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Tactical Discussion : England Euro 202(1)


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I love trying to create systems that get the best out of the players, rather than the other way round. So I'm always interested in International management. It's a shame we won't get any International football this year, but considering how much fun Summer 2018 was, and that the final of Euro 2020 was going to be played today, I thought I'd start a discussion based on how you would've lined up with England this tournement. (in FM terms of course :))

*I'm going to discard current injuries, as we wouldn't have known what would've happened in a parallel universe.

Seeing as it's pretty clear that England are far better attacking than defending, I'm going to start from the top, and build around the forwards.

Attack

I think considering Kane's and Tottenham's relatively poor form this season, the first player on the team sheet would've been Sterling. He's a key player for one of the best teams in the world, and his England form has improved massively since the 2018 World Cup. I see him as being a goal threat, so probably an IFa. With a goalscoring winger, I prefer to use supporting strikers, luckily, most of England's best forwards can do much more than score goals. The two obvious choices would be Danny Ings or Harry Kane. I don't think it would be a good idea to pair the two though, considering that a 424 would be very aggresive, and I'd rather not move Sterling further away from the goal into more a midfield winger role. I would honestly love to see Danny Ings leading the line for England. Not only has he shown how good a finisher he is, non Saints fans may not realise how complete he is as a player. Even though Kane hasn't had such a great season, he is genuinely a world class forward, and I'm not sure you can justify dropping him. His play style also compliments Sterling perfectly. I'd probably play Kane as a DLFa, dropping a little into the number 10 spot, and playing penetrating passes. I remember watching England v Spain in the Nation's league, and he played this exact role to perfection. It's also important to have a quality penalty taker in the starting lineup, and Kane is this player.

Because of Kane dropping deep, I'd rather not use an attacking midfielder, seeing as they may compete for the same space. Because of this, and due to having two natural goalscorers already, I think the right forward spot has to be a more creative player. And I don't think there are many better options in world football than Sancho at the moment. He can use his excellent dribbling and vision to create space for himself, before playing a dangerous cross / through ball to one of the other two forwards.

This is what I think the attack should look like:

image.thumb.png.e4d7112d676b684b8360cf364c5b28bf.png

What's even better, is that there is a lot of depth in attack, Ings wouldn't be a big drop in quality for the striker position, Rashford is also a left IFa and someone like Grealish could also play a supporting wide forward role, if Sancho needs a rest.

Midfield

This is definately the most difficult part in my opinion. England's midfield as far less quality than the attack. One interesting idea would be to play two roaming / attacking midfielders, with one left behind the anchor and control the midfield. Like Alli + Lingard + Henderson in WC 2018. With Henderson playing the same role, and players like Maddison / Mount / Alli (although I'm not sure how good he's been in recent years) / Oxlade Chamberlain. This can work against teams that aren't very good, but could lead to the midfield getting swamped in the later stages (Like how England got overran in the midfield against Croatia, but created lots of chances against the lower ranked teams). However, seeing as the attack has a bit of everything, and how Kane can basically play the role of two players as a scorer and creator, I'd rather the midfield be more like Liverpool's currently. So basically, players that can control the flow of the game, and cover every blade of grass.

I think that the first midfielder on the teamsheet has to be Henderson. Even if you think he's not that great of a player, his leadership + workrate + stamina are an asset to any side. I think that whether or not we use one of our natural roaming midfield players, like those in the previous paragraph, should defend on whether not we can use a natural DM, to anchor the midfield while the likes of Maddison / Mount etc go roaming.

I would like to play with a midfield three, but I genuinely don't thnk we have a good enough DM to justify this. The three options off the top of my head are Dier, Rice and Kalvin Phillips. Firstly, I think England should be able to do better than a Championship player, if they want to make an impact at a tournement. Secondly, I haven't seen much of West Ham and Spurs this season, but they're both having very poor seasons by their standards, and I don't believe that Rice or Dier have been standout players at all. So I think the final formation for me has got to be a 523. I may be biased here, as a Saints fan, but due to playing in a midfield 2, I think that the second midfielder should be a more technical player (seeing as Henderson can be more of the workhorse), but also hardworking. Like a DLPs/d. The first player that springs to mind for me is James Ward-Prowse. I see lots of England fans crying out for a creative deeper lying centre midfielder, like in WC 2018, names like Winks + Shelvey + Wilshere were being thrown about. I think that James Ward-Prowse is much better than all of these players. For ages, he was a bit of a Lingard/Walcott sort of player (people always thinking he's younger than he is, as he always looked a bit away from reaching his potential.) But for the last two seasons, he's been one of Southampton's standout players. He's always been technically good, but now he's become very well rounded. He's also one of the best free kick takers in the world at the moment.

