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Wayne Rooney to come out of retirement to play for England in Soccer Aid

Wayne Rooney Soccer Aid 2021

Wayne Rooney will step out of retirement in September to play in Soccer Aid 2021 when England take on a World XI at the Etihad Stadium.

Derby boss Rooney, 35, was England manager in last year’s Unicef fund-raiser, which the World XI won in a penalty shootout at Old Trafford.

Fara Williams, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes will team up with Rooney, while Micah Richards will join England’s coaching team and Usain Bolt will be back for his third appearance in the celebrity match.

Rooney, England’s all-time record scorer with 53 goals, said: “Pulling on an England shirt is always special, so I’m absolutely delighted to be doing that again in Soccer Aid for Unicef.

“Managing the England team last year was great but being around the players made me want to lace up the boots again – now I’ve got that chance, one last time.”

Harry Redknapp will return as World XI manager and Kelly Smith, Roberto Carlos, Patrice Evra, David James, Ashley Cole, Emile Heskey and Jamie Redknapp are among the former players taking part.

The celebrities include James Arthur, Tom Grennan, Olly Murs, Mark Wright, Paddy McGuinness, Ore Oduba, Kem Cetinay, Liv Cooke, Roman Kemp, Chunkz and Maya Jama as a pundit.

Richards said: “Usain Bolt running at Gary Neville? Rooney out of retirement? Me making my coaching debut. What more do you want? This is going to be so good.”

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Neville added: “Just when I thought my days of being booed by City fans had passed. I’m hoping my hamstrings hold out for more than five minutes, to be honest.”

Since Unicef UK ambassador Robbie Williams co-founded the concept in 2006, Soccer Aid has raised over £47million.

Last year’s game at Old Trafford, which saw the World XI retain their trophy, raised a record-breaking £9.3m.

The money raised this year could help Unicef deliver two billion Covid-19 vaccines to frontline healthcare and social workers and teachers around the world.