’ or ‘gaffer’, though – not Mike!”
The grime star added: “If I could pick any player to play for me, it would be Wayne Rooney, all day long – it would be an honour to manage him.
“My other footballing heroes growing up were Ruud van Nistelrooy and Paul Scholes – but I would have played like Rio Ferdinand had I ever turned pro! I’ve got a really good coaching team with me and if we’re struggling with 10 minutes to go, I’ll call my mate Jose!”
The Unicef charity event, being held on June 11th at Old Trafford, will also see former footballer and West Ham FC Academy coach, Zavon Hines, who is also a friend of Stormzy’s, providing guidance from the dugout.
Previously announced names for the Unicef England squad include Sir Mo Farah, former England footballer Jill Scott, who will captain the side, TV presenter Paddy McGuinness, singer Tom Grennan, singer Liam Payne and former footballer turned pundit Gary Neville.
The England team will face the World XI FC team, which will be captained by Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt and has boxer and Love Island star Tommy Fury, comedian Lee Mack, TV presenter Mo Gilligan and reality TV star Kem Cetinay among its line-up.
Martin Compston and Robbie Keane are both part of the World XI Management Team, with more managerial signings to be announced.
The line-up of neither team is complete, with more names expected to still be announced.
Soccer Aid for Unicef 2023 takes place on Sunday 11th June at Manchester United’s Old Trafford.