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Published 24 April 2023 4 min read

Get to know eLions FIFA player XL Tom

Written by:

Frank Smith

In the latest in our series, we sit down with FIFA star Tom Leese, otherwise known as XL Tom, to discuss a host of topics, including who would make his dream FIFA five-a-side team

XL Tom

Full name:
Tom Leese

Date of birth: 22/10/98 (24)

From: Cheshunt, North London

eTeam: EXCEL Esports 

England eLions debut: 2019. I was the first ever eLion alongside Tekkz where we won a tournament to play as an eLion.

Key achievement: 2019-20 ePremier League champion

Club support: Tottenham Hotspur – it is either Tottenham or Arsenal in my area.

Favourite player in world football: Harry Kane

Favourite England player: As well as Harry, another England player I like is Jude Bellingham. But I love the story of Harry Kane. He had a lot of loans at the start of his career, came through and has been one of our most successful goalscorers.

How old were you when you started playing FIFA?

I was about five or six and would play against my big brother. He is three years older than me so he got me into football and got me into FIFA. I started competing in pro tournaments when I was 17. I was in sixth form at the time and found out through a mate how to get involved and play against the best players in the world.

28 Oct 2021 11:28

Tekkz & Grealish v XL Tom & Saka

Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka face off in a game of 2v2 on FIFA 22 alongside eLions Tekkz and XL Tom

Who is your favourite player to sign on FIFA?

FIFA is a game all about pace. Kylian Mbappe is always one who is up there. If I was going to give you an England player, it would be Kyle Walker because he is one of the best defenders on the game. He has the strength, the pace, the height, he has everything you need. So defence Kyle Walker and in attack, Kylian Mbappe.

Who would make your FIFA five-a-side team?

Van der Sar in goal, as tall ‘keepers are effective in the game. We will play a one-man defence of Kyle Walker, because he has everything you need. In midfield, I would put Messi in there because he is the best to ever play the game and that is replicated on FIFA where he is good. I would pick Ruud Gullit, who has an icon card, as he has everything you need for a midfielder, and then upfront I would say R9 Ronaldo. He is the man for the job.

Who would make your FIFA five-a-side team of just England players?

Jordan Pickford in goal, Kyle Walker in defence, Bukayo Saka on one side, Marcus Rahsford on the other and then Harry Kane.

What does it mean to be an eLion?

It is crazy and surreal. Having the chance to represent England and go to St. George’s Park, go to Wembley and play in tournaments across the world, wearing the England kit, it is crazy for me because I was just a fan of football like everyone else is. Then I am here and play FIFA as part of the England set-up. It is mind-blowing and something I do not take for granted.

How would you describe your playing style?

I am an aggressive player, who tries to dominate and control the game, mainly through high pressing and winning the ball back high up the pitch. I can’t stand letting the opposition keep the ball, playing it side-to-side so I like to be aggressive. So high-pressing and controlling are probably the best words I could use.

XL Tom is a massive Harry Kane fan so it came as no surprise the Spurs striker made his England five-a-side FIFA team
XL Tom is a massive Harry Kane fan so it came as no surprise the Spurs striker made his England five-a-side FIFA team

What has been your favourite moment as an eLion?

There have been a few! The tournament where I qualified to become an eLion and then there have been so many good things which have come after that. It is a moment which made my career at the time because I was struggling for form at the time and was finding it tough. That tournament was my breakthrough moment for FIFA esports. 

Then after that, with FIFA 2021, we played a tournament to make the event and even though the event never happened, the tournament leading up to it was an emotional moment for me.

What have been your favourite moment as an eLion away from the game itself?

Being able to meet the whole team. You never know if it is going to be as you expect but they are all as you would expect them to be. They are all perfect to film with and a great group to be around. A few of them follow FIFA as well so it is a mad moment for me, Tekkz and the other players when we go to film and they are asking us for tips on FIFA in the same way we ask them about football. 

The whole squad has been great to film with but to have the chance to meet Harry Kane, for my family as well, with them all being Spurs fans, when I sent them the picture in the family group chat, they were all like ‘What? You got to meet him!’

But I can’t speak highly enough about the squad. Every time you go to St. George’s Park to film, it is a surreal moment.”

How do you assess England’s chances in the eNations Cup?

I think we have a really good chance this year. We have a lot of good players and have added a lot of quality to the squad. There is no reason why we can’t win it. We have always had some of the best talents there and this year is no different. We have a great chance.

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