Former professional footballer Jermaine Pennant revealed that he was excited when he was given permission to punch former Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.

Appearing on the programme, which is set to return to Channel 4 on Tuesday (September 26), the former Arsenal and Liverpool winger said he felt as though he had the expectations of the nation behind him.

Matt Hancock and Jermaine donned boxing gloves as the pair took part in an organised fight against one another.

Former footballer Jermaine Pennant reveals he gleefully said 'yes!' when he was allowed to fight Matt Hancock

Jermaine Pennant said of the Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins fight: “My first thought when Rudy shouted number five out was ‘yes!’

"Then after that, it was, ‘Do not lose’. If it’s rubbish, it doesn’t matter about the fight, but it was imperative that I won! I don’t think I’d have been able to walk the streets again if I didn’t.”

Matt Hancock was the UK Health Secretary throughout much of the COVID-19 pandemic, remaining in office until 2021 when he was caught breaking social distancing rules during an affair.

Ahead of the fight on the Channel 4 programme, Matt Hancock confessed: “I’ve had endless death threats over the vaccine, but I haven’t been punched since I was a teenager. I’ve got no idea how I’ll respond.”

Pennant also revealed a conversation with Hancock where he asked how the MP could take time away from his job for a reality show, claiming: “He said he had people who could do that job while he was away".

The footballer said he already had a low opinion of Hancock, adding this did not change after meeting him.

He said: “I think you all have an opinion about him, but then once you go in there, you leave it where it is, and then as soon as you come out your opinion goes back to where it was.”

Matt Hancock suggested on the show that his career in the halls of Westminster would work in his favour on the show.

However, his attitude has reportedly not put him in good stead with the instructors with Jason Fox calling him “Hancock with a silent Han.”

Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins returns to Channel 4 on Tuesday, September 26 from 9:30pm.