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October 2044: Ben Austin - International breakthrough or sentimental selection?

The man in question is Ben Austin, an academy graduate who, prior to this post, has made 64 first team appearances for me, with all but one coming at this level. According to my staff, he's in the top 5 best players and also has the potential to be one of the best. However, his performances, this season, by average rating anyway, have left a lot to think about.

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As I said - his average rating is poor - just 6.62 across all competitions this season. This is the fifth lowest in my squad and second lowest to Vlad Ferencik of my regulars - although he's going through a very barren spell at the moment. Here are his ratings this season for the games where he has played long enough to register one as well as the rolling average:

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As you can see - Bournemouth and Villa aside, he's consistently below the average 7.0 mark yet isn't have a nightmare game like he did against the Cherries. The rolling average shows that he's been in a dip of form but, then again, we lost to Fulham, Liverpool and Arsenal - so he's not going to have played amazingly well in that time. The average Average Rating of my squad stands, currently, at about 6.89 but that is across all competitions and not just league games (where our record is W1 L1), which does put him below average in the squad. However, I want to see how he compares to the rest of the league, in particular, those in a similar position or role to him:

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Some interesting finds here. 

He's a regular in my team and is in the 60th percentile for minutes played, which is actually fourth in my squad so I'm, if he's doing something fundamentally badly, he's had the chance to to that a lot of times! Looking at his finishing stats - he's below where I'd want him to be. As an Advanced Playmaker in the MC role, albeit on support, I'd like him to be getting into scoring places - as the description of the role would suggest:

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He's not taking too many shots - just 7 this season (although we, as a team are 15th in terms of total shots taken) and obviously hasn't found the goal, yet. However, the xG he has created and the average xG per shot (a decent indication of where the shots come from, on average) is pretty good, signifying that he is finding that space between the lines in and around the edge of their area. However, combining the metrics with his attributes would probably answer why this is quite a poor return:

  • Finishing - 9
  • Long Shots - 12
  • Free Kicks - 9
  • Penalty Taking - 10

Not a single 'goalscoring' attribute there that I would consider to be good for this level (compare to my main scorers - Milianti: 16 Finishing, Richards: 17 Finishing and Ferencik: 16 Finishing).

So, how is he doing as a creator?

Lots of the ball, which is both good and bad. His role does attract the ball but we are 10th in pass completion as a team, 12th in possession and 3rd with passes complete as well as 11th best in terms of the amount of times we have lost possession. I think that we play the ball to Austin too much and his trait of Dictating the Tempo does stop us from penetrating defences as he's likely to want to recycle the ball, given the sheer amount of passes he makes. I think the fact that only 2% of his passes being classed as 'key' shows that! This is even more evident when he plays with Nwadike, who also likes to dictate the tempo. However, I do really like his assists and he is creating for a team that does struggle to score. Again, combining these metrics with his attributes tell me why:

  • First Touch - 15
  • Technique - 17
  • Passing - 13
  • Flair - 15
  • Vision - 18
  • Teamwork - 18

Passing is a little lower than I'd like for this level but the rest of these attributes make a pretty decent playmaker. The fact that 5% of his passes have turned into assists show that. I'm contemplating a swap from the below shape:

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To a CM(s) (or even other role) and the Advanced Playmaker to be more attacking, which may give him some more freedom in and around the box. I want to weigh up the cost that it may have of him being in the box with the potential of him being around the box more.

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He's doing better than his average would suggest, definitely. Some refinement needs to be made if I want to build my team around him but I do have the comfort of the likes of Maddison behind him. Would love to hear what people think!

 

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7 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

Have they sent you on some more badge training?

No! Don't be silly! They don't want to me get too qualified in case I leave - even though I've been offered, probably, more than 20 jobs and turned them all down!

