For me, the last few weeks have been crazy, ever since I won the tournament to be an eLion for this competition.
To have @England following you and tagging you on social media, it’s felt like I’m part of the team and the set up.
It was even more special for me because I’ve had a rough season so far really, so when the chance came for me to go to the eLions qualifiers, I thought that if I was going to do anything this year, then I definitely have to win this one.
And I did it, via a penalty shootout which made it memorable because I’ve never experienced that at any competitive tournament had I ever been to and the emotion just flew out of me when I won.
For me, this is the big one. I’ve had a little break, a mental reset if you like, before getting back into it the last few weeks to make sure the muscle memory is there. There’s been a bit of practise with F2Tekkz, because we’re playing 2v2 which is slightly different.
We have contrasting tactics and styles of play so we’ve had to work it out for us, what works well and what doesn’t work well. It’s going to help that I’ve got probably the best player in the world as my team-mate, so we’re confident that we can go and do it.
I’ve been hitting form recently too, so I’m starting to work things out in my head. I’ve found my right tactics and my right way of playing. It’s very easy to just play the game but the slightest thing might make a difference so I’ve been focusing on it and we go into the tournament very confident
Mentality in FIFA is so important and you always have to be switched on. You can’t switch off for a second, you have to stay focused, so I try and have a break in the week to see family and friends as they are the people who have helped me get here today.
You don’t really grow up wanting to be a pro gamer, so it’s weird. I did want to be a pro footballer, but I knew I couldn’t play at that level.
But it was only when I got to my first year at sixth form when I was 16 or 17 and doing my A-Levels that things started to happen.
It was known among my mates that I was good at FIFA so whenever they had a tournament between themselves, they wouldn’t let me play because it was getting beyond fair.
One day, someone told me that there were these FIFA tournaments online where everybody puts their money into it and there’s a big prize pool at the end and why don’t I have a go at those...
So, that’s what I did and I didn’t realise that some of the people I was beating were actually pros, some of them from Germany.
The German scene is quite developed, they’ve been around for a while and a few of them got in contact with me and asked if I realised what I was doing?
I said no, I just play it and if I win some money then great, but school was always coming first and I saw FIFA as something to do once I’d got home and done my work. It was my way of chilling out really, playing FIFA competitively.
It was when EA were running their own tournaments, I just had a go at it through the qualifying stages and I managed to get through to the finals.
They took me to Paris, everything was paid for, and when I got there I realised that all these people were professionals and representing football clubs.
I managed to finish in the top six of Europe and it hit me when I came home that this was something I was really good at, it’s where my talent it, and that I should perhaps be looking to pursue it and get paid to do this full time.
I’d got to a good level without being full time so I thought if I was matching these guys when I wasn’t putting as much time in, what could I do if I really went for it?
I had a few conversations with my family, as they were sceptical to start with and didn’t see it as a real career. My thoughts were that it’s hard to find something that you’re really good at and then not pursue it. If you’ve got a talent, go for it and do it properly.
So we said that I’d make sure I did my A-Levels first, so after Paris I had to stop for a few months and that was something which I’d always said I wanted to do, to make sure I finished them because I needed something no matter what.
After they were done, I gave it a real go and I signed with FutWiz, went full time with the social media and broadcasting my training.
And now I’m here representing England, so just can’t wait to get going…