This would be my midfield:

image.png.96268b0741d5a7550c667147ef862541.png

Against lower level teams in the group stage, I would probably play a similar midifeld to England in WC 2018, with the two free 8's being Maddison and maybe Mount, but I'm not too sure.

Defence

I think at back 3 / 5 suits England's best defenders quite well. Harry Maguire is a quality player, but his biggest weakness has always been a lack of pace. He also loves to go on dribbles before playing a pass, an extra centreback to cover for this can mean that he has an extra few seconds to get back into position, as well as allowing us to keep at least a back two when Maguire goes on one of his runs. Trent Alexander Arnold is world class in my opinion, and would be the first name on the teamsheet in defence. He can provide the midfield with some creativity that may be lacking, and the third centreback can cover for him when he attacks, which is important without a quality DM. One of the other centrebacks has to be Joe Gomez, you can't leave out a starter for one of the best teams in pl history. He provides the pace that Maguire lacks, while also being good on the ball and generally solid. 

The final three positions are those that I am least sure on. I think that Chilwell and Shaw are both similar players and can do a good job at left wing back. And although John Stones may be the obvious choice for the final centreback, I personally don't rate him that much, and Pep doesn't seem to either, considering he's started less than half of city's games this season (although I don't know if he is currently injured.) Ben Mee also seems to be doing a good job at Burnely, captaining them to 9th place on a very tight budget. Maybe Mee's general defensive ability could be a nice contrast to Gomez's and Maguire's skill on the ball. For the goalkeeper, I generally haven't been keeping up with how England's keepers are doing, but I'd be inclined to go with Henderson, considering how well Sheffield United have played this season, and considering that I've heard many good things about him. 

This would be my final lineup:

image.thumb.png.bb57dfefe54a40bcf77ced9286df79c6.png

 

*I'd tell TAA to stay narrower, considering that Sancho will stay wider, and the midfield could sometimes be a bit lightweight. I'd also be tempted to set Henderson as a CARs or a CMs, but I'd have to play a few games first.

I'm not quite sure what instructions I'd use, I think that JWP and Henderson could make a mean midfield duo and that we could make ourselves really frustrating to play against, by pressing intensly + getting stuck in + marking tightly. I also think that we should play out of the back, considering we have some technical defenders + GK, and the team seem to be doing this quite well irl. I don't think that we should play a possession game, considering our relatively weak midfield compared to some other top sides. Instead, I think we should utilise set pieces, like in 2018, with the 3CB's + Kane, with Ward-Prowse taking the dead balls.

Maybe against smaller teams, when we use our midfield 3, we can play some prettier, passing football. But I don't think we're good enough to get far playing this way.

What do you guys think? How would you have lined up with England in this tournement? I'm tempted to sim to next year in FM20 and try it out and let you guys know how it worked out.

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I haven't check TAA attributes yet but is it viable that you play him in central midfield? Of course if we are going the realistic route we will not want to do that but if we want to get the best out of this team given that England are not short of good right backs it will make sense to try TAA in midfield.

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26 minutes ago, zyfon5 said:

I haven't check TAA attributes yet but is it viable that you play him in central midfield? Of course if we are going the realistic route we will not want to do that but if we want to get the best out of this team given that England are not short of good right backs it will make sense to try TAA in midfield.

I was definitely thinking about that..

issue is his positioning + marking + tackling kind of attributes are no better than some of the other centre midfielders we have. In the 12-13 range. It would also mean that we’d lose lots of his crossing, which could be a good way of creating chances

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1 hour ago, Jack722 said:

I was definitely thinking about that..

issue is his positioning + marking + tackling kind of attributes are no better than some of the other centre midfielders we have. In the 12-13 range. It would also mean that we’d lose lots of his crossing, which could be a good way of creating chances

Have you considered using a 4231 or a 433 with a more attacking midfielder behind Kane? That way Maddison/Alli/Mount could start depending on the opposition which will give flexibility and allow the CB to rotate more.

