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The world of online bingo has an unlikely set of devotees: foreign football players using the game to learn English.
Manchester United’s 19-year-old striker Anthony Martial is scoring goals for fun, but is managing to do so without meaningful communication, as he knows just a few words of English and is struggling to learn the language.
His French team-mate Morgan Schneiderlin has given Martial the unorthodox advice to take up online bingo as a way to speed up the learning process. Simple phrases, repetition and graphical back up make the world of online bingo a positive learning experience for the young Frenchman and is helping him pick up enough English to get by on the pitch. It’s hard to imagine a clique of highly paid footballers logging on to online bingo, or heading down to the local halls to compete for a cash prize, but bingo has legions of unlikely fans. The online revolution has helped bingo in its quest to shed its rather grey image and now there are a whole host of young and trendy celebrities that admit to a secret passion for bingo. Prince William ignored the online bingo halls and went straight for the real deal while on a break from military training. Singer Robbie Williams and Hollywood icon Catherine Zeta Jones is also partial to a game. Kerry Katona has been known to head down the halls to cross off a few numbers and even though Sharon Osborne is rich beyond all our wildest dreams, she still likes to stay true to her roots and have a game of bingo from time to time. Bingo has attracted some big name players in the last few years and it’s also done what many British music acts simply cannot match and cracked America. Mischa Barton, Darryl Hannah, Russell Crowe and Paris Hilton all attended a charity event in Hollywood. Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan also started hosting monthly bingo nights in his Chicago tea shop. So bingo has some serious players waiting intently for their numbers to come up and now it can count one of the best young footballers in the country among its devotees.