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  • Players

    It’s a simple fact that to be successful, you need the right players. That’s not to say you need the best players, but identifying the necessary players to suit your plans is of paramount importance.

    In Football Manager™ 2018, players are as in-depth as they’ve ever been. This section details pretty much everything you’ll need to know about the players, interacting with them, and all the other stuff in between.

    ‘Information’ Icon

    Whenever a person – player or non-player – appears in a list, they will have a small circle with the letter ‘i’ next to their name. This is the ‘Information’ pop-up.

    Clicking it (or hovering over it, depending on your Preferences selection) will display a small box with their most useful biographical information and their attributes. You can also right-click on the player’s name to access the ‘Actions’ menu, allowing you to interact with the individual rather than be exposed to their full player profile.


    The ‘Profile’ screen captures a player’s key information and presents it all on one screen for quick and easy reference.


    If you prefer the more traditional look and feel for the player profiles, the ‘Attributes’ option is the one for you. Read on throughout this section for a detailed explanation of every attribute.


    This section holds all pertinent information about the player’s individual relationships within the squad as well as his current happiness. Visit the Dynamics section of this manual for further information on this game module.


    The Information sub-tab provides information on the player. It holds biographical information as well as detailing his personality, happiness, and what the media thinks of him.

    The ‘Nationalities’ section shows which countries a player is eligible to play for.

    The ‘Eligibility’ section, meanwhile, shows where a player was trained in terms of nation and club for various squad registration qualifications. If the player is currently eligible to add another nationality to his status, the days completed and days remaining to be served in that country before becoming eligible for citizenship are displayed here too.


    A complete breakdown of a player’s positional ability is found on this screen.

    The graphical pitch displayed in this panel indicates the positions the individual is capable of fulfilling and each are colour-coded to represent a level of ability playing there.


    Five strengths of position are considered in addition to the player’s ‘Natural’ position:

    Accomplished – The player isn’t naturally at his best in this position but will perform in an accomplished and successful manner.

    Competent – The player has enough experience and ability to put in convincing performances here, but don’t expect any fireworks or long-term success.

    Unconvincing – The player is playing out of position but will be able to do a decent job for a short period.

    Awkward – The player isn’t likely to be particularly successful playing in this position. He may fill in for emergencies but will be struggling.

    Ineffectual – The player cannot play this position. You are free to play him there but he will not perform well.

    The panel also displays the competence of a player with both feet at the bottom of the pitch display. It also displays the number of games he has played in various positions throughout the current season. For example, a versatile player who is predominantly a Defensive Midfielder but can play at Right-Back may have 30 appearances at his primary position but 15 at Right-Back. This allows you to see potential reasons for a player’s good or bad performances and indeed, his ability to play in various roles.

    A player’s main position is printed in full in the title bar (presuming you have the Preferences set accordingly). Any other positions and/or sides he can play are appended with abbreviations.

    Any particular traits the player favours are listed on this screen, and can be altered or added to through the player’s Individual training screen.

    Player Attributes

    It is vital to understand the importance of player attributes in Football Manager™ 2018 and how they affect various parts of the game and, in particular, the match engine. Attributes are divided into three main areas -  Physical, Mental, and Technical - with Goalkeepers having their own Technical ratings. The attributes, how they react in certain situations, in combination with others as well as on a stand-alone basis, are detailed below, but it’s important first of all to outline how attributes work.

    Each player is rated on a scale of 1-20, 1 being absolutely terrible, and 20 being elite. Some attributes are defined as ‘Absolute’, and some as ‘Relative’. Absolute attributes are those that are locked to an individual and can’t be trained quite as easily, such as Determination and Work Rate. These are generally innate attributes specific to individuals and will typically only develop as the player matures off the field. Relative attributes are those that can be compared to other players in the football world, and can be improved on through training and player development. Physical and Technical skill sets are the main areas you’ll find relative attributes.

    Remember, for players that aren’t at your club and who haven’t been comprehensively scouted, attributes will appear as a range to indicate a rough idea of their ability in that area. Continued scouting will reduce the range until the attribute is clearly identified.