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Know youve mentioned how playing in the premier league is, to an extent, too easy because of the sheer amounts of cash flying around. I'm looking to start a long term save quite similar to this one but have no idea where to start as i want to avoid this fact. Has always been an issue with me on fm as to an extent id like to have some knowledge of the teams I'm playing against, but also don't want to have every club around me in the prem paying £100 million for a new star player every single year

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13 minutes ago, Ryninho said:

Know youve mentioned how playing in the premier league is, to an extent, too easy because of the sheer amounts of cash flying around. I'm looking to start a long term save quite similar to this one but have no idea where to start as i want to avoid this fact. Has always been an issue with me on fm as to an extent id like to have some knowledge of the teams I'm playing against, but also don't want to have every club around me in the prem paying £100 million for a new star player every single year

You've summarised my thoughts so well! I am English and I live in England, and, as such, watch the Premier League and support a team in the Premier League.

Historically, I've stayed away from England for exactly the reasons you mention - too much money being the main one. However, with the ability to watch every single (bar timing clashes) Premier League game, I've got involved and engrossed in a much greater volume of football watching (variety of teams) than before. I wanted this to be replicated in my game and, to an extent, it is.

However - I will almost certainly not be returning to England for the foreseeable future (unless Brexit massively changes things) because there is too much money, no emphasis on internal player development (very much matching real life) and a conveyor belt of the same managers just going round the big jobs with the big teams just doing what they always do. These are massive for me in terms of gameplay as I love to build on a budget, with unproven youngsters who I develop through the club infrastructure in a league full of twists and turns, whereby you can't 'win it with money!'

I also love that FM allows me to explore the globe and I devote a lot of my time during playing to learn about places and teams I play against. I don't need to do that in the town I live in!

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18 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

You've summarised my thoughts so well! I am English and I live in England, and, as such, watch the Premier League and support a team in the Premier League.

Historically, I've stayed away from England for exactly the reasons you mention - too much money being the main one. However, with the ability to watch every single (bar timing clashes) Premier League game, I've got involved and engrossed in a much greater volume of football watching (variety of teams) than before. I wanted this to be replicated in my game and, to an extent, it is.

However - I will almost certainly not be returning to England for the foreseeable future (unless Brexit massively changes things) because there is too much money, no emphasis on internal player development (very much matching real life) and a conveyor belt of the same managers just going round the big jobs with the big teams just doing what they always do. These are massive for me in terms of gameplay as I love to build on a budget, with unproven youngsters who I develop through the club infrastructure in a league full of twists and turns, whereby you can't 'win it with money!'

I also love that FM allows me to explore the globe and I devote a lot of my time during playing to learn about places and teams I play against. I don't need to do that in the town I live in!

I've decided to go out of my comfort zone to south America, specifically brazil starting in the serie c with Paysandu. Lets hope i can get really stuck into this. Just want to say also how great of a read this thread is and really has me excited to use your analytical approach to fm in my own saves. with less spreadsheets however, because excel confuses the life out of me.

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18 minutes ago, Ryninho said:

I've decided to go out of my comfort zone to south America, specifically brazil starting in the serie c with Paysandu. Lets hope i can get really stuck into this. Just want to say also how great of a read this thread is and really has me excited to use your analytical approach to fm in my own saves. with less spreadsheets however, because excel confuses the life out of me.

Thank you! Please ask if you’re unsure of what I’ve done with Excel - most of the time I go down a rabbit hole and forget my point anyway!

One of my favourite saves was in Brazil; last year with Volta Redonda of Serie C. The thread was called Voltaco if you want to have a read of how I found the unusual calendar and setup. I would go back in a heartbeat, too!

If you get settled, set up a thread about it as Brazil is massively undervalued in terms of a place to play in FM (but not a place to scout!)

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22 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

Thank you! Please ask if you’re unsure of what I’ve done with Excel - most of the time I go down a rabbit hole and forget my point anyway!

One of my favourite saves was in Brazil; last year with Volta Redonda of Serie C. The thread was called Voltaco if you want to have a read of how I found the unusual calendar and setup. I would go back in a heartbeat, too!

If you get settled, set up a thread about it as Brazil is massively undervalued in terms of a place to play in FM (but not a place to scout!)

