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Soccer Aid for Unicef

  • Episode:

    1 of 1

  • Title:


  • Transmission (TX):

    Sun 06 Sep 2020

  • TX Confirmed


  • Time

    6.30pm - 10.00pm

  • Week:

    Week 37 2020 : Sat 05 Sep - Fri 11 Sep

  • Channel:


  • Published:

    Wed 26 Aug 2020



Live from Old Trafford, Dermot O’Leary and Kirsty Gallacher host the pre-match build up and all the action from the biggest celebrity football match of the year - Soccer Aid for Unicef 2020. 

An England team of celebrities and footballing legends including Wayne Rooney, Olly Murs and Joel Dommett go head to head with the Soccer Aid World XI featuring Harry Redknapp, Jason Manford and Mo Gilligan, all in aid of leading children’s charity Unicef.

The world's biggest charity football match, Soccer Aid for Unicef, returns live and exclusive to ITV, tonight from 6.30pm, with a host of famous faces. England Managers Wayne Rooney and Sam Allardyce take on Soccer Aid World XI managers Harry Redknapp and Bryan Robson with the aim to entertain the nation and raise much needed funds for leading children's charity, Unicef. 

Hoping to bolster his England team, 'Big Sam' recruited England Captain Olly Murs to call on his extensive black book of contacts to get him a 'goal machine' to play in the match. The attached clip, which will air in full in tonight's programme, shows Olly Murs calling on celebrities such as Olivia Colman, Alan Carr, Joel Dommett, Alison Hammond, Warwick Davis, Steph Houghton, Rylan Clark-Neal, and Dolly Parton to ask if they are keen to join the squad. 

To find out who Olly managed to secure to play in the match - and to watch stars including John Bishop, Patrice Evra, Paddy McGuinness, Ashley Cole, Iain Stirling, Katie Chapman, Mo Gilligan and Mark Wright take to the pitch - tune in to ITV tonight from 6.30pm.

Dermot O'Leary - Soccer Aid for Unicef Interview
Are you excited to get up to Manchester and host this year's Soccer Aid for Unicef?
I think it’s going to be different. It’s a very different challenge for us this year. Anyone that watches football is kind of used to watching football now since lockdown and with all the new restrictions. I think the players really strive on the experience of the crowd so it’s going to be really strange for them. But I’m sure we’ll put on a good show.
You are used to presenting without an audience having done so much radio but do you think the footballers and celebrities will miss the supporters? 
I think the pressure is still there for the players to perform well. Anyone who has been involved in or watched the match knows how seriously everyone takes it when they start playing. So I think they’ll want to perform their best and will not want to lose. All the players know there will be millions of people watching from home so they’ll want to do their very best. 
With coronavirus pandemic this year, would you say Soccer Aid for Unicef is more important than ever?  
The money raised at this year’s match goes towards Unicef support children around the world who have been impacted by the pandemic. I think it’s lovely to have these moments to raise awareness and much needed funds. Soccer Aid for Unicef has always had a wonderful family feel about it. Soccer Aid for Unicef has a lovely family feel to it. Hopefully that translates on the telly.  
This is one of the first live entertainment event on ITV since the pandemic, are you proud to be a part of that?
For me, a) I love being apart of Soccer Aid for Unicef and b) I love being a part of and hosting the main charity centrepiece that ITV makes every year. Every year I get a real buzz out of it. I do think, because it’s a charity event, it has a slightly different feel about it - a relaxed, warm feel. One of the wonderful things about working on The X Factor is that you’re working on a show that spans the generations and I think that Soccer Aid for Unicef is very similar to that. As you said, it’s one of the first live entertainment events ITV are producing and I’m proud to be a part of that.
You have continued to make your radio show, and have become a father in lockdown, how have you found the last few months?
I’ve been lucky in a way to have this moment, being able to spend this time with our child. I’ve tried to focus on the positives, I’ve continued to work on the radio, but I am acutely aware it’s been very tough on some people. It has definitely had its challenges. I’m not a particularly nervous person and I’m good at spending time on my own but I’m not going to lie, it has been unsettling. But for the most part, it’s been lovely for us to have this time with our little bubba.
Out of this year's signings who do you think is the player to watch?
For me, I’d say Dermot Kennedy. He played for quiet a good team in Dublin so I’d be interested to see what he’s like. And I’m pleased Locksmith is back. For me, Locksmith is an absolute beast! He is such a nice guy. I follow him on Instagram too and he’s always bench-pressing cows and cars and stuff like that. A beast and so fit!
Is there a professional who you would have loved to see take part in the game?
I’m a big Arsenal fan so of the current squad, I’d have to say Aubameyang. But I’d love to see [Thierry] Henry put on a Soccer Aid for Unicef shirt and take to the pitch.
Wayne Rooney is making his managerial debut in this year’s game managing the England team…
Absolutely. Following in the great steps of Susanna Reid and Bradley Walsh! I’m sure he’ll be intimidated by such illustrious alumni!
If you could be the manager of Soccer Aid World XI, who would want to have on your team and what advice would you give the players?
What I love about Soccer Aid - and don’t get me wrong the footballers and celebrities are really good and I think they’ve got a lot better down the years – but what I tend to say to people who ask me what it’s like, it’s like a normal football match but after 10 minutes, the football pitch is like treacle. Everyone is just a little bit slower! So my advice would be a) be really fit and b) your first touch is really important. You’ve got to have just got to be good on the ball. For me, Martin Compston is the ultimate Soccer Aid player. He is such a good player and if I was Soccer Aid World XI manager, he’d be my Captain.
Would you love to play in the match one day?
I’d love to play, but if I’m honest with you, I’m not sure I’m good enough. I’m not a bad five-a-side player, I can run around a lot. But Rugby and American Football were always the games I was half decent at. I’m a huge Arsenal fan and I love going to watch the matches but when you watch an actual 11-a-side game in a stadium like Old Trafford, you realise it takes quite a lot of skill to kick it from one side of the pitch to the other. It’s actually quite a hard thing to do. Even when you see the penalties – it looks a lot longer to the goal than it looks on television.

