Meet our new eLions Mitch and BigMac as they prepare for their England debuts

Wednesday 17 Mar 2021
The eLions are back in action on Thursday 18 March when they take on Poland in an efriendly

The eLions begin their preparations for this summer’s FIFAe Nations Cup, when they take on Poland in an official FIFA efriendly game on Thursday 18 March.

And this season sees four squad members representing the eLions, following January’s ‘ELIONS: THE ELIMINATOR’ tournament.

So joining our founder squad members Tekkz and Hashtag Tom are two new players in Mitchell ‘MHAYWXRD’ Hayward and Connor ‘BigMac’ McGoldrick.

Ahead of Thursday’s encounter, which can be watched live via Twitch from 4pm GMT, we caught up with them both to find out a bit more.

Mitch Hayward from London is one of our new eLions for 2021

MHAYWXRD

It’s funny, because I’m actually from Wembley myself – just around the corner from the stadium so to now be representing England as an eLion feels so surreal.

When I won the tournament to become an eLion, it was just the greatest honour and I can’t wait to get going now with the games in what’s hopefully going to be a great year.

Gaming is something I never really planned to get involved with, I mean I’ve always played FIFA and it was only a few years ago that I realised I was pretty good when I was finishing sixth form.

It all started I began to achieve top 100 results in FIFA18, so I just thought I would try to compete in some tournaments in FIFA19 and it has just continued from there.

I think finishing in the top four at the Ajax eBattle Next Player tournament was the breakthrough moment for me, and soon after that I went on to reach the top eight with the West Ham Cup, the top 16 in the Arsenal play-offs of the ePremier League.

I still believe I have a lot to work on but in terms of being able to compete in tournaments, I would say on FIFA 20 after I won a few tournaments and qualified for the ePremier League.

Nowadays, I represent Sheffield United in the ePremier League which is ironic as I’m also a first-year student at the University of Sheffield, doing a degree in accounting.

It was always in the plan to go to uni, but after the gaming breakthrough, I took a few years off and hopefully, that’s starting to pay off. I still haven’t actually been to Sheffield yet, but I’m hoping in September I can go there for my second year.

It can be quite difficult to manage both my studying and gaming but for me, making sure I dedicate a specific amount of time to my studies and FIFA has worked well so far, I just hope it continues!

Having the opportunity to represent my country in any capacity is always something I have wanted to do, so to have the chance through FIFA was something very special and thankfully I can now say I represent England!

It's quite surreal knowing you're actually representing your country, it's something very few people get to do so it's truly an honour and one I'll always cherish.

Connor 'BigMac' from Tamworth joins the eLions squad for 2021

BigMac

It’s fair to say, I’ve come into gaming at this level from a different route. I’m 26, I’m a dad, I have a normal job and I’m just an average guy who loves football and all sport.

I’ve previously played football at a semi-professional level for Bolehall Swifts FC and I used to box at a good level until I was 22, so I’m quite athletic and sporty generally.

So everyone points out that I’m a bit different to my peers in gaming and I know that - I’ve just come from a different background.

But I've always played FIFA in my spare time, a couple of hours here and there at weekends and I knew I was really good, but I never had the time to take it that seriously.

It was when I broke my ankle in a football match that I was able to play FIFA19 a bit more when thought I’d give it a shot so I gave myself two months to have a crack at it. I went on to finish 73rd in the world in one tournament, so I tried one of the qualifiers and got to the top 17, which was really good considering I’d barely played the game.

So I couldn’t believe it when I became an eLion, to even get as far in that event and beat some of the top players I did was a shock. I even had to tell my missus not to watch the final, as it was the first time I’d been in a position like that and I was really nervous about it to be honest.

It’s all a bit crazy really, to represent England at anything is such an achievement and I can’t wait to get going now.

It’s a massive tournament to look forward to, I know I’m much less known than the other guys but hopefully we can all do well together for England.

By FA Staff