    A player with strong physical attributes is one who can potentially fit into a team better than a player strong in only one area in the other attribute groups. If a player is strong in these attributes he’ll be able to play a competent game and make sure he isn’t embarrassed much, should he be less than adequately skilled because he has the required attributes to be a solid footballer. A skilled and mentally strong player who also has strong physical attributes can be considered a fantastic all-round player, as being strong in all three areas is pretty much what you look for.




    Acceleration is how quickly a player can reach top speed (pace) from a standing start. It therefore ties in very closely with the Pace attribute.


    Agility reflects how well a player can start, stop, and move in different directions at varying levels of speed (pace). It ties in with the Pace, Acceleration and Balance attributes as they work together in the match engine, especially when a player is running with the ball.


    Balance reflects simply how well a player can keep his balance in situations both with and without the ball. With the ball, it refers to how balanced he is running with it and evading opponents, without it, it refers to his balance when facing a player running at him, or his stability when turning/jumping.

    Jumping Reach

    Jumping Reach reflects how good a player is at reaching the ball in the air. It indicates the highest point an outfield player can reach with his head. It is not necessarily reflective of how tall a player is, but when considering his jumping ability, it makes sense to take into account the player’s height. For example, a player of 200+cm will still possess a high reach even if he is a poor jumper, and a player who measures in at 170cm will struggle to compete at the same height due to the 30cm difference in height between the two.

    Natural Fitness

    How high the player’s natural fitness is influences how well he stays fit when injured or not training. This will help to determine how quickly players recover from injury, how well they retain their physical attributes as they go past their peak, and how fast they recover between matches.


    Pace is a player’s top speed. Whereas Acceleration reflects how quickly a player can attain their top speed, Pace is that top speed and together with Stamina and Natural Fitness, is how long they are able to maintain that pace in both short bursts and over the course of a match. A player will naturally be a shade quicker without the ball than with it.


    Stamina is a player’s ability to endure high-level physical activity for a long period of time. With the demands placed on a player over a full season, players with high attribute ratings for Stamina will be able to perform at their top levels for longer. It ties in directly with Natural Fitness.


    A player’s Strength is his ability to exert his physical force on an opponent to his advantage. A player with a high Strength rating will be able to use it to his advantage against weaker opponents.


    Ideally you’ll want every one of your players to be mentally strong. If your players have high mental attributes you’re on the right road to success – you’ll have a team of determined and committed players who will give their all for the team, whilst having a nice balance of flair and commitment.




    This reflects a player’s attitude in terms of playing mentality but is not necessarily a dirtiness indicator. A more aggressive player will look to involve himself in every incident and get stuck in, perhaps at the expense of a yellow card or two. A less aggressive player may shy away from situations and merely drop into his comfort zone, waiting for the play to find him.


    How well a player can predict and react to an event. If a player has a high attribute here he can read the game well and react to situations quicker than others. This attribute works well with ‘Off the Ball’.


    How committed and indeed, brave, a player is. Braver players will risk injury more in situations a more cautious player may shy away from. They’ll go in where it hurts and lay it on the line for the team.


    The player’s steadiness of mind and ability, particularly with the ball.  When faced with a big goalscoring chance, or heavy pressure defensively, a player with high Composure will be able to keep his head and more often than not make an intelligent decision which is beneficial to the team.


    This reflects a player’s mental focus and attention to detail on an event-by-event basis. A high rating here will mean the player can keep a higher focus on proceedings for longer periods of time and remain able to respond to incidents late in the game just as well as he did early on. Lower concentration will see players lose focus and perhaps become liable to mistakes at crucial times in the match.


    The ability of a player to make a correct choice the majority of the time. This attribute is important in every position but perhaps more so for central defenders and midfielders, who will see a lot of the ball and have a number of different options when in possession.


    A commitment to succeed both on and off the pitch. A determined player will give everything in order to win. This ties in with Bravery – players with a high attribute in one of these attributes may also be high in the other as the traits necessary are similar.


    A natural talent for the creative and occasional unpredictability. A player with a lot of Flair will be one of the key attacking components in any team but at the same time may need tactical restraint to get the best out of him. Flair and Vision work well together.


    Leadership is the player’s ability to affect events or other players. Players with high Leadership will be influential on the pitch and team-mates will tend to rally around these players.