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3 hours ago, zyfon5 said:

Have you considered using a 4231 or a 433 with a more attacking midfielder behind Kane? That way Maddison/Alli/Mount could start depending on the opposition which will give flexibility and allow the CB to rotate more.

I considered both, who would you start in midfield for both of these?

my issue without 3 centre backs, and with first choice fullbacks likely wanting to push up, is who will provide defensive cover? I rate Maguire and Gomez as a pair, but neither of them are world class and may struggle to provide solidity without a good defensive player in midfield (like a Fernandinho) or defensive full backs. Especially against a team like France, or Portugal. 
 

But I do think that I’m a bit of a defence first sort of manager, so it could just be me. Although, I would play a 4atb formation and utilise attacking minded midfielders, like Maddison etc when we face a smaller team.

Edited by Jack722
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Providing said Euro's would run in the FM Match Engine, I'd run with something like this. 

  • I don't rate England's pure defensive midfield options. Henderson is capable enough defensively so I'd use him as the holder. I'll keep him as a support role to reduce gaps in midfield and better utilise his quality on the ball. Grealish and Maddison will serve as free-eights, one offering vertical movement (B2B) and one offering horizontal movement (MEZ). It's better than that Lingard, Alli, Henderson abomination Southgate used at the World Cup anyway! :D
  • Sterling and Kane will serve as the team's primary scorers. I thought Sterling was awful going through the middle in the World Cup, I don't think he has the touch for it - playing out wide allows him to drift inside and get in to scoring positions (which he's much better at). Kane will start deep to utilise his link up play, then move forward to get on the end of chances. Sancho will also cut inside to clear the lane for Trent, but I'll still be looking for him to both assist and score

Attack is this team's best form of defence, so will set Team Instructions up like; 

- Attacking Mentality

- Play out of Defence. Pass into Space. Look for Overlap. 

- Counter Press. Counter.

- Higher Defensive Line, Line of Engagement. Close Down Much More. 

Greenwood and Foden may make the starting XI this time next year. We'll see!
 

Screenshot 2020-07-11 at 22.50.15.png

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10 hours ago, Spiegel said:

I don't rate England's pure defensive midfield options. Henderson is capable enough defensively so I'd use him as the holder. I'll keep him as a support role to reduce gaps in midfield and better utilise his quality on the ball. Grealish and Maddison will serve as free-eights, one offering vertical movement (B2B) and one offering horizontal movement (MEZ). It's better than that Lingard, Alli, Henderson abomination

I just checked over the attributes over some of the possible DM’s. Tbh, in FM terms, by looking at the player profiles, I’d be happy playing one of Dier or Rice as a holder as I think they’re good enough. This would allow Henderson to use his energy more as a BBM, and then I could bring in someone like Maddison to be another creator alongside Sancho.

Although if that happened irl, I’d be a little skeptical. Hopefully one of the possible DM’s steps up more next season, as England have been playing a 433 recently and I do think that they look pretty good.

image.png.08f67536ede30713d9f48b464d10c562.png

I like the look of this. And is probably what I’d play in the group stages against smaller sides, although I’d be tempted to bring in someone like Mount or Alli (as long as he rediscovers his goal scoring form) in one of the midfield slots, as I think they have a better eye for goal, which I’d like considering that Kane likes to create chances rather than be a pure goalscorer.

Id also probably remove pass into space, as I don’t think we have the all-round pace throughout the team to justify it. Also, Kane and Grealish should be making these sort of passes anyway.

Edited by Jack722
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23 hours ago, Jack722 said:

This would be my final lineup:

image.thumb.png.bb57dfefe54a40bcf77ced9286df79c6.png

 

*I'd tell TAA to stay narrower, considering that Sancho will stay wider, and the midfield could sometimes be a bit lightweight. I'd also be tempted to set Henderson as a CARs or a CMs, but I'd have to play a few games first.

I'm not quite sure what instructions I'd use, I think that JWP and Henderson could make a mean midfield duo and that we could make ourselves really frustrating to play against, by pressing intensly + getting stuck in + marking tightly. I also think that we should play out of the back, considering we have some technical defenders + GK, and the team seem to be doing this quite well irl. I don't think that we should play a possession game, considering our relatively weak midfield compared to some other top sides. Instead, I think we should utilise set pieces, like in 2018, with the 3CB's + Kane, with Ward-Prowse taking the dead balls.

