It’s not very often you get to witness the strange sight of Brazilian superstar Rivaldo lining up alongside Line of Duty star Martin Compston – but tonight’s Soocer Aid tie will give viewers the chance to see exactly that.
The annual charity football match between teams from England and the Rest of the World returns this evening, with a full house expected at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium for the tie.
As ever, the two teams feature an exciting mix of former pros and celebrities, with a whole host of returning faces and a fair few debutants thrown in for good measure.
- Check out the Soccer Aid 2021 kick-off time tonight
After spending last year’s match on the touchline, Wayne Rooney takes to the field tonight as one of many first-timers for the England squad, with fellow Manchester United legends Gary Neville and Paul Scholes also making their Soccer Aid bows.
Meanwhile legendary sprinter Usain Bolt returns to captain the Rest of the World squad, with ex-Manchester City pair Nigel De Jong and Pablo Zabaleta among the debutants.
However, the Rest of the World will be without Capital FM presenter Roman Kemp, with the former I’m A Celebrity star forced to pull out after returning a positive COVID test.
The previous three encounters have all gone to penalties (and rather predictably England have lost two shoot-outs on the bounce) so expect this to be another close tie. Read on for everything you need to know about who will be lining up for each side.
Who is playing in Soccer Aid 2021?
England Soccer Aid team line-up
Sven Goran Eriksen (Manager)
The former English national team manager – who led the side at two World Cups and one European Championships – will be taking the managerial reigns this time out. The Swede will be assisted by popstar and Soccer Aid stalwart Robbie Williams, former Manchester City defended and popular pundit Micah Richards and ex-Arsenal and England Goalkeeper David Seaman.
Olly Murs (Popstar)
Since making his Soccer Aid debut in 2010, former X Factor contestant Murs has been a regular fixture in the England side – and this year he’ll be captaining the team for the third time.
Wayne Rooney (Ex-pro)
England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer managed the England side at last year’s Soccer Aid, but this time he’ll be taking to the pitch for the first time – can he add to his impressive tally of career goals.
James Arthur (Popstar)
Another X-Factor alumni, the singer is among the England debutants for this year’s event – can he help stop the losing run?
Paul Scholes (Ex-pro)
The Manchester United legend won 66 caps for England before prematurely retiring from international duty in 2004 – but will be pulling on the Three Lions shirt once again in his Soccer Aid debut.
Gary Neville (Ex-pro)
Another Soccer Aid debutant, the former Manchester United captain is following in the footsteps of brother Phil by playing in the match. Since he retired from playing in 2011 he’s become one of the most prominent pundits in the sport – but can he do the talking on the pitch?
Paddy McGuiness (TV presenter)
McGuiness has recently started as the new host of long-running BBC sports quiz A Question of Sport, but he’ll have a more practical sporting role in Soccer Aid – making his seventh appearance in the England side.
Jamie Redknapp (Ex-pro)
The former Liverpool and England midfielder is a veteran of Soccer Aid – and he’ll be looking to get one over his dad Harry, who is managing the Rest of the World XI for the fourth time this year.
The popular YouTuber made his Soccer Aid debut in 2020, and this time around he’ll be hoping to make amends for his decisive penalty miss in last year’s shoutout.
Fara Williams (Ex-pro)
Another first-timer in the England Soccer Aid squad, Williams managed an impressive 172 caps and 40 goals for her country in an illustrious playing career that saw her turn out for Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal and Reading.
Mark Wright (Reality TV star)
The TOWIE star has been a common feature of Soccer Aid down the years – and will be looking to repeat the heroics of 2016, when he scored a stunning free-kick and picked up the Man of the Match award.
Liv Cooke (Football freestyler)
A five-time world record holder and former freestyle world champion, Cooke will be making her debut at this year’s Soccer Aid having been forced to pull out with an injury last time – let’s hope it’s been worth the wait.
Kelly Smith (Ex-pro)
The former England and Arsenal striker will be making her second successive Soccer Aid appearance, and given her standing as the record goalscorer for England she’s a good bet to net a goal or two.
David James (Ex-pro)
The former Liverpool and Portsmouth goalkeeper made his Soccer Aid debut between the sticks in 2020 and looks set to be England’s starting goalie again this time around.
The Manchester-born rapper will be making his first Soccer Aid appearance – and at 21 years old he’s the youngest member of the England squad.
Max Whitlock (Olympic gymnast)
Fresh from winning his third Olympic Gold at the Tokyo games this Summer, Whitlock will be taking to the football pitch for his Soccer Aid debut – but is he as effective on a football field as he is on a pommel horse?
Jamie Carragher (Ex-pro)
The Liverpool legend and pundit will be making his fourth Soccer Aid performance this year. He’s got one win and two losses to his name so far, and will no doubt be hoping to redress the balance this time.
Joel Dommett (Comedian and presenter)
The Masked Singer presenter made his Soccer Aid debut in the 2020 match, and will be aiming to record his first victory at the second time of asking.