    Off the Ball

    A player’s movement without the ball. Similar to Anticipation, this is how well players, particularly attacking ones, can assess a situation and then move off the ball, making themselves available to receive a pass in a dangerous position.


    This attribute reflects the ability of a player to read a situation and manoeuvre themselves into the best possible location to deal with the unfolding events.


    How well the player follows tactical instructions and works for and alongside his team-mates. A team full of players with a high rating here will work better as a unit. Players with lower ratings will slack off and not ‘buy in’ to the team ethos.


    This refers to a player’s ability to see a potential opening, not necessarily exploit it. A player might be able to see something to take advantage of but also requires the technical proficiency to pull it off; this attribute governs how likely they are to visualise something developing or, in the case of a higher rating here, spot something that another player might not.

    Work Rate

    This reflects the player’s mental drive to work to his full capacities. A high rating will ensure a player wants to work his socks off from start to finish, but he will need the necessary physical attributes to actually be able to pull it off. Nonetheless, it is an admirable trait to have in your team. It does not merely represent a willingness to run – something that would be inappropriate in many positions – but rather the willingness to go above and beyond the regulation call of duty, as it were.


    These attributes are the real meat of the football world, where the elite are separated from the very good, and the very good from the rest. These are the playing attributes, where you’ll be looking for consistent ratings across the board for most of your players, and high-end ratings for the elite players you want to add to your squad.




    This attribute reflects how well the player takes a corner. Taking advantage of set-pieces is important, and having a capable corner taker to put the ball into key areas is useful.


    This indicates a player’s proficiency at crossing the ball from wide areas into the penalty box.


    This refers to the player’s ability to run with the ball and manipulate it under close control. This is purely his proficiency with the ball at his feet – his Pace, Acceleration, Agility, and Balance will all aid his dribbling in different circumstances, and whilst a higher Dribbling attribute will also help him in different situations, Dribbling alone isn’t enough to get by.


    The player’s ability to put the ball in the back of the net when presented with a chance. A high Finishing attribute will put the shot on target a majority of the time as a bare minimum but, compared to a player with poorer Finishing, will find the places where the goalkeeper can’t save it. This is purely the ability of the player to perform an accurate shot – Composure and Decisions will also impart on the ability of a player to score consistently.

    First Touch

    How good a player’s first touch is when receiving possession. A higher rating will ensure that the player can corral the ball quicker and put it in a useful position to then act upon. Players with lower ratings here will struggle to control the ball as adeptly and may be prone to losing the ball if closed down quickly.

    Free Kick Taking

    This reflects how good at taking free kicks the player is. It applies to both direct shots at goal and deliveries into dangerous areas from wider or deeper positions. A player who is proficient in taking free kicks can be a valuable commodity – scoring five free kicks a season and adding five more assists from them can be a huge bonus.


    This is a player’s competence in aerial situations. Heading applies to all situations and is only about the player’s ability to head the ball well. Jumping Reach, Height, and to a lesser extent Strength all play a part in combination with heading to utilise the attribute to greater effect.

    Long Shots

    This is the player’s prowess at shooting from distance – from outside the penalty area. It is largely a stand-alone attribute but pay attention to any PPMs the player may have which complement their Long Shots rating.

    Long Throws

    The ability of the player to perform a long throw, which can be taken advantage of in attacking situations.


    How well players, mainly defensive types, defend an opponent. Marking alone will see them do a good job if the attribute is high, but remember that other attributes – Strength, Positioning, Anticipation – will play a part in the effectiveness of the marking, as well as the comparable physical statures of the two players.


    How good the player is at passing the ball. His Technique and passing ability will determine his success at passing over longer distances.

    Penalty Taking

    The ability of the player from the penalty spot. A player with a high rating here will be more confident and capable from 12 yards.


    How successful the player is at winning tackles and not conceding fouls from such situations. Players with a high Tackling rating will consistently win the ball cleanly and be a more capable defensive player.


    Technique is the aesthetic quality of a player’s technical game – how refined they appear to be with the ball. A player with high Technique will be more likely to pull off a tricky pass or a cross-field ball with greater ease than someone less technically able. This in turn affects technical attributes – poorer Technique will let a player down.


