Ronaldo, Neymar and Serge Aurier: Spencer 'Gorilla' Ealing picks his players for Manchester

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Spencer 'Gorilla' Ealing
EA Sports
Last year's FIWC winner reveals his motivations, what it's like playing 'offline' in tournaments, and which cards he'll pick for the FUT Champions Cup

2017 was quite a year for Spencer 'Gorilla' Ealing, with the seasoned FIFA pro signing for Unilad’s eSports team in March, before going on to be crowned the FIFA Interactive World Cup champion and UK eSports Player of the Year.

With the FUT Champions Cup being played in Manchester this weekend, Gorilla talks to Goal about his favourite Ultimate Team cards and who he wants to face in the finals...
Do you feel you have an advantage with the event being in Manchester?

I play better in the UK. At Gfinity, back when I was playing them in FIFA 14, 15 and 16 and FIWC (FIFA Interactive World Cup) last year, so I’ve done really well. It could be a coincidence, but I’m more at home when I’m traveling an hour to event and not having to go by plane. I feel more relaxed which makes me play better.

Mentally, is it harder to play at live events than online?

It takes you out of your comfort zone when you’re used to playing the better part of a year at home. You can take your online experience to an event but a lot of things change, you’re there with opponents in person, sometimes right opposite them.

The environment too, you’re there and there’s the pressure of getting a loss and coming back from it. There’s different situations that test you but I think the more you attend the more you can deal with it. I think with most players you adjust quickly.

The game play is different too, it’s slower and you have to adapt to it. I do adapt to it but it takes that extra game. I don’t think a lot of people realise it’s not the same as online, but I think that’s the enjoyment of it all.

The professional FIFA community looks pretty close, is there anyone you’re looking forward to playing or wanting to avoid?

I would have probably giving you an answer with a specific opponent a few years ago, but I feel like I’m in a position now where I know eventually I want to win the whole tournament so I’m going to have to play a top player. If I win that early, it will give me forward momentum.

At the end of the day, I’d be stupid to say I don’t want an easy draw, it’s a results business. At the same time, it’s the top 64 players there, so every game is going to be hard. The likes of Tass [Tassal 'Tass' Rushan] and that lot are going to be extra hard games. I’m interested to see what happens. There will be some interesting match ups for sure.

A lot of new cards have come into Ultimate Team since you completed in Barcelona, are you going to be playing with any new cards?

Obviously, the upgrade of 94 R9 Ronaldo to a 96, the same with prime [Ruud] Gullit from his 92 to 93, I think they will be the two big changes. I’m definitely going in with 95 Neymar in Manchester and I’ll be using Team of the Year [N’Golo] Kante in midfield. I’ll be using Serge Aurier’s in-form card at right back, which will probably surprise a few people.

Why Aurier?

He’s had a recent upgrade so I want to try him out. His work rate surprised me, he’s more agile on the ball than Antonio Valencia, as he has high agility. He’s really strong, even though he’s not that tallest of players, he seems to be getting a lot of the challenges which benefit me.

I feel like he feels good in the team but I’m enjoying playing with new improvements to the squad.

Ronaldo’s Prime icon card came in for a lot of criticism online, why is he going into your squad?

I was one of them. When I first did the Squad Building Challenge I was expecting him to score with every shot and I wasn’t getting on with him. The first 40 or 50 games I wasn’t enjoying him. I actually went back to the 94 Ronaldo to see what was what and ended up keeping the 96.

I feel now I’ve played more games with him I know how to get the most out of him. I used him at the Gfinity Elite Series and he scored a hat-trick for me. It seems to be clicking now.

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With $22,000 going to the winner in Manchester, do you have any plans for what you’d spend the money on?

It might sound cliche, but I play for the trophy. I’m in a position where I have less pressure now. I want to go there for the event, play my best FIFA and I’m there for the win. The money is obviously nice, it’s a bonus.

I’ve done a lot in my career and when I retire I want to be known as the best so I want more trophies.

Fans can catch all the action live from Manchester on EA SPORTS TwitchFacebookTwitter and YouTube channels starting on Friday, April 13th at 12pm.