Will definitely go and have a look at your Voltaco save to give me at least a bit of knowledge of how it works over in Brazil, appreciate the suggestion. As for starting my own thread i dont think i know anywhere near enough about what im doing to warrant that. i get lost trying to explain my thought processes to myself, let alone other people. 

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34 minutes ago, Ryninho said:

Will definitely go and have a look at your Voltaco save to give me at least a bit of knowledge of how it works over in Brazil, appreciate the suggestion. As for starting my own thread i dont think i know anywhere near enough about what im doing to warrant that. i get lost trying to explain my thought processes to myself, let alone other people. 

That’s the exact reason to start a thread!! That post at the top of this page about Ben Austin - I didn’t know if he was playing well or not! I also didn’t want all of the number crunching to go to waste, so it becomes a post/discussion point/reference for later on. 

If you engage with your thread, others will, too!

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I think you have the right idea with Austin by reducing his usage just a tad with CM(s).

Definitely somebody to build around but perhaps more of a deep tempo setting player rather than somebody expected to contribute with goal involvements/late arriving runs. Passing, off the ball, finishing, etc., all pretty low for PL standards. Very good at other aspects of the game though.

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October/November 2044

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We're kind of just 'going' at the moment.

This is, however, a long term project and we're still very much in the early, preparatory, phases of it, on and off the pitch. We've managed a couple of good results - beating most of the teams around us (except for Arsenal, who are on a bit of a downward spiral of late and Fulham, who somehow played us off the park) and not disgracing ourselves against the bigger sides. Clearly, there are some goalscoring issues - Ferencik is on another drought, and, at nearly 29, is somehow coming towards the end of his career as, once that pace has gone, he'll have nothing good for this level!

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I'd like to pay homage, in this update, to a player who is massively exceeding my expectations, in terms of development:

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'Donnie' Darko Risteski was a really well planned acquisition. I don't want to just sign any player and I'd identified and watched him for over a year whilst at Hoffenheim. He wasn't the finished article then but had attributes 'in the right area' for what I wanted. Since signing, he's come on leaps and bounds and is a really strong player - being able to fit in at either DC or DM. I'm working on just his passing (Passing, Technique and Vision) with no P/R/D as, in the past, this has brought me some success with increased attribute value rises. 

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In addition to what I posted the other day about the training of my youth side, I'm also delving into the Trait side - as I've noticed that 66% of my graduates this year (Richards and Gallinagh but I felt the percentage made it sound worse!) have arrived with no traits. Interestingly, none of these were contested by my backroom team, except for the 'Brings Ball Out of Defence' which seems to be a tough one to learn, despite some of the players not having excellent ability at the things that these traits focus on.

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The youth plan:

  • By 18, a player can play in at least two roles (accomplished or better).
  • By 18, a player will have worked on developing at least one of their weak areas (within reason to their style of play).
  • By 18, a player has learnt two or three traits that will develop their game.
  • By 18, a player will, broadly, have their pathway identified - even if this is not a role or position that I currently use. If they are good enough, I'll build around them.
  • By 18, a player will have had experience of first team football at the club, even if this is just minutes off the bench.

More on this will come as a) I see whether I can ever get an u18 squad and b) I develop it based on results.

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24 minutes ago, tyler16 said:

I think you have the right idea with Austin by reducing his usage just a tad with CM(s).

Definitely somebody to build around but perhaps more of a deep tempo setting player rather than somebody expected to contribute with goal involvements/late arriving runs. Passing, off the ball, finishing, etc., all pretty low for PL standards. Very good at other aspects of the game though.

This is a great response because I have interpreted it differently! Clearly shows that there is more than one answer.

I've used him in the AP(a) role, alongside a Car(s) [currently as I work out what I want] and have started teaching him the 'Tries Killer Balls' trait as I felt that his assisting was good and that, if I can get that passing range a bit further forward, he'll cause problems.

It's very short term, but here is his last three games:

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Still completing plenty of passes, although slightly less key passes than he averaged before that, yet two assists and a goal!

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December 2044: Youth Intake Preview

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I just don't know what it is with goalkeepers!