    Goalkeepers are often referred to as a different breed. They’ve got their own set of Technical attributes in Football Manager™ which are relevant only to them, and replace the standard Technical ratings (although they may have ratings in some of these areas which will remain invisible – for example, a goalkeeper who often takes penalties or free kicks could have a rating here). Also bear in mind that goalkeepers will also need suitable Physical and Mental attributes to succeed.



    Aerial Reach

    This is the goalkeeper’s physical ability in aerial situations. Taller goalkeepers will typically have a higher rating here as they are naturally pre-disposed to being able to reach areas shorter goalkeepers cannot, but there will be exceptions. This attribute works in connection with a number of other goalkeeping attributes in order to determine proficiency in dealing with the numerous aerial situations they will encounter during a match.

    Command of Area

    This affects how well the goalkeeper takes charge of his penalty area and works with his defensive line. A goalkeeper who commands his entire box (i.e. has a high rating) will be instinctive and look to take charge of situations, especially coming for crosses (therefore working in tandem with Aerial Reach). Do note, however, that a high rating only increases his penchant for coming for crosses and not necessarily claiming them all.


    How well a goalkeeper communicates with his defensive line and organises the defensive side of the team. A higher rating reflects a better communicator and will allow your back five (or more) to work more efficiently together, ensuring greater overall defensive stability.


    This attribute represents the likelihood of the goalkeeper to do the unexpected and typically act completely unlike a goalkeeper. Things like dribbling out of his area will be commonplace if the Eccentricity attribute is high.


    How securely the goalkeeper holds onto the ball when making a save or coming for a loose ball. Greater Handling will be beneficial in unfavourable weather conditions, but in general a goalkeeper who doesn’t give up rebounds will be useful.


    The physical capability of a goalkeeper to kick the ball – this purely defines the distance he can reach with a kick from hand or from the ground. His Passing rating will define how accurate his kicks are.

    One on Ones

    The ability of the goalkeeper to do well when faced with an opponent in a one on one situation. Higher attributes will see goalkeepers attempt to impose themselves and win the ball with confidence.


    This reflects how good the goalkeeper is at reacting to unpredictable events. If he has a high Reflexes rating, he will be able to respond to the unforeseen with more success and be able to pull off highlight reel saves, or clear the ball to safety.

    Rushing Out

    How good the goalkeeper is at coming off his line to react to through balls and similar situations. Goalkeepers will also benefit from having high Pace and Acceleration attributes in combination with Rushing Out.

    Tendency to Punch

    This determines whether a goalkeeper will catch the ball when he can, or whether he prefers to punch it clear. A higher rating reflects a tendency to punch most things clear, even when it may be possible to hold onto the ball.


    How good the goalkeeper’s distribution is with his hands. A higher rating will increase the accuracy of his throws, although Strength imparts on the distance he is able to reach.

    Goalkeepers also have a small number of Technical attributes which apply to them and they work in the same way they do for outfielders. Many managers prefer their goalkeeper to act as something of a defensive sweeper and ask them to be a part of developing play from the back; these attributes come into effect predominantly in these situations.

    Player Attributes Screen

    The Player Attributes sub-tab provides the most useful and important information about a player. The majority of the screen is allocated to displaying the attributes detailed here, but the screen also contains biographical information, selection details, and his current season stats broken down by competition area. If the player has a picture, it will be displayed on this screen, alongside the octagonal shaped graphic representing eight key aspects of a footballer’s game. Inside the octagon is a shape created by the abilities of the player in these areas. The closer to the edge of the octagon the shape is, the better a player is in that area, and therefore a larger shape indicates a quality all-round player.

    ‘Show recent attribute changes’ will alter the ‘Attributes’ view to display an up or down arrow which refer to changes in that attribute over recent weeks from training, injury, or individual development. This is done automatically on the ‘Overview’ screen by comparison.

    ‘Highlight key attributes for role’ allows you to select a player role and duty and have it highlight the key attributes required on their profile.

    If a player is also a non-player, or is currently serving in a dual capacity, his ‘Staff Attributes’ panel will become visible as a part of this section. For more information on Non-Player Attributes, please refer to the relevant section of this manual.