Maybe against smaller teams, when we use our midfield 3, we can play some prettier, passing football. But I don't think we're good enough to get far playing this way.

What do you guys think? How would you have lined up with England in this tournement? I'm tempted to sim to next year in FM20 and try it out and let you guys know how it worked out.

Slightly worrying when JWP is in the starting lineup and it isn't due to injuries!  England really lack BBM/BWM type midfielders these days, they're either DMs who converted from DC (Rice, Dier), light weight link players (Winks, JWP) or attacking midfielders pulled deeper to play in a 3 (Grealish, Maddison, Mount, Ox, Alli).   This is the main issue with a central midfield two, we only have Henderson who I think can play in a two and even he doesn't do that for his club.  It would have to be quite aggressive defensively as more of a 343, if get pushed deep and its a 541 thats going to leave a lot of work for Kane to do on his own.  If you leave Sterling high theres too much works for a CM pair to do.

I think i'd prefer Rice as a CM-De type in MCR to cover the central midfielder area and let TAA come inside to that MCR/AMCR area as IWB with Gomez covering that DR area since he can play DR.  Then Henderson can play that CM/BBM role with Chilwell holding the width.  TAA can take set pieces so not like need JWP set piece abilities to start  him over other midfielders.

It would be nice to get one of those more creative CM/AM's into the side, especially against weaker sides but with a back 3/5 I can't see how it would work without dropping a wide forward for the 532 used at the last tournament.  I don't think its worth dropping Sancho for Grealish, Mount, Maddison etc.  Would be more likely to go to a 433, dropping a CB and bringing in one of those attack minded midfielders as a third CM more on the left to leave space for TAA to invert from the right with the DM + Henderson covering as needed.

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1 hour ago, Jack722 said:

 I’d be happy playing one of Dier or Rice as a holder as I think they’re good enough

Dier's passing isn't bad, the main issue is his body positioning when receiving the ball, lack of agility to turn which then hinders his ability to progress the ball.  I'm not sure if it was just a bad game from him but I remember us trying this and it was horrendous.

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I don't mind the 343 too much although Stones' form is questionable at the moment. I'd actually go 433 with Maddison, JWP and Hendo in midfield. I think that'd be a good balance. Grealish would occupy the same space as Sterling and Chilwell if he plays where Maddison tends to be a bit more central. Hendo and JWP could alternate in midfield depending on the game. If we need more space against deeper lying opponents we could have JWP holding and Hendo making unselfish runs. If we need a bit more stability then Hendo and JWP hold and it almost becomes a 4231 in attack.

I will echo the midfield point though, I think England lack that one player who could be the difference next summer. The rest of the team is definitely quality though.

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22 minutes ago, summatsupeer said:

 This is the main issue with a central midfield two, we only have Henderson who I think can play in a two and even he doesn't do that for his club.

tbh, I haven't actually played so much FM on the 2020 database, so I was going off what I had seen in games this season, as well as player form etc. In real life, JWP has been playing in a midfield 2, throughout the second half of the season. He's also covered the most distance in the league this season. So irl, I think that the pairing can work. Although, looking at his FM20 stats, his defensive attributes aren't as good as I thought they'd be, so I'd be a little skeptical playing him in a 2 in FM. So I guess we're both partly right.

I also quite like the look of Rice in FM20, despite West Ham's struggles irl. So I'd actually be tempted to play a DM to try and fit in one of our many more creative midfielders (like Maddison). This is what I'd like to line up with, only taking into account FM attributes:

image.thumb.png.4f8dedd10d5c6c62263b98332a089d09.png

I actually think that this is very well balanced, and as the potential to go far.

