Wayne Rooney in the Manchester United dugout at Old Trafford

Reds legend returning to manage Soccer Aid team

Thursday 20 August 2020 21:30

Manchester United and England’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney will manage England at Soccer Aid for Unicef this September.

The match takes place at Old Trafford, which means Rooney will take the Three Lions’ hot-seat in what would usually be the United home dugout. Fans will be able to watch Rooney’s managerial debut, live on ITV in September.

Soccer Aid for Unicef stalwart Sam Allardyce becomes England co-manager alongside Rooney, with David Seaman as goalkeeping coach. Wayne’s involvement in the world’s biggest annual charity match has been agreed with the full permission and support of Derby County Football Club.

Soccer Aid to return to Old Trafford next month


The world's biggest charity football match will take place behind closed doors at Old Trafford.

On returning to Old Trafford to manage his country, Rooney said: “Taking part in Soccer Aid for Unicef is something I have wanted to do for many years. Previously, I have never been able to make the dates work, but this year was obviously different. I was enormously proud to be asked to manage the England team and although there will be no fans at the match, it is always special to go back to Old Trafford.

“Simply representing your country is always a huge honour – and this game is no different. I’m looking forward to working with Sam and David. Yes, the players and I want to win the match but the real victory is helping to raise millions of pounds for Unicef. This year, every £1 donated is automatically trebled thanks to the UK Government and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, so I would ask people to donate if they can.

“I’d like to thank Derby County Football Club for giving me special dispensation to take part in the match. Soccer Aid for Unicef is a show that we’ve always tried to watch as a family over the years. The names taking part this year will make it one of the most exciting to date, so I hope everyone at home tunes in.”

The 2020 match had been originally scheduled for Sunday 6 June. However, in light of the coronavirus outbreak and for the health and safety of all involved, a decision was taken to postpone the game until it was safe to reconvene. The exact date and time of the match will be announced by ITV in the coming week.

The well-being of everyone connected to Soccer Aid for Unicef is of paramount importance. The game’s resumption is happening in line with UK Government advice and stringent health and safety protocols, which will be overseen by Prenetics – the same testing company being used by professional football.

The Rooney managerial appointment follows the first group of players who will take part in September’s behind-closed-doors’ game. Jason Manford, Joel Dommett, Santan Dave, James Bay, Kelly Smith MBE, Patrice Evra, David James and Lianne Sanderson will make their Soccer Aid for Unicef debuts alongside returning stars Yaya Touré, Wes Brown, Katie Chapman, Robbie Keane, Olly Murs, Kem Cetinay, Marvin Humes and Joe Wicks. More names will be announced in due course.

An all-star England team will take on the Soccer Aid World XI FC with both teams featuring household names from the worlds of sport and entertainment. This year’s teams of celebrities and former professional footballers will ‘Play for Generation Covid’, to help stop the spread of coronavirus and limit the impact on children’s lives.

Watch Rooney scoring United's Goal of the Decade at Old Trafford.

Coronavirus is the biggest global crisis for vulnerable children and families since the Second World War. Every day for the next six months, 6,000 more children could die as coronavirus pushes national health systems to breaking point. A whole generation of children is at risk.

Children around the world need the public’s support now more than ever, so Soccer Aid for Unicef has pulled out all the stops to ensure the match can go ahead. This year’s teams of celebrities and former professional footballers will ‘Play for Generation Covid’, to help stop the spread of coronavirus and limit the impact on children’s lives.

Since 2006, Soccer Aid for Unicef has raised over £38million to help give children all over the world a childhood full of play. Soccer Aid for Unicef 2019 raised a record breaking £7.9million. The match was the brainchild of pop megastar Robbie Williams.

The programme, being produced by Initial, will be broadcast exclusively live on ITV and STV. The exact date and time of the programme will be announced by the broadcaster in due course.

To find out more, including how you can donate, please visit SoccerAid.org.uk.