I Genuinely Believe I Can Win
Saturday, 21st Mar 2020 10:30
Josh Blunden, Town’s representative in the Ultimate Quaran-Team Cup, says he genuinely believes he is in with a chance of lifting the trophy.
The FIFA 20 competition was instigated on social media by Leyton Orient early in the week with each of the 128 clubs involved nominating a player or a fan to represent them.
The Blues were paired with Melbourne Victory in the first round draw on Wednesday in a tie which has been named the Jim Magilton Derby, the Blues legend having spent time managing the A-League team in 2012.
The man entrusted with upholding the honour of Town in the Ultimate Quaran-Team Cup is 18-year-old Josh Blunden, who is currently ranked at 257th in the world.
“I genuinely believe I can win,” he told TWTD. “Obviously everyone says you’ve got to be in it to win it, but I genuinely believe I can win.
“Some of the people who are tipped to win it I’ve beaten in previous matches. They’ve beaten me, of course, but I’ve beaten everyone that’s tipped to win it, so I believe I can win.”
However, Blunden admits the Victory tie is a tricky first test with opponent Mouad Zwed ranked 329th.
“When I saw that draw I thought it was a bit tough having seen some of the other ties, I thought it was probably one of the toughest I could have got,” he added.
“But you have to beat the best to be the best and it’ll be another high-profile competitor knocked out if I can win the match.”
Framlingham-based Blunden, who can be followed on Twitter via @_Joshhhh9_ , says he was determined to be the man representing the Blues as soon as he heard about the competition.
“I saw the tweet from Leyton Orient and I saw that Ipswich said they were in, and then that it had to be a first-team player or a fan so I thought I’d got to get involved,” he said.
“So I tweeted about my background with my FIFA journey and profile and I got a lot of retweets and a lot of likes.
“I thought I had to be the representative. There aren’t many opportunities that come like this to represent the club that you love. An opportunity like this is very special to me to actually play for Town and hopefully I can progress far into the competition.”
Blunden, a Blues fan for about 10 years who watches games both home and away, says he wasn’t always as impressive at FIFA as he is now.
“I started just by playing my mates at school in Year 10 and 11 and I never won, I always lost, I always used to get absolutely battered, 5-0 or 6-0, something like that,” he recalled.
“I was getting laughed at, so I decided ‘I can’t be having this any more, I’m going to train myself up and I’m going to beat all of you’. And that’s what I’ve done.
“Last year with FIFA 19 and then when FIFA 20 came out in September, I played a couple of them and I beat one of them, the same guy who beat me 6-0 a couple of years ago, we played two games and I won 7-0 and 7-1. I play another mate quite a lot and I usually win at least 6-0 or 7-0 every time.
“Competitively, a year into playing seriously there was a competition and I thought I’d see how I would fare and I did well. I qualified for the ePremier League for Fulham, so I went to Craven Cottage to play there.
“I’ve qualified this year to play at Stamford Bridge, so I’ve played there as well, and recently, literally the weekend before this, I’ve just qualified to play at a tournament in France and when the coronavirus situation is sorted I’ll be going there to play.
“I’ve just really enjoyed competing even though I just initially wanted to beat my mates, competing just came as a side note. I’ve really enjoyed the competitions, I’m quite a competitive person anyway and I’ve enjoyed seeing how far I can actually get.”
Blunden, who works for Brightwell-based Town academy sponsors Evolve Financial Solutions, says there’s cash to be made from esports.
“For a tournament, the competitions that I try and get into, if you win you get £50,000, so there is some good money and you can get signed for football teams and by organisations as well.
“There is decent money now, I think it’s got potential for more as more football teams get involved and get full-time players. The Premier League is starting to get involved, so I think the only way is up really with that.”
He believes the Ultimate Quaran-Team Cup will help increase the profile, taking place as it does during a time when fans are desperate for a football fix: “One hundred per cent and hopefully taking Town far can raise that even further.”
Blunden is fielding a very attacking-looking Blues side: “Holy in goal, Vincent-Young at right-back, Chambers and Woolfenden at centre-back, Garbutt at left-back, Huws and Downes in CDM [central defensive midfield], then Kayden Jackson as right attacking mid, Alan Judge at CAM [central attacking midfield], Jack Lankester at LAM and James Norwood up front.
While teams’ attributes vary based on the qualities of their real world players, the sides for the Ultimate Quaran-Team Cup will be adjusted to be more equal.
“Teams are put so they’re all at the same statistics in games,” Blunden explained. “I think there is some difference, Man City’s players, for example, will be slightly better than Ipswich’s, I think it’s to try and make sure it’s not a dramatic difference.
“For Man City, Sergio Aguero or whoever is going to be better in-game than James Norwood, it’s just to make it a bit more even. They haven’t got exactly the same stats but it’s just to even it up a bit to give everyone more of a fair chance.”
The tournament is not being played on Blunden’s preferred platform but he says that shouldn’t make much of a difference.
“It’s being played on Play Station 4, whereas I usually play on Xbox,” he said. “The only difference is the controller. Does it put me at a disadvantage? Not really. The controller shape may be slightly different but it doesn’t really bother me. When I’m tuned into the game it’s no different.”
The first round tie is likely to be on Sunday although that’s not yet confirmed but it has to be played by Tuesday. Whenever it does take place it will be live on Twitch for fans to follow.
“Anyone can watch it. We’re still discussing whether it’s going to be on my Twitch channel or whether the club will open up their own and I’ll stream of that,” he said.
“Anyone can watch. There will be tweets put out when we get a confirmed date and time. It’s being discussed but due to the time difference, it’s not as simple as saying 7pm because it would be 6am their time. We’re trying to do it so it’s a good time for both players.”
Town were drawn away when the tie came out of the hat, which Blunden says has no effect, although the long distance nature of the tie will have an impact.
“The only difference will be in-game connection can be slightly worse because we’re 10,000 miles apart so that’ll be the only difference,” he added.
“It’s not like playing someone in England or within Europe. That might be slightly different but I’ve been training to adapt to that anyway, so I should be all good to go on matchday.”
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