Not only do we have three great keepers at the club already, in Lowe, Weaver and the young Adekoya.

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We have also produced three more that are playing at just one level below us:

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This is incomparable to any other position on the field!

 

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34 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

I just don't know what it is with goalkeepers!

My theory is that it's a bit of a sop to 'Youth Only' players from SI.

If you're relying on Youth Recruitment to keep a save going, you would be utterly boned if the FM Gods determined that you weren't worthy of having a decent goalkeeper for 10 seasons in a row (which is more than possible given probability if it was all completely random), so there's a bit of weighting there to ensure that players playing by an almost entirely unrealistic set of rules can still enjoy the game.

Spoiler

Which isn't me complaining, by the way. People play the game in all sorts of different ways, and I appreciate that SI supports most of them.

 

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53 minutes ago, turnip said:

My theory is that it's a bit of a sop to 'Youth Only' players from SI.

If you're relying on Youth Recruitment to keep a save going, you would be utterly boned if the FM Gods determined that you weren't worthy of having a decent goalkeeper for 10 seasons in a row (which is more than possible given probability if it was all completely random), so there's a bit of weighting there to ensure that players playing by an almost entirely unrealistic set of rules can still enjoy the game.

  Reveal hidden contents

Which isn't me complaining, by the way. People play the game in all sorts of different ways, and I appreciate that SI supports most of them.

 

I agree!

It just seems that I keep producing good ones! What I'd do for a nice creative midfielder or a promising goalscorer!

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January 2045: New signing

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Rob has been on my radar for some time now and I am delighted to have secured his signature - for just £3m, too. With an expiring contract, I didn't want to enter the lottery of pre-contracts with him, knowing that other teams must be sniffing around the Willem II man. Just like Darko Risteski, he's not the finished article, just yet, and I hope he'll continue to grow.

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I am now very strong at centre back, with five players who are all really good. There is, sadly, a lack of academy focus here with just Roberts from my academy:

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There certainly is a case for a 3-at-the-back shape here, given the quality of youth players I have coming through, too.

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January 2045: Youth promise?

With every signing I make, I feel my grasp on the incorporation of youth players getting further away. When I look at my squad and sort them by star rating (not the be all and end all, but a decent comparison), you can see that the academy graduates (highlighted) are towards the bottom of the rankings:

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I could even go as far as naming a really strong XI of players, Lowe aside, who have not come through my academy and I think that this would possibly even do a little better than a squad which does favour those players.

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Despite all of my plans for those players under 18, giving them the best start to their professional careers, I really need to focus on the integration of this talent. Looking at my youth squad, there is a good group of players who, using that star rating metric again, are on the cusp of the first team:

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Yet, the hardest bit here is to integrate them. Looking at the performances of Gallinagh and Richards this season shows that it is hard and requires a lot of patience. However, if I can abstain from massive signings - instead working hard to identify cheap, potential talent as well as push those from my own academy - any success I can have in this league must go down as one of my best FM achievements.

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January 2045: Departure

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Always a shame to see a youth academy graduate move on but Conor heads up the M5 to West Bromwich and moves closer to his own hometown of Sutton Coldfield. Despite the positive words for him - he's really struggled to break into the first team, particularly since we got promoted. The signing of Nijhuis was the final nail in his coffin.

The Baggies are top of the Championship so we may be facing each other again, soon (providing I can shake my horrible run of form, anyway!) 

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I was wondering when you were going to compare your youth players with your signings. I think I like the look of your new signings, but there’s nothing like the feeling of when an exciting youth prospect coming through on intake day. If you get one a season, it’s definitely not enough for a first eleven and then if you get multiple years of GKers, well that doesn’t help the midfield! It’s a tough gig doing a youth only save.

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53 minutes ago, Sonic Youth said:

I was wondering when you were going to compare your youth players with your signings. I think I like the look of your new signings, but there’s nothing like the feeling of when an exciting youth prospect coming through on intake day. If you get one a season, it’s definitely not enough for a first eleven and then if you get multiple years of GKers, well that doesn’t help the midfield! It’s a tough gig doing a youth only save.

