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How to Assemble a Good Team - The Guide

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How To Assemble A Good Team - The Guide

Wanting to build a team that you hope will succeed? Isn't always as easy a you think, is it? Well this thread will hopefully give you a few pointers in achieving that.

Whether you are challenging for honours in the England's Premier League, or desperately trying to avoid relegation from Singpaore's S League, (or some other random league and country, you choose of course!), then the same principals apply - building a team that can win you matches is how to do it.

Enough rambling on now, time to jump into things.

I'm not going to lie, this isnt all of my work. I have worked alongside Tomtuck01 to put this together and this is a collection of both of our work so thanks to him for all the help :thup:

The Formation

"How has the formation and tactics got anything to do with assembling a good team?!" I hear you ask? Well, this should be the first place you start, as you can't just throw good players together in any old formation and expect them to do well. Whether you wish to play a defensive 5-4-1 or some barmy over the top 2-3-1-4 attacking system, then you have to decide on this before you start picking player roles, and deciding how you want to play.

In choosing the formation(s) you have to consider the level you are playing at. Lets be honest, you can't play as Guiseley AFC in the Blue Square North and hope to play like Barcelona, so don't go for a 3-4-3 and expect them to play beautiful tiki-taka football - it won't work.

So think about what level ou are at in the footballing world, and choose a formation that you feel will help you achieve your goals.


Now, as I eluded to above, there's no point trying to play beautiful passing football on some horror pitch in the the Blue Square North/South. Conversley, playing an out and out long ball style in the Premier League is limiting your opportunities to score - if there's a beautiful pitch available, then use it.

Before you start building your starting XI you have to decide how you want to play - you wouldn't sign Xavi and then decide to play a direct style. So choosing your teams desired style of play before slotting in the players is the best way to go.

The Goalkeeper - The Last Line Of Defence

I don't think I need to go into too much detail on this - we all know what makes a good goalkeeper. Having said that, the level you are at and the style you play can somewhat dictate what you want to look for in a goalkeeper.

If you are looking to play a short passing game, then signing a goalkeeper who can play the "Sweeper Keeper" role would probably be the way to go. Make sure he has decent passing and first touch attributes, as you don't want your centre back rolling the ball back to him and his touch taking the ball into the path of an on-rushing striker!

Playing lower down the leagues you are more likely to face sides who play alot of long balls and look to get crosses into the box for a big target man, so signing a goalkeeper who is going to dominate in the air, (i.e. has good aerial ability), would be advisable.

The Defence

For me, this is most crcuial part of any team. Yes, many will argue that you can't win games if you don't score goals. But at the same time, you can't lose games if you don't concede goals. Every great manager builds from the back - there's no point paying £20million for a striker who will score twice every week if your defence represents a bunch of statues that the opposition can walk past.

Centre Backs

Now, as I keep suggeting, how you want your team to play dictates what you want to look for in a player, and that is exactly the same with defenders. If you are looking to play a passing game like Swansea, then there is no point in playing two lumbering centre halves who struggle to know what day of the week it is, nevermind pass the ball five yards.

So, what do you need to look for? Well for any central defender there are three key technical attributes that you need to immediately look for; Heading, Marking, and Tackling. Whether you are wanting to play a particular style, these three things are the most important technical attributes for any central defender. If you are looking to play a passing style, then having solid Passing, Technique, and First Touch attributes would be advisable.

On the physical front, good Speed is needed, but I personally don't feel it is essential for a centre back to be as fast as Usain Bolt. Now I personally look for my teams to play a shorter, more compact passing style, so speed wise anything above 12 is acceptable to me. A more important physical attribute is Jumping. In Football Manager, this is a crucial attribute for winning headers, maybe even more crucial than the heading attribute its self. It is therefoe vital to look for a centre back with a jumping attribute that is, in my opinion, at a minimum of 14.

Mentally, any central defender needs to be fairly Brave and Aggresive. After all, there's no point having a centre back who is scared to make a tackle or put his head in where it hurts! Decisions and Concerntration are also vital mental skills, and being able to concerntrate also links into Positioning - if he's standing on the right wing, he isn't going to be much help at stopping the oppositions strikers! Having a central defender who panics under pressure isn't advisable either, so a fairly high, (anything above 15 in my opinion), Composure attribute is very important.