You've recently become a Unicef UK Ambassador, how proud are you of that?
I’m lucky enough to have seen the work they have done over the years. It’s one of those charities that you think are far more catered for and far more looked after than they actually are. They do so much work on such little money. Their remit is massive and the fundraising part is so important. Unicef are doing everything they can, in so many challenging environments, to look after children and children’s education. You only need to see in this country over the last few months, how dangerous it is for children to not have an education and the negative impact of that.
Unicef have got an even more important role now and it was a no-brainer when they asked me to get more involved. I’m involved through Soccer Aid for Unicef anyway, I’ve been out to Jordan. I visited this enormous, well city almost as a refugee camp. When I say refugee camp, it’s normal people like you and I who happen to have a war on their doorstep and needed to flee. They didn’t have any choice in the matter and now they are in this incredible place called Zaatari – just in Jordan. There are schools there, shops. For all intents and purposes they’ve created this dwelling in the middle of the desert and Unicef is one of the main charities working there. I’m very humbled and honoured to be an Unicef UK Ambassador.
Why do you think it’s important that every child has the chance to play?  
We do talk so much about education and I do think that education in many ways is the most important thing. Having been around the world I’ve seen a few things and every child has the right to be a child. They have the right to enjoy their childhood rather than it be a struggle when you’re 7 or 8 years old. 

Olly Murs – Soccer Aid for Unicef Interview

How has training been going?
With everything that’s been happening with coronavirus and not being able to go anywhere in lockdown, being able to see everyone again has been really fun. Stepping back out on the football pitch and having everyone together, we feel like kids being let out to go to the park together. It feels even more special to be here with everyone and know it is all for such an important cause helping Unicef support children and families impacted by the coronavirus. I am just so happy that Soccer Aid for Unicef was able to take place, after everything that’s happened this year and we are all focused on raising lots of money, it’s going to be awesome.
What was it like being coached by Wayne Rooney?
It was amazing and on the first day when he arrived, we thought he’s just going to be having fun but he was quite serious. I guess he’s played at the highest level and when you put your name to something like this, it’s your name on the line. He reminds me of Jose Mourinho when he was involved, he had just won a Premier League title and then he was doing Soccer Aid for Unicef and that week he bought his whole team in and all his back room staff. He analysed us and he took it as serious as a Premier League game and I looked in Rooney’s eyes and I could see this is a big deal for him, he’s a born winner.
How has training been going for England?
It’s been a really good vibe. I commend Soccer Aid for Unicef for all the safety precautions they have put in place, it feels different but we all feel very safe.
Who has surprised you most in training?
I have got to say Chunkz, and as soon as the first touch came he plucked it out of the air, he held it up and laid it off and I was like ‘yes, this guy can play’. Yung Fily, you can see he’s played before and has got a bit about him too. Also Kelly Smith and Katie Chapman, they’re great. Also Joel Dommett is tough and he’s one of those annoying players who is always at your feet. I love it because as a Captain you need a player like that who won't give you a moment's rest. The player who’s impressed me the most is Joe Wicks. I think the last few years that we’ve done it, Joe’s always been lacking in confidence but I’ve got to say Joe’s in real contention to start because he’s been fantastic in training, he’s really stepped up this year and I think he’s buzzing.
As the Skipper, what do you bring to the team?
There’s all these different personalities and people and I am in the middle of it, bringing people together and that’s the importance of my role. But the pro’s take over really because who am I to sit in the dressing room and tell people to do this and do that, when someone like Gareth Barry who’s played hundreds of games in the Premier League is sat there! So for me, it’s about motivation and keeping spirits high and positive. Whether you’re on for five minutes or ninety minutes, give it your best. We are all in it together, it doesn’t matter if you put it in the net or if you fall over, you’re here and you’re making the effort for Soccer Aid for Unicef and that’s what is amazing. I like to remind people to not forget why we’re here and genuinely seeing the work that Unicef does, it changes your perspective on why we are here. I was so fortunate to go away to see where the money goes and actually when you see the football academies that I got to see in Kenya and the facilities being created. Seeing where these kids live and everything that Unicef has done for them in their local communities, that for me is the ‘wow’ moment and it reminds us that every pound makes a difference. I know that the money we raise will change children’s lives. And not just abroad, here in the UK as well, especially with everything that is happening in our own back yard at the moment. I think with this pandemic, this might just be the most important Soccer Aid for Unicef yet.
If you could poach any of the Soccer Aid World XI players, who would you choose?
I would probably go with Dave. Purely on the basis that I love his music, I love what he stands for. I loved him in the drama Top Boy. I just really like him as a person and I think he’s just got something really cool about him. And from what the boys are saying, he is a good footballer as well so it would be nice to sit and have a good chat with him and hang out. He’s a fantastic signing for Soccer Aid for Unicef and feels very of the moment.