I, realistically, can't expect to get several newgens into the team each year as that just doesn't happen in real life football! No way would we or should we be producing that much quality but, as you say, the feeling of a good academy player is wonderful. As good as Nijhuis is, and could be, I'd do anything to have a 16 year in my youth team who could be  as good as he is at 20. 

I do, however, have to factor in that these players aren't here for ever. Just because I have five centre backs and four of them have been recruited - it doesn't mean that those players form my centre back pairing in ten years time. I'm a huge fan of loyalty (although, not necessarily the personalities as they don't indicate any professionalism) but these players are, honestly, already bigger than my club. I just don't want to be that team that goes through 10/15 players a year, constantly rebuilding with no clear aim towards their end goal.

The more I've played this save, the more I've thought about that term - realism. Quite frankly, seeing my hometown club where they are now is not realistic and nor do I now feel youth only is. I'm at that point of thinking about my next save (historically, I've started them in May in the last two additions) and I want to try and make it the most realistic to date. But I won't digress, at this point, from what I'm doing here...

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December 2044/January 2045

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Lots of learning is being done here.

Firstly, we've just (pre Saints) made the move to a more compact 4-1-4-1 shape as I am worried that we've only kept 3 clean sheets all season, conceding 85% of our total goals conceded in the whole of last year - yet still have 14 games to play. The move to a pairing of IWB(s) has clearly made us more susceptible defensively, even if that is the offensive shape that I do want. Dropping my wingers back will provide a bit more cover and they all have enough about them, as athletes, to still feature in such offensive roles even though they've started much deeper. Initial results are ok - we only allowed an xG of 0.68 against Southampton, who are in decent scoring form this year.

Once again - the aim is to just stay up. We have slightly more of a cushion this year than we have done in the past but I'm not taking my foot off the gas.

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February 2045: Affiliate change

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Interesting to see if we do get any Osaka born players through, as we have with Biala Podlaska (Ejza and Lewandowski) but don't have the 'poached from academy' thing on...

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9 minutes ago, Ryninho said:

How do you export your players stats into excel documents. i imagine you don't just sit there typing in the stats one by one and ive not a clue how to do it

Of course not!

1) Make your view

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2) CTRL + A

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3) CTRL + P

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4) Open in Chrome

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5) Copy and paste into Excel.

Viola!

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i downloaded a template for basically analysing your players stats and just can't seem to figure out how to go from this (your step 5 above) to putting those attributes in to this table. Ive attached a screenshot of part of the template, if anyone reading the topic could explain how i take the stats and put them into their correct place on the template. You would save me.677349987_Screenshot(3).thumb.png.053f84eb3aef19f7002c44182fce2433.png

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February 2045: Annoyances

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It's not the foreign bit that gets me - it is that not a single player here came through the academy at Norwich. This isn't juts a problem with the Canaries - this is league wide and shows my distaste towards this league!

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4 minutes ago, Ryninho said:

i downloaded a template for basically analysing your players stats and just can't seem to figure out how to go from this (your step 5 above) to putting those attributes in to this table. Ive attached a screenshot of part of the template, if anyone reading the topic could explain how i take the stats and put them into their correct place on the template. You would save me.

I've not used the one you are using before so I can only guess.

I think you're going to need to transpose the data as it is exported horizontally and it looks like each player takes a column?

Select your data - I'd do this one row at a time - and press copy.

Then, highlight the top cell that you want to start the paste in and press the Transpose button (fourth one along)

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It should then be in a vertical line rather than horizontal.

Let me know how that goes!

 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, _Ben_ said:

I've not used the one you are using before so I can only guess.

I think you're going to need to transpose the data as it is exported horizontally and it looks like each player takes a column?

Select your data - I'd do this one row at a time - and press copy.

Then, highlight the top cell that you want to start the paste in and press the Transpose button (fourth one along)

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It should then be in a vertical line rather than horizontal.

Let me know how that goes!