  • We can be a threat on the break, with the pace of Sancho and Sterling, as they can stay up a bit more due to the midfield 3
  • The 433, especially with our ballplaying centrebacks + SK, should easily be able to play out the back (Rice isn't the best passer, but has 17 composure, which can be really important when under pressure. Maddison as a playmaker will also always be looking to provide a passing option.
    • If we're facing too much pressure, we can always go long to Kane, while who isn't a target man, I think has sufficient strength + bravery + Jumping reach to compete with centrebacks. He will also have Sterling and Sancho to provide layoffs to. 
  • TAA + Maddison + Sancho + Kane can all create chances. With TAA given the freedom as a CWB to come inside to use his passing, or stay out wide to provide crosses.
  • Sterling + Kane should be able to score lots of goals with the service. Only issue here with me is that we may need one more player to look to score goals. (Maybe change Maddison to a CMa?) 
  • The midfield provides everything it needs to: Creativity (Maddison), Energy + Leadership (Henderson), Stability and defensive cover (Rice).
  • Maguire can cover areal threats, while Gomez can cover for Maguire's lack of agility.
  • While Sterling will likely come central to try and score goals, Chilwell has the all round ability to attack and defend on the left flank as a WBs.
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So I just played a couple tournements as England in Euro 2020, using this database that starts in May 2020.

The first time I played a possession orientated 433. It worked great in the group stages, but we ended up getting outplayed by Russia in the first knockout round.

I tried again from the start , as the first time was a bit dissapointing. The second time, I tried to go more direct into Kane, kind of like England did in the 3-2 win against Spain in the Nation's League. It worked pretty well. The only other difference was that we played Henderson and Dier as part of a midfield 3, instead of dual mezzalas. This is how we lined up:

image.thumb.png.7788a28ce9a24012f50e095ada1282c9.png

We also got to the final

image.thumb.png.192dce76d425c3702d51e17abfde4565.png

I think this was a good option FM-wise, seeing as we don't have a quality deep lying playmaker to control games, like most other top sides do.

We probably should've won the whole thing, but Belgium took us to extra time, and on the day we faced Italy, we pretty much had no midfield, and were missing Sancho, Sterling and Rashford, due to injuries and suspensions. So we were expectadley outplayed. Weirdly enough, Rice had a 2 game ban that somehow lasted the whole tournement (?!?!) anyone know what this could’ve been?

Guys the fitness of my squad was horrendous in this tournement. And you can see that my intensity is only half full. I’ve done one other international tournament way back in FM15 and I remember the same thing. I was rotating 3-4 players a game, and by the final, I pretty much had to play a b team due to mostly fitness and injuries. Is this expected? Or is it something worth raising in the bugs forum? I don’t seem to remember international teams irl having to rotate every game.

Edited by Jack722
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I've really enjoyed picking up international sides as a sub-plot or sorts in my main saves in previous FMs. Especially when international sides are influenced by regions into the second tournament cycles and beyond.

With the current England side I'd say with our attacking talent we have to play a front three and even then some would be left out. Our best creative midfielders are best in a midfield three in my opinion, and such Dele Alli would not start - or necessarily be guaranteed in the squad. So this really leaves a 4-3-3 or a 3-4-3/5-2-3 as the options.

In terms of holding midfielders I would consider Declan Rice as our only real option, particularly in bigger games where more makeshift options of Jordan Henderson and Harry Winks wouldn't be trusted. A slightly more unconventional option could be one of our more technical centre backs, such as John Stones. However, until he plays there at club level its something I'd be wary of in real life. This may not be the case in FM though where I'd be more likely to try it.

I'd lean towards a 4-3-3 still in all probability though as I'm not sure we have three centre backs good enough for a back three/five, although in games we'd likely transition between the two. TIs would be similar in both. Out of possession we wouldn't press too high or hold too high of a line in order to give or pacey forwards space to attack into and because of (mainly) Harry Maguire. We'd probably press more urgently or alternatively implement a front five split block. We'd definitely counter in transition, with other TIs on a situational basis. In possession we'd likely pass shorter but at a higher tempo in order to create space effectively, pass into space and run at defence would be adding situationally too. We'd probably play out of defence too, although this isn't certain; its between PooD, the transitional TIs of distribute to CBs and FBs or take short kicks.

In terms of roles and player selection we'd probably look like this:

4-3-3:

20200712_192654.thumb.jpg.27b69fc5ef666ecf77bca85287b8d7e0.jpg

In goal Nick Pope pushes Dean Henderson all the way. At centre half, Joe Gomez plays a covering role to compensate for Maguire's pace. Trent Alexander-Arnold's role varies according to who plays at AMR and their role.

The right hand side is heavily Liverpool inspired when Raheem Sterling plays as a RMD. When Sancho plays he'd likely play as a W-S and Trent would be encouraged to come inside more as an IWB-S, or possibly IWB-A. The left has one of our more creative midfielders playing as more of a "free 8" as they do for the their clubs, with the same applied to whoever plays at AML. 

