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Steven Bartlett determined World XI team will win Soccer Aid

Steven Bartlett will play for the Soccer Aid World XI team in this year’s match (Daniel Hambury/PA)
Steven Bartlett will play for the Soccer Aid World XI team in this year’s match (Daniel Hambury/PA)

Businessman and Dragon’s Den investor Steven Bartlett has said his drive for success does not stop short of the football pitch, as he is desperate for his team to win Soccer Aid 2022.

Bartlett, 29, will play in the star-studded football match for the first time as part of the Soccer Aid World XI team.

Among the famous faces taking to the pitch at the London Stadium will be Usain Bolt, Liam Payne and Alex Brooker.

Speaking to the PA news agency ahead of the match, Bartlett said: “I’m very, very competitive, so I’m very focused on doing a good job myself, but also as a team, I really want to make sure that we win.”

Bartlett also said he was looking forward to playing against his friend and former One Direction member Payne, 28, who will captain the England team.

“Liam Payne is one of my really, really good friends, who’s actually going to be on the other team. So that’ll be interesting.

“It’ll be an extra layer of competition, then hopefully I’ll get a good tackle on him or something – so I can roast him for 10 years,” he said.

He also said he is excited to play alongside Bolt, who will be captaining the World XI team as he returns to the London Stadium a decade on from his gold medal wins at the 2012 London Olympics.

“Usain Bolt has been a huge source of inspiration for me, his achievements in the Olympics and, really, as a man as well, over the last decade,” said Bartlett.

Regardless of his teammates and those he will be playing against, who include fellow first-time player Lucien Laviscount, Bartlett was clear he is determined to win.

Soccer Aid
Lee Mack will return to the pitch to play alongside Steven Bartlett in the Soccer Aid World XI team (Martin Rickett/PA)

He added: “You know, it’s all fun and games, and I know it’s a great cause, but at the end of the day I still really want to make sure that we win.”

Bartlett has started playing as part of an eight-a-side football team, alongside his regular six-days-a-week gym routine, in order to prepare for the match.

He explained part of his drive for wanting to get involved with the match, which raises money for humanitarian aid charity Unicef, comes from playing football when he was younger.

“I wanted to do it because I’ve played football since I was a very young kid, I played for my county, I played for Devon, and then I’ve played football pretty much ever since, but obviously not professionally or anything like that,” he told PA.

“It really is like a dream come true because I didn’t make it as a football player when I was younger, so to get to play in a big stadium in front of lots of people is, I think, every young kid’s dream.”

Players making their return to the Soccer Aid pitch for 2022 include Martin Compston, Mo Gilligan, Harry Redknapp, Gary Neville, Fara Williams and Chunkz.

Since its creation in 2006, Soccer Aid has raised more than £60 million for Unicef, which helps to provide aid to children worldwide.

Soccer Aid for Unicef 2022 takes place on June 12 at the London Stadium, with tickets at socceraid.org.uk/tickets.

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