Dermot Kennedy - Soccer Aid for Unicef Interview

How has training been going so far?
It’s been great, I’ve been struggling slightly physically - like some of the others who haven't exercised in two years. As a musician I spend a lot of time travelling on my own so I love this, after you get off the training pitch and you’ve played a game of football for two hour, you feel so fulfilled - it’s total understanding and camaraderie. I was talking to some of the guys about it and we all feel so comfortable out there, I’m mad in to it. It’s also amazing knowing we’re raising money for such a great cause – helping Unicef support children and families impacted by coronavirus around the world.

Who have you enjoyed training with the most?
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Man United and also Robbie Keane so it’s a bit surreal when you're on the pitch and passing the ball to him. It’s great because everyone here is so nice and kind and understanding. I know I'll look back on this experience in a few days after it’s over and think how brilliant and surreal it’s all been. When I was 18 I started playing a high standard of football and I played with the same school boy team as Robbie Keane in Dublin and it was a crucial part of my life. Football was the most beautiful break for me, it’s just total clarity with no phones, everything goes away. Football is an important part of my life that I don’t get to do so much anymore. A lot of musicians say they feel so free and at peace on stage, I do too but football is that for me as well. 

Dermot O’Leary has picked you as his one to watch....
Ah, really? That's nice. I hope I don’t let him down. It’s a rare name, Dermot, so it’s nice that he exists and has gone through the name difficulties and paved the way for me! At least, thanks to him, people know how to pronounce it now! 

Locksmith - Soccer Aid for Unicef Interview

How has training been going?
Training has been going really well. Everyone has been working really hard. On a personal level it’s been a bit of a battle trying to get over the injury but I think I’m over the worst of it. 
What has been the highlight since training started?
The highlight for me has been getting the band back together, so to speak. Having everyone here together, I’ve made new friends that I didn’t expect. You see all these people on the TV but you don’t know who they really are as people, so I’ve been enjoying getting to know everyone. 
Who are you most looking forward to playing with on Sunday?
I’m looking forward to going up against big Tom Davis! He’s a laugh a minute and I know he’s had a good couple of training sessions so he’s feeling confident! I can’t wait to break that confidence! I'll be making sure I go around him instead of trying to go through him! Also I’m looking forward to playing with Claude Makelele, he’s won everything in the game and I’ve been watching him since I was a kid so it’ll be really good to play alongside him.
Who’s surprised you most in training?
Jason Manford has surprised me in training, although he may not have the legs for it he can do the basics pretty well and in training he scored a terrific goal that came off his shoulder....we’ll call it a volley of some sort [laughs]. That’s the beautiful thing about football, it brings together all walks of life, all races and cultures for one common goal, it’s amazing.
What has it been like being coached by Harry Redknapp?
I love Harry, he knows his players through and through and I love the way he boosts your confidence - so thanks Gaffer. He’s pulled me aside to say we’ve got to get your injury right because we need you, we’re going to need you out there. To hear that from the legend that is Harry Redknapp feels fantastic. 
I feel truly humbled and privileged to be asked to do Soccer Aid for Unicef and trying to help out and make a difference in people’s lives – I take that very seriously. To know that every pound that gets raised will be tripled is an amazing thing and it’s inspiring for everyone involved in Soccer Aid for Unicef. When you see the work that Unicef does, and the impact on children’s lives, they give people a fighting chance with the things in life we can often take for granted.