Sir Mo Farah has said playing at Unicef charity event Soccer Aid is an opportunity for him to “give back” after his “really tough” childhood.
The 40-year-old, who is Britain’s most successful track athlete, revealed in a BBC documentary during July last year how he was brought to the UK from Somalia illegally, having assumed the name of another child.
The four-time Olympic champion was later helped to obtain UK citizenship by his school PE teacher while still using the name Mohamed Farah.
Sir Mo is competing alongside Unicef’s England squad, which includes their captain and former England footballer Jill Scott, TV presenter Paddy McGuinness, singer Tom Grennan, comedian Alex Brooker and former footballer turned pundit Gary Neville.
When asked about if the reception to The Real Mo Farah has made him keener to do charitable events, Sir Mo told the PA news agency: “Yeah, for sure it is something you know, for me … it was hard.
“That was really tough for me as a kid growing up just to know what I’ve gone through but coming out and doing (the) documentary was probably a good thing, because it just kind of shows it can happen to anybody, doesn’t matter who they are.
“I’ve won a lot of medals and that’s what I’m known (for) but, again, as a kid I did struggle and Unicef and Soccer Aid, we see these things … it’s happening all around the world, and we just want to be able to change that and give back to the community or kids.”
He added: “I’ve got four amazing kids and I couldn’t imagine that happening to my kids and, again, it’s not just my kids, (it’s happening) throughout the world.”
He added he has had a “lot of positive messages” and people contact him who “feel like they’re trapped”, and he hopes to “keep supporting them” in whatever way he can.
Sir Mo, who in April completed in his final London Marathon, said it is going to be “incredible” to be playing with people that he has watched on the TV for years.
Sir Mo added: “It’s just fun, always. I’m always excited and looking forward to being part of it.”
The England team will face the World XI FC team, which will be captained by Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt and have boxer and Love Island star Tommy Fury and Lee Mack among its line-up.