 

 

 

Yeah that works. Appreciate it. struggling to get to grips with using data on fm but i'll get there eventually. Thanks

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February 2045: Youth mentoring?

And other features I'm not sure I'm supposed to be able to access with my 'level' of control over the youth team?

Now, I have Guillaume Martin, who is training really well as a right midfielder but I noticed he was still in the Defensive training unit (now changed)

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By clicking on the arrow, I'm taken to the unit screen and now have the below options available to me:

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For reference - this is what you see when you normally select the squads that you don't control.

I'm then able to set mentoring groups and change things that I don't think I should be able to as I have 'vanilla' control over these youth squads.

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Interestingly, nobody seems to have any big impact over the rest of the youth groups, rightly so, but it might improve a little bit!

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February 2045: Youth traits

In reference to a post I made the other day about traits. I reckon that I have no more than a 20% success rate with getting the below trait taught to anyone in the first team, yet, despite being argued against, Teague picks this up first time and within a month or so, too.

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February 2045: Clean sheets...

3 all year and then 3 in a row!

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The 4-1-4-1 has made us a lot more compact but has taken a little away from our creativity, which has always been lacking!

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March 2045: Youth Intake

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I've been crying out for a generational talent who can play in the attacking part of the pitch, and, in Alessanddro Sorrentino, I may have found that man! I also quite like Maciej Poduch and I'm particularly drawn to the two Bosnians - both born in the town of Kljuc, with a population of just 18,000, in the space of a couple of months. However, one has Danish heritage and the other has Canadian and both have English as a third nationality (obviously - an in game thing to avoid non-EU players).

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February/March 2045

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I know what this looks like.

Two months of mirror opposites. Yet, I'd not expect to beat Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea and the Fulham game was just annoying! We had the better chances and should have put the game to bed but succumbed to a loss that does make our run of form look concerning. However, the performances against three of the bigger teams in this league have left a really positive feeling - we have been in them. Not creating a huge amount (but then again, both strikers are out of form) but very strong defensively and better on the ball than we've been before.

We've really shot up the table after a good February and, touch wood, should be safe from relegation for the third year in a row.

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To celebrate, the board finally agreed to upgrading the training facilities:

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As well as, finally, sending me on another coaching course:

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May 2045: Unexpected silverware!

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I did not expect this, especially in our first season in this competition. Granted - these are the academy teams are Championship and some League One sides, but we've still done really well!

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Plenty of positive performances and development for this group of players. Hopefully, with the added focus on this, I can really start ear-marking some to come into the first team...

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Amazing work Ben. I've been following your threads for a long time.

Sorrentino looks like a potential world beater, and surely will be in your hands.

 

In FM I've always been a fan of we'll balanced midfielders similar to Austin. Over the last few years I've really enjoyed utilising players like Capoue and Doucoure (usually runs Watford save to learn new features) as they were nicely balanced and could contribute across the whole pitch.

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2 hours ago, Conan21 said:

Amazing work Ben. I've been following your threads for a long time.

Sorrentino looks like a potential world beater, and surely will be in your hands.

 

In FM I've always been a fan of we'll balanced midfielders similar to Austin. Over the last few years I've really enjoyed utilising players like Capoue and Doucoure (usually runs Watford save to learn new features) as they were nicely balanced and could contribute across the whole pitch.

Thanks - yeah Sorrentino looks to have that star quality that I'm really needing in my academy!

I also really like Austin. He may not be playing amazingly well (in AR anyway) but he's that all rounder and, because I've taught him playmaker-esque traits, I can actually utilise him in a non-playmaking role but get similar output from him if I need to change my style of play.

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2044/45 Season Review

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We are finding out feet at this level.

A tough season with a lot of lessons learnt and a lot of exploration within the first team and the wider squad, but I am delighted with this outcome. Nearly 20 points away from the relegation slots and comfortably in the middle of the road, with someway to go still before we hit that glass ceiling.

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This is a work in progress and, with the change in formation and slight change in style, I've opted for these graphs rather than my table comparing the attributes. We are getting a little less passive and my next move is to really look at our use of possession.

