Six football bosses and stars who play Football Manager as Will Still shines

"I was just like a normal kid playing Football Manager…But what I realise now, the crazy thing is it's actually so realistic," Will Still joked in January.

Still had gone from behind the computer screen – playing Football Manager until 4am – to standing in Stade de Reims' technical area. And the Englishman has been the talk of the footballing world, with his Reims side on the longest unbeaten run in Europe's top five leagues.

Amazingly, in all of this, Reims have had to pay £22,000 each time he managed the side as he didn't yet have his Pro License, but that has since ended. And Daily Star Sport is looking at six other stars who love Football Manager.

Will Still

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Let's continue with Still – he played Football Manager as a kid, and recently told Sportbible: "I was alright at football but FM allowed me to have that glimpse of what it actually was like to manage a team."

It was the game that convinced Still to pursue a career in coaching, and he entered the footballing world as the coach of Preston North End's U14's side. It started the meteoric rise that took him onto the continent – and eventually to Ligue 1.

Still, who is a West Ham fan, has since been linked to the top job at the Hammers, and he owes it all to the video game.

Do you play Football Manager? Let us know in the comments section

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has yet to venture back into management since he was sacked by Manchester United back in 2021. However, speaking in 2016, when he was at Molde, Solskjaer admitted to playing the game – and it helped him a lot.

"It's a fantastic game, I have learned a lot about football. I have learned a lot about players, especially young talent. It resembles real life, when it comes to who will be good players. They have done incredible research," Solskjaer revealed.

He then added: "Many of my players play FIFA and Football Manager. I think it helps them to understand football better."

Ilkay Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan is still one of the best midfielders in the Premier League, but that hasn't stopped him from delivering into management with the game – however, his screen time might stop after he and his model wife welcomed their first child.

In January 2022, Gundogan uploaded a snap to social media of him playing FM – while simultaneously watching two separate games. In fact, even Manchester City have taken notice of Gundogan's managerial ability.

According to The Times, in 2020, staff at City believe Gundogan is destined to become a manager in real life.

Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann is Football Manager's forgotten fanatic since Will Still burst onto the scene late last year.

The Atletico Madrid man often speaks about his saves in the game, and he seems most proud of his Newcastle United save – which he proudly showed off on social media. Griezmann even joked to Kylian Mbappe that he'd brought him to the north east.

Unfortunately, for Newcastle fans, Mbappe responded: "Where? It is not very warm there!"

Ousmane Dembele

The second Frenchman on the list had a lot of spare time during France's victorious World Cup campaign in 2018, and he turned to Football Manager. Incredibly, Dembele was inspired by the Netflix series The Last Kingdom – a series about Vikings in Winchester.

Dembele proudly shows off his created club 'Winchester FC' – which he claimed had a "South American atmosphere". We're not sure if Dembele has ever been to Winchester, but it's more scones and tea than pyro and party.

Either way, his antics were picked up by Winchester City on Twitter, and the non-league side offered their congratulations: "Congratulations @Dembouz on reaching the final from all at @wincityfc!"

Jose Mourinho

Okay, we're ending this list with a very cheeky entry – because Jose Mourinho has never spoken about Football Manager.

However, during Tottenham Hotspur's All or Nothing documentary, eagle-eyes viewers spotted the Football Manager icon on Mourinho's toolbar when he was presenting to the squad. It lead fans to joke he had learned all he knows from the game.

While Andre Villas-Boas was at Chelsea, under Mourinho, he admitted to using the game to aid his scouting of potential signings.


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