Sir Mo Farah (Olympic runner)
The legendary long-distance runner captained the England side in 2019 and will be lining up for his third time this year – but can he add another Soccer Aid medal to his four Olympic golds?
Lee Mack (Comedian)
The popular stand-up and Would I Lie To You team captain missed a penalty in the shootout last year, and will be taking to the field for his fourth consecutive Soccer Aid this time around.
Shaun Wright-Phillips (Ex-pro)
The former Manchester City winger is another ex-pro to be getting their first taste of Soccer Aid at this year’s match.
James Bay (Singer)
Singer Bay was a first-timer last time out – but his penalty goal in the decisive shoot-out wasn’t quite enough to deliver England a victory in his debut.
Rest of the World Soccer Aid team line-up
Harry Redknapp (Manager)
Redknapp might be one of the best-known English managers of his generation, but he’s been a regular coach of the Rest of the World XI at Soccer Aid – and will be taking to the touchline for the fourth time in a row this year. His assistants will be tennis coach Judy Murray and former Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane.
Usain Bolt (Olympic sprinter)
The world’s fastest man has never hidden his love for the beautiful game – even attempting to make it as a pro after finishing his athletics career – and will be returning to skipper the Rest of the World team for the third time after sitting out last year’s match.
Tom Grennan (Popstar)
Little Bit of Love singer-songwriter Grennan will be making his Soccer Aid debut this year – qualifying for the Rest of the World team due to his Irish heritage.
Kem Cetinay (Reality TV star)
Former Love Island star Kem Cetinay has acquitted himself well in his two previous Soccer Aid appearances – scoring from the spot in two successive penalty shoot-outs. He qualifies for the Rest of the World team due to his Turkish heritage.
Ore Oduba (Radio and TV presenter)
Former Strictly champ Oduba was the substitute goalie for the Rest of the World last year, and looks set to deputise for Shay Given once again this time around. He qualifies for the Rest of the World team due to his Nigerian heritage.
Roberto Carlos (Ex-pro)
Considered one of the greatest full-backs of all time, the World Cup-winning Brazilian and Real Madrid legend returns to the Soccer Aid fold for the second time after sitting out last year’s match.
Patrice Evra (Ex-pro)
Another talented full-back, former France international Evra was a mainstay of the Manchester United side between 2006 and 2014, and has since moved into punditry (not to mention bizarre Instagram videos). He will be making his second consecutive Soocer Aid appearance.
Nigel De Jong (Ex-pro)
The former Manchester City and Netherlands midfielder will be making his first Soccer Aid appearance this year – following in the footsteps of fellow Dutchmen such as Clarence Seedorf and Jaap Stam.
Martin Compston (Actor)
The Line of Duty star will be hoping to stay on the pitch for longer than he appeared in the ongoing TV drama Vigil. The Scotsman will be making his fourth appearance for the Rest of the World Team.
Pablo Zabaleta (Ex-pro)
Ex-Argentina International Zabaleta was a stalwart of Manchester City’s defence between 2008 and 2017, but this will be his first time taking to the field for Soccer Aid.
Chelcee Grimes (Popstar)
The singer-songwriter and TV presenter has a great deal of footballing experience compared to many of the other participants – having played professionally for Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Tranmere Rovers and Fulham, in addition to current club Merseyrail Ladies FC. She made her Soccer Aid debit in 2020.
Shay Given (Ex-pro)
Irish goalie will be between the sticks for the second year in a row – and will be hoping to recreate the form that made him such a reliable Premier League keeper for the likes of Newcastle United, Manchester City and Aston Villa.
Another real legend of the game, Rivaldo won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and lined up for a host of massive club sides in his career, most notably including a five-year stint at Barcelona. This will be his first experience of Soccer Aid – and he’ll no doubt be looking to get his name on the scoresheet.
Dermot Kennedy (Popstar)
The Irish singer-songwriter had a very impressive Soccer Aid debut last year – netting a penalty in the shoot-out and being named Man of the Match. Can he repeat his performance this year?
Parents singer Yungblud – who is representing the Rest of the World due to his American heritage – is another Soccer Aid debutant.
Big Zuu (Rapper)
Another first-timer, the rapper and Big Zuu’s Big Eats presenter qualifies for the Rest of the World as his mother is from Sierra Leone.
- For the latest news and expert tips on getting the best deals this year, take a look at our Black Friday 2021 and Cyber Monday 2021 guides.
Soccer Aid 2021 commentators
The lead commentator for this year’s event has not been revealed – but it’s possible that Clive Tyldsley might be replaced after the veteran commentator came under fire for comments made during last year’s event. We’ll let you know when we hear any more information.
Soccer Aid 2021 presenters
Dermot O’Leary hosts the event – as he has done since 2010 – and this year he’s joined by a Soccer Aid debutant in the shape of popular pundit Alex Scott, who will be reporting from the touchline throughout the evening.
Meanwhile, TV and radio presenter Maya Jama will be returning as a pundit, after proving hugely popular with viewers in her first appearance last year.
Soccer Aid will air on ITV on Saturday 4th September 2021. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.