12 Feb 2021 9:52 AM +00:00

eLions' Tom Leese: “I’ve got a target on my back”

FIFAe Nations Cup hopeful Tom Leese insists he is ‘not nervous’ ahead of eLions: The Eliminator, despite ‘having a target on his back’.

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The 22-year-old FIFA pro will compete for national selection later this week where he will battle it out with 16 FIFA pros to wear the Three Lions badge at the 2021 FIFAe Nations Cup.

Familiar foes

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To add to the pressure, Leese will go head-to-head with his old Hashtag United teammate Harry Hesketh in the opening round – but he’s not fazed in the slightest.

“I wouldn’t say I’m nervous, I’m more excited,” Leese told RealSport.

“The thing I will find strange is I’m playing Harry who is my old teammate with Hashtag.

“I know him inside out we’ve played each other so many times. It will be a different challenge coming across Harry, but I wouldn’t say I’m too nervous.

FRIENDLY FIRE! Old mates Leese and Hesketh will face off in the opening match
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FRIENDLY FIRE! Old mates Leese and Hesketh will face off in the opening match

“I am more excited to play again. It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to play for England and try to get the spot back again so mainly that excited feeling right now.”

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Leese, who is a current eLion, is under no illusion that he is the man to beat.

“Obviously, I’ve got a target on my back,” he said. “People are going to try and knock me off.

“In the knockout format, it’s always going to be difficult so I try and avoid that when I’m playing and try not to think about it.

“Hopefully, I can just get the job done from there, play some good FIFA on the day and manage to retain my spot.”

HISTORY MAKERS! Leese and Tekkz were the first eLions ever
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HISTORY MAKERS! Leese and Tekkz were the first eLions ever

Leese will be looking to build on his previous eLions highlight which saw him and Tekkz get knocked out in the Quarter-Finals.

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“I think on the day we probably should have won it,” he said.

“We came out and dominated everyone and being that good and playing in such a big tournament for England is definitely a highlight and something I won’t forget anytime soon.”

eLions: The Eliminator explained

The eLions: The Eliminator tournament kicks off on Thursday, 11 February, with national selection at stake.

The competition will see 16 of the best professional FIFA gamers in England will this week have the chance to fill the four positions in The FA’s FIFA esports eLions squad giving them the opportunity to represent England in the 2021 FIFAe Nations Cup.

It’s a straight knockout competition over two legs, with current eLions player Tom Leese getting us underway in the first match.

How to Watch

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You can watch live on Twitch from 10:45am ET / 3:45pm GMT on Thursday, 11 February.

Host Rachel Stringer, analyst Mavric and commentators Brandon Smith and Richard Buckley will be joined by former England footballer Joleon Lescott to take you through the action.

There will be plenty of giveaways during the stream too, including a ‘Secret Lab’ England branded gaming chair, signed England merchandise and EA SPORTS FIFA 21 in-game Icons Including 1966 World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen.”

Schedule

(PS4 - Thursday)

SIMPLE! Two wins and you're an England player
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SIMPLE! Two wins and you're an England player
  1. ROUND 1, GAME 1: 4:00 PM (HARRY V TOM)
  2. ROUND 1, GAME 2: 4:50 PM (ETHAN V SHELLZ)
  3. ROUND 1, GAME 3: 5:40 PM (CONKAI V FULLY)
  4. ROUND 1, GAME 4: 6:30 PM (STINGRAY V MHAYWXRD)
  5. ELIMINATOR 1: 7.20 PM
  6. ELIMINATOR 2: 8:10 PM
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(XBOX - Friday)

FAVOURITE! Current eLion Tekkz is the man to beat on Xbox
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FAVOURITE! Current eLion Tekkz is the man to beat on Xbox

ROUND 1, GAME 1: 4:00 PM (GORILLA V BIGMAC)

  • ROUND 1, GAME 2: 4:50 PM (LYRICZ V REDLAC)
  • ROUND 1, GAME 3: 5:40 PM (TEKKZ V SHAWREY)
  • ROUND 1, GAME 4: 6:30 PM (1MPACTZ V RYAN)
  • ELIMINATOR 1: 7.20 PM
  • ELIMINATOR 2: 8:10 PM