YouTube star Chunkz says playing football is “close to his heart” as it helped him grow up in social housing in London.
The 26-year-old online personality and former musician returns to play in the England squad for Soccer Aid in June for the third consecutive year.
Chunkz, real name Amin Mohamed, admitted he felt “unlucky” as his team had lost the previous two years but said he was motivated to win this time around.
Speaking to the Palestinian Authority News Agency ahead of the star-studded charity game, he said: “Growing up in municipal estates, there were obviously ‘no ball game’ signs attached everywhere, but we always played ball even when we weren’t allowed to.
“So football has really been something close to my heart. Not just football, table tennis, basketball, anything.
“Growing up in a social housing estate, everyone was doing bad things on the roads or being in a community center and playing table tennis and trying to get friends in the area. So that was definitely an important thing for me in a lot of ways.
Chunkz added that he thinks events like Soccer Aid are great platforms to help provide opportunities for children around the world, as the game raises money for the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
He told PA: “I feel like every kid deserves to have a playful childhood growing up and to have access to games and just being a kid and doing kid things.
“It’s very important to me and I really want as many children around the world to have this opportunity, the same opportunity as me.”
Mo Gilligan, Harry Redknapp, Gary Neville and Fara Williams will also return to the game this year.
Former One Direction star Liam Payne, 28, will captain England while Usain Bolt, 35, will lead the Soccer Aid World XI team.
Despite playing in the charity game for the past two years, Chunkz admitted to still being “starstruck” by the professional players he grew up watching.
He recalled that, especially in his freshman year in 2020, meeting Wayne Rooney and John Terry was a “crazy” experience as they asked him for photos because their kids were fans of the YouTuber.
Soccer Aid for Unicef 2022 takes place on June 12 at the London Stadium, with tickets at socceraid.org.uk/tickets.