Soccer Aid 2023: why is Lee Mack not playing for England - when did he switch sides for UNICEF match?

Lee Mack will once again feature in the World XI Soccer Aid team despite being born and raised in England.

Soccer Aid will once again return this summer and is set to be played in Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground in June. Jill Scott has been announced as the first female England Soccer Aid captain and will lead a star-studded team with Chelsea Boss Emma Hayes co-managing the side with actress Vicky McClure (Line of Duty).

Joining Scott in the England side will be former Lioness teammate Karen Carney, Champions League winner Gary Cahill and the ex-Arsenal and England international Jack Wilshire.

Once again, the eight-time Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt will be captaining the World XI and his coach will be the former Republic of Ireland footballer Robbie Keane. Joining them in the Rest of the World side will be Love Island winner Kem Cetinay and the Dragon’s Den businessman Steven Bartlett.

Also, taking part is comic Lee Mack - but despite being born and raised on Merseyside, the 53-year-old will be turning out for the Rest of the World.

Here’s why...

Why is Lee Mack playing for the World XI?

Mack is a veteran of Soccer Aid at this point, and has featured in each of the fixture’s last four editions.

Long-time viewers will be aware, however, that he used to turn out for England’s squad - although penalty misses in 2018 and 2019 hardly left the Not Going Out star with the fondest memories of his time with the Three Lions.

During an appearance on popular BBC Show Who Do You Think You Are? in 2018, Mack discovered that he is of Irish heritage, and as such, joined up with the World XI last year.

The Would I Lie To You? star put in a much-improved performance too, scoring the third goal in a 3-0 win for his new side at the Etihad Stadium.

In a similar situation to Mack are Cetinay and Bartlett. Cetinay was born and raised in Essex but is of Turkish Cypriot descent and has been passionate about forming a bridge between his tradition-conscious family and the younger generations.

British Businessman Bartlett is now best known for his appearances on Dragon’s Den as well as his podcast Diary of a CEO, but was born in Botswana to an English father and Nigerian mother. At the age of two, the 30-year-old moved to Plymouth where he grew up and attended secondary school. More names are set to be announced in due course for the World XI squad.