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I've opted for my analysis rather than the in-game stats here as I quite like the ranking system that I've made. 

The first thing to comment on is really the rise of Darko Risteski, who improved 31 points across the areas and is now, arguably, my best player. He embodies my recruitment model as well as fitting in with both the squad culture and off-field demands that I have put in place. With a £104m Release Clause in his contract, he may leave in the future but not for a penny less than that!

My thoughts here are that I want some more creativity and, by looking at the full backs, want specifically more from them. I will be looking at some ways to impact their influence on the game.

Up top, we've struggled again - Richards is learning and Ferencik is falling apart. Mason Stokes is, on paper, our best player but then you look at the number of 90s he's played and see that he only plays in the cup against poorer opposition! Never the less, he's a worry simple on the depth that we have.

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Not a lot planned for the summer except for a deep dive into the progress of my u23 squad and some more scouting!

The board are upgrading both training and youth facilities, too.

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June 2045: Youth Progress

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Above is my first draft of a tracker that I'm planning to use with my u23 squad. It won't be like last year where I monitor them for a year, instead I'll just keep plugging data in for each year that they are in this squad. I'm tracking position and personality development, which is something specific to this game/my style as well as attribute development, split into rough section for each area.

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So we've got five new positions, which is great, and I'm left with only O'Donnell, Lewandowski and Carden who cannot play in more than one part of the pitch. I have also had two, positive, personality changes with Singleton actually going from Unambitious > Low Det > F.Pro in the space of a year, which is great and Graves having one of those positive 'off field' experiences which has seen a sudden growth in his Determination.

My best improver was Lewandowski, who has come on so much this year across all areas. I like offensive full back, or at least, possession orientated full backs, so will continue to push P/R/D and foci that work those transitional attributes. Asa Alsop has also improved well, but he, sadly, won't be good enough for my first team. Joe Carden finishes off the list and has developed well, although has not pushed those technical offensive (shooting, technique) as much as I'd want and, interestingly, had an xG greater than his goals scored for the u23 this season. He has learnt a couple of useful traits and I'm going to push on a bit more with him.

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What the overall tells me is that I think I need to adjust the schedules to have less physical training as these are naturally growing with age. You can see that the old players, Simon, Morgan-Smith, Fyffe, Graves and Lucaci are developing less in these areas than my younger players so I can always refocus later on in their development.

I'm relatively happy with this baseline data.

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Some thoughts as I catch up here.

1. Can we get a screenshot of Richards' attributes? Curious how you use him.

2. Surprised to see Austin with less than 0.1 dribbles per 90... is this a theme throughout the squad? That would be an extremely low figure for an AM in real life.

3. Encouraging stuff with the U23s! Strong output from Demar Anderson, any chance he breaks through?

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1 hour ago, tyler16 said:

1. Can we get a screenshot of Richards' attributes? Curious how you use him.

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I'm not quite sure, yet...

He's pacey and a good finisher but also can run with the ball so I've been a little torn between getting him in behind (hence the trait, even with only semi decent Decisions) and getting him to drop off and move, at pace, with the ball. Fortunately, with his age, I've got that time to try and really find what works best for him.

EDIT 1: In that post about him becoming a wonderkid, I didn't realise I'd attached the wrong image...

1 hour ago, tyler16 said:

2. Surprised to see Austin with less than 0.1 dribbles per 90... is this a theme throughout the squad? That would be an extremely low figure for an AM in real life.

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Dribble Less and roles that don't really ask for dribbling has probably done it! We've been trying to build a pass-and-move (desperately not trying to use the phrase Tiki Taka here!) style of play.

1 hour ago, tyler16 said:

3. Encouraging stuff with the U23s! Strong output from Demar Anderson, any chance he breaks through?

Damar is just a pace merchant but I'll be promoting Ed Bewick (cover for a couple of areas) and the mightily impressive Adekoya (replacement for Weaver who wants to be first choice elsewhere) but then you are really looking at these four at being my next big hopes:

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I'm going to dip into the u23 stuff a bit more as I click through the summer...

