Releasing a new album as summer sets in, the latest work from Gorillaz is ringing fresh around the SoccerBible office right now. We caught time with the man on lead vocals and keyboard, 2D to talk about the World Cup, his appreciation for the game and why we shouldn't worship idols...

So then 2D, what kind of football fan are you?

“Hello SoccerBible, 2D here. Um, I probably like playing more than watching. My dream was to play for my local team, Crawley Town FC, but my mum and dad taught me not to aim too high. So instead I had trials for Pease Pottage which was a smaller club nearby. The coach said I had great vision but no end product. I’d get the ball and see really clearly in my head what to do with it, but when I woke from my vision the ball had been taken off me. I didn’t get in, but they let me keep the shorts. You might have seen them in the Humility video actually. I’ve washed them a few times over the years, so they’re a bit small now.”

What was your first World Cup memory and what is it about the tournament that captures your imagination?

“Uh, can’t really remember that. I bury all my bad memories deep inside my brain, under the broken dreams and just to the left of my fear of eggs (not including Crème Eggs, obvs). I'd say the best thing about the World Cup is you can never predict it. Who’d have thought Pickled Onion Monster Munch would win in 2016?”

Do you see crossovers between music and football?

“Ah, I was thinking about the World Cup of Crisps. Sozballs, I’m a bit jazzed as I was burning the candle at both ends last night, which is really difficult as they’re only designed to burn at one end. It took me all night. Well yes, like crisps, football and music are universal languages, and they can create a beautiful harmony. Although not all crossovers are successful, e.g. like when Diana Ross missed that penalty.”

Ever big into football stickers and all that kind of stuff?

“When I was young I could never afford to complete the album, so I would just draw the players into the empty boxes. Now I’m a megastar I still can’t afford to complete the album ‘cos I heard it costs several million pounds to get every sticker. Which I think is a shame, Panini sticker albums should be for everyone, not just the superrich.”

Do you remember getting a first pair of football boots?

“Yeah, I picked up a bargain pair from a factory reject place in Crawley. It was two left feet. I thought they might give me an edge as England is always short of left sided-players, but I kept just running left off the pitch into the car park.”

Tell us about the new record - would it be good to know that it’s being listened to by players before and after a game?

“It’s not for before or after, it’s for The Now Now, right away. You feel me?”

Everyone ends up talking about penalties - what were the celebration scenes like for you when England won on Tuesday night?

“I am now a guru in transatlantic meditation (thanks YouTube). It has taught me to be really calm and to internalise my emotions. So from the outside I was just sat very still looking at the screen in O’Neills. On the inside, however, I was fist-pumping and going ‘oooo, this is brilliant!’. While still sitting down.”

How far do you think they can go? Sweden up next…

“I guess they could go to Sweden if they want to, but the World Cup is in Russia so I’d recommend they stay local.”

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Are you in love with Harry Kane like the rest of us?

“A word to the wise, my friend. It’s never a good idea to worship idols. That’s something I’ve been trying to teach my millions of fans. It’s all about playing as a team, listening to each other, not just the ideas of one person. That’s a quote from my manifesto.”

These players experience crazy levels of pressure when it comes around to the World Cup - how have you dealt with success and kept your cool?

“Walking up to take a penalty must be like walking up to the microphone on stage. The ball is the mic and the goalkeeper is your demon of doubt trying to put you off. Mine was an actual demon, he used to say mean things in my ear and pull my trousers down on the tube. But now he’s in jail and I am free.”

When people come to a Gorillaz show, how would you like them to leave feeling?

“I would like them to feel transformed, as if they’ve been to a place so far away that when they get back, the world will never look the same again. Like when you’ve been to France or are suffering from concussion.”

How much do you love to perform in front of a crowd - the stage is like your football pitch isn’t it?

“I am a bit worried about you. Not everything in life is about football you know. Lots of things aren’t, like… well I can’t think of anything now, but check Wikipedia. No, I wouldn’t say the stage is much like a football pitch. There are no rules on stage, no referee. Although Noodle does use one of those squirty foam cans to make sure we all stand in the right place.”

What about with the rest of the band - has there been a lot of football rivalry throughout the tournament?

“Friends, brothers, amigas – this is a time for unity, not rivalry. So let’s all come together, right now, over me. (I’ve never really understood that lyric).”

You can download 'The Now, Now' by Gorillaz here.