FORMER One Direction star Liam Payne has been sharpening his footballing skills with a training session at Billericay Town.

Payne rose to pop stardom while with the boyband who sold more than 70 million records worldwide.

But the 28-year-old is currently preparing to captain the England side for Soccer Aid in June.

And Payne headed to New Lodge to continue his preparations as he strives to make a good impact on the pitch.

Echo: Training - Liam Payne headed to Billericay Town to sharpen up his footballing skillsTraining - Liam Payne headed to Billericay Town to sharpen up his footballing skills

He said: “I hope I’m a big enough personality to be able to pull it off because the football is not going to be able to help me.

“It’s a fun, fun game and its actually my debut.

“A lot of my bandmates have already played so I feel like I’ve got quite a lot to live up too.

“I wouldn’t say I was the worst footballer in the band, but I wasn’t far off.”

Bandmate Niall Horan faced off against his One Direction co-star Louis Tomlinson at the 2016 tournament, before returning to play in the 2019 match.

And Payne said he is ‘scared and excited’ about the match on June 12 and hopes he is worthy’ of the captain’s armband.

“I’ve watched a lot of football games over the years and you’re always thinking ‘I could hit that shot’ or ‘I could do that,’ so for me it’s a little bit of a chance to cosplay in a way and be part of it,” said Payne.

“I have started training and I’ve already trained too hard, my trainer told me off.

“I’m really excited. I’m very much a person that when I get involved in something I get way too involved and I think a lot of my team would say that about me.

“So I’ve really put my heart and soul into it. I’m hoping by the time we come around to it, I’ll be worthy of that armband,” he said.

Echo: Getting ready - Liam Payne will captain England at Soccer AidGetting ready - Liam Payne will captain England at Soccer Aid

Martin Compston, Mo Gilligan, Harry Redknapp, Gary Neville, Fara Williams and Chunkz will also make their return to the pitch for 2022.

Payne added: “Everyone I’ve met so far has been really, really lovely, so it seems like a really good team to be around and we all know why we are here and it’s a very, very important thing to do, super grateful.

“I hope I don’t make a fool of myself and I just hope that we get everything we can for the cause and remember the real reason why we’re all on that pitch,” he said.

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