Hong Kong; May 14, 2014: Former England midfielder Carlton Palmer has been added to the Citibank All Stars squad for next week’s HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens, as the side organised by the English PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) bids to win the Masters Tournament for the first time.
Palmer will make his Soccer Sevens debut at Hong Kong Football Club from May 23-25 after a career in which the towering central midfielder won 18 caps for England and played for West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United.
Seth Johnson, 35, will also make his tournament debut for the Citibank All Stars, having played for Derby County and Leeds United, and represented England in 2000. Powerful target man Steve Howard, Deon Burton and Jamie Cureton, all in their late 30s, offer lively options up front.
Frank Sinclair, who spent eight seasons at Chelsea and another six with Leicester City, former Leeds defender Rui Marques and goalkeeper Alan Fettis all return for the 2011 runners-up. Former Leicester defender Gerry Taggart, who won 51 caps for Northern Ireland, and former Aston Villa left-back Alan Wright also join the squad.
Weber Lo, Citi Country Officer and Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong and Macau, said: “Citibank is a proud title sponsor of the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens and we are also excited to support the Citibank All Stars, which each year comprises top players selected by English PFA.
“The presence of former England internationals Carlton Palmer and Seth Johnson and other top players looks set to help the Citibank All Stars as they again bid to win the Masters Tournament, which always features many former stars and internationals and is a popular part of the overall event.”
Defending champions Rangers Legends and 2012 winners Aegon Ajax All Stars, last year’s runners-up, have already named similar squads to last year, while other teams have recruited strongly for the over-35 tournament.
England legend Des Walker, who won 59 caps and helped England reach the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup, and Jason Lee will again star for Nottingham Forest Mobsters, who have recruited former Blackburn Rovers captain Andy Todd.
John McGovern, who captained Nottingham Forest to their First Division triumph in 1978 and successive European Cup titles in 1979 and 1980, forms an all-star management team with fellow Forest favourite Neil Webb, whose career also included three seasons at Manchester United and 26 caps for England.
Alan Thompson, the former Aston Villa and Celtic midfielder, and Michael Bridges, the former Sunderland Leeds forward, will join Soccer Sevens favourite Peter Beardsley in representing Wallsend Boys Club, the legendary youth club in Newcastle where they all learned their football.
Hong Kong-based Roberto Losada, the 37-year-old Spanish forward who helped Kitchee win the Hong Kong First Division in 2010/11 and 2011/12, has also been recruited to boost the side.
Kowloon Cricket Club, who won the Masters Plate in 2009, have secured the services of Pat Nevin, the former Chelsea and Everton winger who won 28 Scotland caps from 1986 to 1996.
In the Main Tournament, newly promoted Leicester City will defend their title against English champions Manchester City and fellow Premier League clubs Chelsea, Sunderland, 2012 winners Newcastle United and five-time champions Aston Villa, as well as Scottish giants Rangers.
Guangzhou Evergrande, who won the AFC Champions League last November after securing a third straight Chinese Super League title, will make their tournament debut, while Hong Kong champions Kitchee will lead the local charge along with HKFA U-23 and U-21 sides.
The tournament will start with the opening round of Masters group games on Friday evening (7.00-9.00pm), May 23. All the Main group matches and the remaining Masters group games are held on the Saturday (9.00am-8.15pm) before the knockout rounds take place on Sunday (8.00am-7.30pm).
Entry is free on the Friday evening, while tickets for the weekend are HK$160 per day or HK$300 for a two-day pass, and are available at www.cityline.com.
Citibank has title sponsored the event since 2011 and other sponsors this year include British Airways, Nike, Aegon, The Excelsior, Tsingtao and Boase Cohen & Collins.
Group A: Newcastle United (ENG), Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN), HKFA U-23 (HKG), Hong Kong Football Club (HKG)
Group B: Chelsea (ENG), Sunderland (ENG), Kitchee (HKG), HKFC Captain’s Select (HKG)
Group C: Manchester City (ENG), Rangers (SCO), HKFA Qualifier (HKG), Singapore Cricket Club (SIN)
Group D: Leicester City (ENG), Aston Villa (ENG), HKFA U-21 (HKG), Yau Yee League Select (HKG)
Group A: Rangers Legends (SCO), Wallsend Boys Club (ENG), USRC (HKG), Kowloon Cricket Club (HKG)
Group B: Aegon Ajax All Stars (NED), Eastern Salon (HKG), HKFC Chairman’s Select (HKG), HKFC Veterans (HKG)
Group C: Citibank All Stars (INT), Nottingham Forest Mobsters (ENG), KFC Tokyo (JPN), SCC Tigers (SIN)