The lines between real life football and FIFA have never been more blurred.
The history of football seems to overlook the impact that Joleon Lescott had on Man City’s Premier League title successes of 2012 and 2014.
The former England centre-back was once regarded as one of the best in the country and was arguably as instrumental to the Citizens breaking their Premier League hoodoo as his defensive partner Vincent Kompany.
Lescott called time on his distinguished playing career which also included spells with Wolves, Everton, Aston Villa and Sunderland, to follow an entirely different career path.
Alongside a coaching role with City’s youth teams and punditry appearances for both Sky Sports and BT Sport, Lescott is now a part of one of the fastest growing gaming industries – esports.
The two time Premier League winner spoke exclusively to Dream Team to reveal exactly how he ended up in the ever-expanding world of professional gaming.
“I know Garry Cook (former City CEO and now Gfinity Executive Chairman) and that’s really how it came about,” he said.
“I saw what he was doing with all this and I’m a massive FIFA fan so we spoke and he asked if I wanted to be involved and I said absolutely.”
Despite attending gaming events in the past as a fan, the ongoing Gfinity Elite Series was the biggest event Lescott has so far been part of in a professional capacity.
The role of the former City star is to provide detailed analysis on the key moments during the competition, transferring over his knowledge of real life football into the world of FIFA.
“I’ve been to events locally to me but in terms of the scale and seeing the structure of it all, this (the Elite Series) is the biggest I’ve been involved with.
“The main difference in punditry between real life football and FIFA is that there’s a lot more skills involved in the FIFA gameplay.
“All these guys press their different buttons and pull off these tricks that don’t tend to happen in real life!
“There’s also a lot more goals to talk about, you very rarely see a 0-0 or teams keeping clean sheets in FIFA.
“The difference is vast but the excitement and enjoyment levels are just the same.”
The defender, who won 26 caps for England, insisted that he was blown away by the level of notoriety that the biggest names in esports now possess.
Lescott revealed that some of the best gamers even manage to stoke up more fanfare than some top level football stars.
“When I went to the tournament in Manchester, I’m just going there because I’m a FIFA fan but my kids know all the gamers and they were so excited to see everyone there.
“We’ve been to big football games and I’ve taken them to meet top footballing stars but they’ve never been as excited as they were when they went to the tournament!”
Lescott predicts that the world of competitive gaming will only increase in popularity as more and more people become aware of it.
“I can only see the industry growing and growing,” he said.
“I’m not surprised by the way it’s gone so far and the way it’s going.
“There’s people out there who are now making careers out of playing games and playing FIFA in particular, so all I can see is the world of gaming getting bigger.”
Learn more about Lescott’s passion for FIFA…
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