Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood took time out of the current series for a special trip to England’s training camp St George’s Park to task international stars Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold in a specially constructed version of the legendary Bake Off tent.
The four players, who have been selected as part of Gareth Southgate’s squad to take on Malta in the UEFA EURO qualifier match at Wembley on Friday, broadcast live on Channel 4, were challenged by the celebrity chef to bake and decorate a gingerbread man in the style of their favourite footballer of all time.
With just 35 minutes to complete the task, the ‘bakers’ were provided with ingredients and instructions to design, bake and decorate a gingerbread masterpiece which would judged by Hollywood to determine who would be crowned Star Baker.
Defensive midfielder Declan Rice chose John Terry, midfielder Trent Alexander-Arnold selected Steven Gerrard, midfielder Jordan Henderson went for Paul Gascoigne, whilst defender Kieran Trippier favoured Wayne Rooney.
Paul Hollywood had a job on his hands to remain impartial given he is an avid Liverpool supporter and reports of favouritism towards Alexander-Arnold remain to be seen in the video, which will be aired during Channel 4’s live broadcast of England’s international on Friday.
Hollywood opened the task by saying: “If you play for Liverpool you should probably win, the rest of you, good luck!”
Hollywood had words of wisdom for his bakers and warned them they needed to “allow time” and to watch out for “underbaking”.
On selecting former England captain Gerrard, Alexander-Arnold said: “Stevie G was my idol growing up.” He was however more concerned that “there are three fathers here,” indicating the others would potentially have had more baking practice.
Trippier took the challenge seriously and stated, “I feel more nervous doing this than playing football.” He indicated he wasn’t a good baker, but that “my wife is.”
Rice meanwhile had to educate himself on the utensils required to cut the gingerbread shapes: “I didn’t know which way the scalpel went.” He routinely asked Henderson for advice throughout the challenge and at one point screamed “I need some help from somewhere,” as he tried to manoeuvre his creation onto the baking sheet to go in the oven.
The bakers worked intently to immortalise their heroes as gingerbread figures, whilst showing their competitive and cheeky streaks – with Henderson trying to steal Alexander-Arnold’s flour as they entered the Bake Off set, before trying to obstruct his teammates’ cooking progress.
The end results varied. Reports that ‘John Terry’ “lost his head” remain to be seen. So too the whispers that Henderson’s masterpiece didn’t quite go to plan: “What is that Hendo?!”.
As the players sat giggling on the bakers’ chairs, nerves set in as Hollywood critiqued and tasted their heroes. “That’s a well baked biscuit,” “his kit looks good but he’s a bit rough round the edges,” “that’s a bit underbaked, but at least his kit is on,” that’s not a bad effort,” were exclamations heard by the judge at St George’s Park.
Tune in to Channel 4 Sport YouTube on Friday 17 November from 530pm to see the full video and who won the challenge.
England v Malta will be broadcast on Channel 4 from 7pm on Friday.
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