Kane would play a more supportive role as per the Spain game in the Nations League.

3-4-3:

20200712_200328.thumb.jpg.819baf5fbac1ec77b5da8af140ffad52.jpg

In defence, Maguire would play centrally in order to allow pacier players to help out the wing backs. Mings and Tomori potentially edge out Dunk due to their capabilities as full backs, which would help when defending the wings.

In midfield, Henderson would likely play a more disciplined role and his partner is up for debate. I'm not convinced Maddison, Mount or Foden are responsible enough defensively to play in a two man midfield, so maybe a more responsible James Ward-Prowse type player may be useful. Although one of the three creative options I've mentioned could play as a more stationary AP-S to good effect.

Up top, Sancho would be first choice at AMR as a W-S so that Trent could come inside more as an IWB and help control games. The AML role stays the same as in the 4-3-3. Harry Kane becomes more attacking due to the fact that fewer players will be running past him than in the 4-3-3.

Edited by OJ403
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What I am certain about is that I would definitely play Declan Rice, either in a 2 or 3-men midfield. In case I opt for the 4123 wide, my setup would most probably look like this:

DLF/S (Kane)

IF/A (Sterling)                                         IW/S (Grealish)

BWMsu (Rice)      MEZ/A(Maddison)

DLP/D (Hendo)

WB/S (Chilwell)  CD/D (Maguire) CD/C (Gomez)  WB/S (TAA)

SK/D (Pickford)

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I played pretty much exactly @Jack722's wingback plus front three formation, but with Grealish or Maddison roaming as playmaker and Henderson holding. Trent at wingback doesn't need such an aggressive setting either, he'll get into the box plenty with his attributes anyway.

Got a bit of an FMing from Spain in the quarters, but went on to win stuff once the likes of Tomori and Foden had matured 

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To be honest, it's quite easy to look at this England team and replicate a Liverpool-type setup.

DLF/S (Kane)

IF/A (Sterling)                                         IF/A (Greenwood)

BWMsu (Hendo)      MEZ/S(Maddison)

DLP/D (Rice)

WB/A (Chilwell)  CD/D (Maguire) CD/C (Gomez)  WB/A (TAA)

SK/D (Pickford)

Have Kane as the drop off man and allow Sterling and Greenwood to cut inside and roam. Greenwood is competent with both feet which is an incredible attribute to have at the top level which gets him the nod over Sancho.

There's not need to pack the midfield full of creators, Rice sitting and Hendo's best games this season have been ahead of Fabinho so why not place him there? Have Maddison play as a creative outlet.

Give Chillwell and TAA license to bomb up the pitch. This gets the best out to TAA especially linking up with Maddison and Greenwood on that side.

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20 hours ago, Deego619 said:

To be honest, it's quite easy to look at this England team and replicate a Liverpool-type setup.

DLF/S (Kane)

IF/A (Sterling)                                         IF/A (Greenwood)

BWMsu (Hendo)      MEZ/S(Maddison)

DLP/D (Rice)

WB/A (Chilwell)  CD/D (Maguire) CD/C (Gomez)  WB/A (TAA)

SK/D (Pickford)

Have Kane as the drop off man and allow Sterling and Greenwood to cut inside and roam. Greenwood is competent with both feet which is an incredible attribute to have at the top level which gets him the nod over Sancho.

There's not need to pack the midfield full of creators, Rice sitting and Hendo's best games this season have been ahead of Fabinho so why not place him there? Have Maddison play as a creative outlet.

Give Chillwell and TAA license to bomb up the pitch. This gets the best out to TAA especially linking up with Maddison and Greenwood on that side.

I like the idea, and I can see this working in FM. Although I personally wouldn’t make Rice a playmaker as I think there’s others who are better on the ball.

My only real issue with that is defensively. Liverpool were incredibly inconsistent and leaky until they signed a world class centre back and keeper. Although in FM, I feel like you can get away with it more than in real life as long as you press high. Also, I think Liverpool’s other CM alongside Henderson (Wijnaldum/Keita) tends to be very hardworking and at least ‘good’ defensively. I’d have to check his attributes but idk if Maddison can cover that right side quite so well.

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