Alex Brooker 'inspirational' to Soccer Aid viewers as he becomes first ever disabled player

Alex Brooker was the star of Soccer Aid for viewers. (ITV)
Alex Brooker was the star of Soccer Aid for viewers. (ITV)

Soccer Aid returned on Sunday with footballing legends, Hollywood actors and music superstars lining up to play - but Alex Brooker stole the show as far as viewers were concerned.

The Last Leg star and sports journalist became the first ever disabled player to feature in the UNICEF fundraiser which airs on ITV, proudly walking onto the pitch as part of the England side's starting team.

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Brooker, 38, has disabilities affecting the development of both arms and hands, and wears a prosthetic leg after having his right leg amputated when he was a young child.

Speaking about his pride at being the first disabled player in Soccer Aid, he said: "I want to do more than what people think I can do."

Viewers said that Brooker, who appears in Channel 4's comedy chat show The Last Leg alongside Adam Hills and Josh Widdicombe, was their man of the match for his inspirational attitude to the charity game which sees celebrities playing for England take on a rest of the world team.

Many disabled viewers explained just how much his representation meant to them, with one person tweeting: "Can we appreciate how much an absolute legend @alex_brooker is as a disabled person growing up I never had anyone to look up to until I was a teenager and discovered @TheLastLeg and I’ve been looking up to him ever since it’s been so great to watch him on soccer aid tonight!!"

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Someone else added: "Genuinely brilliant to see Alex Brooker play at Soccer Aid. Never let your disability tell you you can’t do something!"

Another viewer wrote: "As a disabled person,, I'm literally so emotional seeing Alex Brooker on Soccer heart."

Alex Brooker impressed viewers as the first disabled player to take part in Soccer Aid. (ITV)
Alex Brooker impressed viewers as the first disabled player to take part in Soccer Aid. (ITV)

Viewers also praised his sense of humour as he joked: "I’m right footed, but I don’t have a right foot."

Later, he said of being marked by a number of pros: "First I'm marking Roberto Carlos, then Patrice Evra, then they put Dimitar Berbatov on me...I've got one leg!"

One viewer tweeted: "Could Alex Brooker be a bigger legend.. doesn’t have a right foot (literally) and claims he is right footed, first disabled person to be playing at soccer aid! Legend."

Someone else added: "Alex Brooker proving that you can do whatever you want to do no matter what! Absolute legend."

Dermot O'Leary and Alex Scott present. (Soccer Aid)
Dermot O'Leary and Alex Scott presented the match. (Soccer Aid)

Another viewer commented: "Representation matters. Incredible to see @alex_brooker on @socceraid for @UNICEF_uk - getting an England cap and showing children with disabilities that anything is possible!"

One fan wrote: "Alex Brooker is an inspiration."

Another viewer tweeted: "Alex Brooker walking out on the pitch as one of the starting XI made me v emotional btw."

Someone else added: "Man Alex Brooker looks like he's had the time of his life on Soccer Aid what a legend."

Watch: David Beckham hands Soccer Aid trophy to World XI after shootout win