Champions League Winner Wes Brown Heads List of Star Sixes Newcomers

Ex-Manchester United defender Wes Brown leads the latest group of recruits for Star Sixes as England complete their ten-man line-up for the inaugural tournament in London.

Brown will join Steven Gerrard’s squad along with former Old Trafford teammates Rio Ferdinand, Phil Neville and Michael Owen.

A five-time Premier League and two-time Champions League winner, Brown made 23 appearances for England and also had spells with Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers.

His inclusion for Star Sixes means that the England team is now ready to go for their three group games, which begin at The O2 Arena on Thursday 13 July against Spain, before fixtures with Auld Enemy Scotland and Mexico over the following two days.

Brown also joins David James, Emile Heskey, Danny Murphy, Lee Hendrie and Paul Merson in Gerrard’s team.

Meanwhile, their Group A rivals Scotland and Mexico have also announced a couple of changes to their sides.

Richard Hughes, an FA Cup winner with Portsmouth, comes into Dominic Matteo’s Tartan Army to replace Neil McCann, who has withdrawn from Star Sixes following his appointment as Dundee manager.  Mexico have also brought in former Querétaro goalkeeper Erubey Cabuto in place of the injured Jorge Campos.

Another name in the latest flurry of announcements that will be familiar to fans in London is former Arsenal ace Julio Baptista.

The Brazilian attacking midfielder, who will be remembered by Gunners fans for bagging four goals in a League Cup quarter final tie against Liverpool, will once again represent the Samba Boys, for whom he played 47 times in total, finding the net on five occasions.

Also coming in to complete a star-studded Brazil squad that features Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Dida, Juliano Belletti, Juninho and Gilberto Silva, is ex-Palmeiras and Benfica midfielder Amaral.

Brazil’s opener is against Alessandro Del Piero’s Italy, who also have a new name in their squad after Simone Perrotta was forced out with injury. In comes ex-Lazio and Atalanta defender Luciano Zauri to become the final Azzurri player, alongside the likes of Fabrizio Ravanelli, Paolo Di Canio and Angelo Di Livio.

Nigeria, who will also play group games against Brazil and Italy, have named their last two players. Goalkeeper Peter Rufai made 65 appearances for the Super Eagles and even scored a goal – a penalty – and will be between the sticks for Jay-Jay Okocha’s team. In front of him will be ex-Fenerbahce defender Uche Okechukwu, who helped Nigeria to win the African Cup of Nations in 1994 and Olympic goal two years later.

There’s yet another former Liverpool face joining Star Sixes with Robert Pires’s France team. Midfielder Bruno Cheyrou moved to Anfield from Lille in 2002 and during four years with the Reds had spells on loan at Marseille and Bordeaux before heading off on a permanent deal with Rennes.

Rangers fans will welcome an appearance of legendary Ibrox midfielder Jorge Albertz. The German international scored a memorable free-kick for the Gers as they beat rivals Celtic in 1997. Albertz is one of two Germany players, alongside Jens Nowotny, confirmed to join Michael Ballack’s side for Star Sixes.

Nowotny spent much of his career in the Bayer Leverkusen defence, while turning out for his country 47 times, including at the 2006 World Cup on home soil.

Germany will take on the French in the opening night at Star Sixes, and both nations will also face games with Group C rivals Denmark, who have also completed their line-up. The Danes have added goalkeeper Jan Hoffman, who spent much of his career with Akademisk Boldklub Gladsaxe, to the side skippered by ex-Bolton Wanderers midfielder Stig Tofting.

Star Sixes promises spectacular action at London’s O2 Arena, and if all those names have whetted your appetite for a great weekend of football, tickets are available to buy online from Ticketmaster or AXS, with prices starting at just £30 for adults and £10 for children.