Most teams are set up for fullbacks to support the midfield and front line when on the attack, but also expect them to get back and defend when the ball is lost. This is why I see the Stamina attribute as one of the most crucial things for a fullback to have. The same can be said for Speed, but like with central defenders I don't think being rapid is essential, so anything above 13 is what I'm usually happy with.

A solid Crossing stat is preferrable, but not vital. I'm personally happy with anything above 10. However, if you are looking for your fullbacks to be very attacking, then having at crossing stat at around 14/15 is the way you want to be. At the same time, decent Dribbling, (around 12 is ok), is something you want to look for in an attacking fullback.

In terms of defending, Tackling is obviously fairly important, but Positioning is for me much more so. Your fullback needs to have the sense not to took in too much when the ball is on the other side of the field, so a stat of 12/13 or more is the least you should be looking for. An attribute that is often overlooked is Workrate. If your fullback is going to be bombing forward, then he's going to need to get back aswell. The level for workrate then needs to be around 14 or above. If not you will exposed by the opposition wingers if you lose the ball and they launch a counter attack.

The Midfield

A massive area of the any team to think about. The midfield can do anything and everything, from offering greater defensive stability, to being the creative driving force of your team, or even a huge goalscoring threat. The possibilities for the midfield are mind boggling; some like to use Three Defensie Midfielders (DM), others a host Attacking Midfielders (AM). The more traditional might prefer a flat four, as this offers a nice balance between attack and defence. I prefer to play atleast one DM though, as this offers a great screen infront of the central defenders. Of course, this is up to you!

Defensive Midfielders

This is a position I think is crucial on FM, and I have to say that no matter which team I am, and no matter which formation I play with, I ALWAYS use a defensive midfielder. Your defensive midfielder, whether you set him as that or an anchor man, is the player who screens the back four and protects them. Therefore, I think the positioning attribute is an essential attribute. Other attributes I like to look out for alongside this on the mental side of things concentration, work rate, decisions and anticipation. Your defensive midfielder needs to be so focused and switched on at all times, because if not, then it essentially allows the opposition midfield all the space in the world to cause an impact on your time.

Your defensive midfielder also needs to have a certain degree of strength and stamina. This is so they can muscle the opposition off the ball, and also be able to screen the back four and cover the pitch to good effect. The final attribute I feel you need to look out for is tackling. Your defensive midfielder will contribute a lot in terms of tackles throughout the game, so having a high attribute in this department gives him a better chance of winning possession.

Centre Midfielders

The midfield on FM can be one of many different roles. This is from Central Midfielder, Box to Box Midfielder, Ball-Winning Midfield, Deep-Lying Playmaker, Advanced Playmaker. That is a lot of options to consider when signing players to fit into your formation. What I would say is that no matter which role you decide to set any of your central midfielders to, he needs to have a high degree of passing. Your midfielders are the biggest contributers in terms of passing for your side, so I feel it is essential that they have a stat of at least 16 in order to do so effectively. If you consider someone like Xabi Alonso who could pick the ball up anywhere on the field and pass the ball under all kinds of pressure, his passing attribute will be very high. Another stat I like to be on the better side of 15 is creativity. Your midfield is where all the magic happens. Whether it be a 30 yard pass, a 20 yard pass to put your forward through on goal, or a ball into the channels to release your winger, your midfield is where it comes from. To have a higher attribute in creativity means that you are more likely to unlock defences, and by doing so creating more chances on goal. To have full effect of these high attributes, a midfielder also needs to have a good first touch. There is no point in having a Xabi Alonso or Joe Allen in the team who can pass for fun, if they cant control a ball to save their lives. I also like to look for central midfielders with a decent degree of tackling. Now this does not mean that they have to be the greatest tackler in the world, but they do need to be competent putting their foot in. 12+ should be ok.

Each role of midfielder has numerous different attributes which play a big factor in their role, but no matter which you are looking for, these base attributes are the ones which you should be looking out for first of all.

Attacking Midfielders

Now I am not going to lie...I like a good attacking midfielder. I love the way that they are in the whole between defence and midfield and are able to cause all sorts of problems for teams. As a youth, this was my position as a footballer, and I love seeing a good attacking midfielder in action.

For me, I like to look for an attacking midfielder to have a good first touch and passing attribute. Like a central midfielder, they are going to be one of the players required to unlock defences so they need to have these attributes. It would also be beneficial to have a good creativity stat. Although I dont feel the creativity is massively essential for an attacking midfielder, it is a good attribute to have, especially if you go wit an advanced playmaker. Around the 14/15 mark is good enough in my eyes.