Edited by _Ben_
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June 2045: Playing with youth training

Here is a snapshot of a month, in the future, of my youth training:

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I've never been brave enough to really dig into this myself too much, despite being really intrigued by the results it gives me. However, some reading and watching (a rare few YouTube videos, thanks to Rashidi!) have meant that, for this year, I'm going to go with his schedules.

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Now, my plan is here to see how this works. He's created a really balanced schedule (I added Team Bonding for an extra hit of Team Work) and I did mention my concern that there is so much physical focus- this has considerably less than what I'm seeing has been made by the assistant).

My plan is to use this for a year and have a look at the kind of results I've got before going a bit further into what I want to be trained for my youth players...

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June 2045: Departure

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Ollie has been a great servant to the club and doesn't deserve to be just a backup. I don't know if Norwich plan to play him, but they've doubled his wages, at least.

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July 2045: Recruitment

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A nice simple window, with just three signings. Chris Brooks, with some MLS experience and a great personality, comes into the youth team as well as Bartlomiej Koziel, who actually used to play for us. I think I must have missed him or he's done well on his return to Poland. He's behind other Pole Lewandowski, but is decent depth for the u23 squad. The last signing is Abel, who will be a direct replacement for Harry Curran. I think that Abel, the dual Spanish/Polish orchestrator, is one who's attributes are not indicative of his CA. He's not physical and has really high ratings in non-CA using attributes - Leadership and Flair being the main two. He's also somewhat of a dead ball specialist, which is useful as we don't have that. I'd not normally go for just a 'Leader' but his Media Handling tells me two good positives:

Evasive
Professionalism 15-20, Pressure 15-20

Unflappable
Temperament 15-20, Pressure 15-20

His level of Professionalism is no worse than anything I have elsewhere in the team (Gallinagh, who is still Balanced, aside). His Leadership may also make up for his slight frame and I hope that a playmaking role will get the best from him. 

These signings are a continuation of my ideology in terms of nationalities of those players recruited and developed by us. Obviously, the big focus is the academy but I'm starting to build a base of three countries I had earmarked:

1. Jamaica - historical links to the Redditch area

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2. Poland- current links to the area, along with other Eastern European nations

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3. USA - links to the manager

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In terms of tactical development, I've actually gone a bit too far here! My Best XI probably looks something like this:

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I really enjoyed the compactness that the 4-1-4 provided in the defensive and transition phase but (as I purposely missed the '-1' from that), the striker never really joined in as intended, whatever role I used him on. Therefore, I've moved him slightly deeper, to enable a strong defensive line up but also that 'togetherness' that is needed in a tactical style that discourages players moving with the ball too much. I wouldn't consider this strikerless, (in anything other than this screen's depiction) more just a slightly withdrawn striker role but with more aggression than a DLF has, for example.

You'll notice that both IWB's are actually converted midfielders as this shape now makes a really nice 3-2-2-3 kind of shape attacking and, ignoring that it is pre-season, gets more players in the box and is playing some of the nicest football that I've seen. I have also dabbled with some overloads on either side to provide some extra space for Cano or Milianti, depending on which mirrored version I use.

Richards has taken to his new role well, too:

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16 minutes ago, tyler16 said:

Richards looks great, versatile too. Hopefully he'll take a big leap with increased responsibility.

What's are the aims for this season?

He's setting himself to be my first choice striker this season, to be fair. Coker has the positional understanding but not the finishing and them I'm down to Ferencik or Stokes, really.

Aims are the same as always, to be fair - staying up! With a slightly new team shape and no real strengthening to the first team squad, I can't get over ambitious. We've got a nice crop of players developing in the youth team and I'm working towards maximising everything I can possibly do with them so I hope we can be pushing towards Europe in a few years. Slow and steady.

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Fascinating stuff, as always!

Have to admit, seeing you try this approach somewhere with a lower youth rating would be enticing though. I know you like getting more out of lower ability players. Maybe for your second long term save of the game cycle? :D

Obviously a lot more work to be done here though!

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