When I think of an attacking midfielder, I think of Steven Gerrard under Rafa Benitez. When he played off Fernando Torres he was scary. In the prime of his career and just immense. What do you think of when you think of Steven Gerrard? Well, for me I think decisions, workrate, team work and long shots. We all know Steven Gerrard has a thunderbolt or two in him now dont we?!?! The stats I have listed are the other attributes I feel are needed to be a good attacking midfielder. All these in and around the 14 mark will give you a very solid attacking midfielder.


Now we all know one of, if not the greatest winger in the modern era is Cristiano Ronaldo....but he is just a freak of nature. I wouldnt even say try and look out for a player like him because they are impossible to find. When I look of a winger I think of what I believe a winger should be. Someone who gets the ball out on the touchline, knocks it past the defender, chases after it and whips the ball into the box for the strikers. Essentially, what I wish Stewart Downing was for us!!!

Therefore, the most essential stat for a winger is crossing. That is afterall what they are employed for right. Do get a cross into the box they need to beat a man to create the space to enable them to do so, which means I feel they need a good level of dribbling, as well as acceleration and pace. These are the base attributes you should look out for when searching for a winger. It would also be a good thing to keep an eye on the decision attribute too. Decisions are an important factor for a winger, because we all know how frustrated people can get with the likes of Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott.

The Forwards - There To Score Goals (Unless You're Luis Suarez)

Yeah, yeah, I got a pun in. I'm a Liverpool fan too. So, the pun is that Suarez is a very frustrating striker when it comes to finishing, and that is his job. What I am getting at is that you should be looking out for a striker who puts the ball in the back of the net. No matter if they are a poacher, target man, deep-lying forward, advanced forward, what ever, a striker MUST have a high attribute in finishing. I always like to have a striker who has at least 15 in this area. Even if your striker has finishing of 15+, he needs one other thing to take advantage of being in good positions and that is composure. As I said in the quirky little pun, Luis Suarez is a very frustrating striker as he lacks composure infront of goal. One of the best finishers in recent memory for me is Robbie Fowler. The man could finish from anywhere. Not only was he a good finisher, but he was so composed infront of goal.

I think it is also important for a striker to have good off the ball stats. When you look at someone like Ruud Van Nistelrooy, he was brilliant off the ball. He found himself in the right positions at the right time and that was due to his work off the ball. This enables your striker to get in the best goalscoring positions. This could also link into the anticipation stat in the opportunity that a strike is parried out by the goalkeeper. The term 'he anticipated that one' is used quite frequent by commentators.

These are what I consider the 'key' stats for a forward, but it is also worth looking at strength, heading, pace, acceleration and dribbling to be an effective all-round striker.

Within the Good Player & Team Guide community we have threads which can link you to finding good players. These are:

Good Goalkeepers

Good Full-Backs

Good Centre Backs

Good Midfielders

Good Wingers

Good Strikers

I hope this will be of some benefit to users and I hope you have enjoyed reading.

Once again I would like to thank Tomtuck01 for his help in putting this thread together.

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This was a very good read and covered almost everything people should be looking out for when signing players, generally.

I do feel though that as important as having the right players with the right attributes is for building a good squad, there are a few other factors to consider such as preferred moves and personality. For example, a goalscoring midfielder might be better if he had the "Arrives Late in Penalty Area" preferred move as well high attributes in Off The Ball, Anticipation and Finishing. Or if you want a solid, defensive fullback you would probably want to avoid one that has "Gets Forward Whenever Possible" or try to get rid of it.

Personality wise, I've had some excellent players who aren't as good stats-wise as others, but because their personality is so good, they still perform to similar standards. Moreover, a team of determined players is more likely to deal better with adversity; ambitious players will improve quicker and possibly look for a move away if their current clubs aren't matching their ambition; temperamental players or troublemakers may require certain management styles to get the best out of them, etc.

I also feel that a truly good team has players who can play more than one position and more than one formation, since it means you won't have to be restricted to just one way of playing and can cover for injuries better. I've found it very useful to have defensive midfielders who can also play central midfield and possibly even in defence, or a centre back who can also play full back, or an attacking midfielder or striker than can also play on the flanks.

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