    Contract & Transfer

    The Contract and Transfer screens provide information on the player’s current contract, and any pertinent transfer information that you may want to know, such as which teams are interested in the player, whether that be a minor consideration or a full-blown major show of interest.


    This screen allows you to check up on and configure individual training details for the player. These details range from their schedule through to attribute changes to new positions and preferred moves or affiliate loans. Please click here for Training in far more depth.

    You can also perform various interactions such as tutoring, moving players between squads and player advice from here (please refer to the respective sections of this guide for more information) as well as the player’s overall tactical familiarity from the ‘Tactics’ section. This displays his positional versatility in the same way as described in the ‘Positions’ section above as well as indications of how integrated he has become into various facets of your tactical approach. Players who are increasingly comfortable in a tactic will be considerably more likely to perform well when asked.


    The Reports section contains Coaching and (if valid) Scouting Reports on the player, as well as analysis from members of your backroom staff on their match performance and form. For more information on these Reports please click here.


    As a manager, you’ll find yourself interacting with players on a daily basis. Not just interaction through the direct interaction module detailed in this section, but in more minor manners, such as promoting a player from the reserve team into your senior squad. A majority of these are carried out from options found within a player’s Actions menu, which can be accessed from their Player Interaction tab or by right-clicking on a player’s name. They are described here, with the tab page preceding the interaction type.

    You should make sure you pay close attention to the Dynamics section, both in-game and in this manual, when interacting with players, as their reaction can and often will influence other players in the squad.

    Development - Move Players Between Squads

    This option allows you to assign players to various squads, most typically a Senior, Reserve or Under-23 or Under-21, and Youth team. As manager, you have the ultimate say in the development of a player and it’s up to you to decide when a player needs to be tested further, for when he’s not ready or performing at a higher level. You can also assign a player to a team for a period whilst he recovers from injury in order to allow him to regain his fitness at a lower level where performances and development can be considered more important than the result.

    You can also make a player available for the reserve team if he is part of your senior squad. Often you may want a youngster to be part of the first team and to be training with them but not have room in your match day team for him. To keep his fitness up, happiness in order, and development continuing, you should allow him to play for the reserves.

    Development - Move to Affiliate

    If your team has an affiliation and the terms allow players to be loaned between clubs, you can designate a loan to such a team from this option. It acts as a suggestion to the player, who has the final call on whether he moves or not. His decision will arrive in your Inbox usually inside 24 hours of asking him to move.

    Transfer – Transfer Status

    This screen allows you to set the squad and transfer status of a player. You can determine his role from this list of self-explanatory options:

    -          Key Player

    -          First Team

    -          Rotation

    -          Backup

    -          Hot Prospect*

    -          Youngster*

    -          Not Needed

    (* only eligible for younger players)

    This can be set for any member of the squad, but for those you wish to sell, you can move on to set your instructions for handling transfer offers, including desired fees and whether the player is ‘officially’ on the Transfer List.

    Once you’re happy with your changes, hit ‘Confirm’ to apply them.

    Transfer - Offer to Clubs

    If you no longer want the services of a player or your hand is forced into selling him, you can offer the player out to teams your Assistant feels will be most suited to the player’s ability and reputation. You can configure the terms of any potential sale in as much or little detail as you like, and can exclude any rival clubs should you not want to strengthen a hated opponent.

    If any team decides to take you up on your offer, you will receive a formal bid from them in your Inbox.

    Transfer – Add to Unwanted List

    If you no longer have a use for a player, you can add him to an Unwanted List from this section. You can determine whether you want to move him on for any price, for his value, or just to get rid of him in this initial stage. Then, from the ‘Unwanted List’ panel in the ‘Director of Football’ menu within the ‘Transfers’ screen, you can configure the particulars of any deal you’re looking for. This makes it easier to manage, maintain and keep track of the player you’re trying to get rid of.

    Contracts - Offer New Contract

    Offer your player a new contract from this option. Please refer to this section for information on offering contracts.

    Contracts – Release on a Free/Mutual Termination

    If you no longer want the services of a player at the club and can’t shift him on to another team, you may want to release the player from his contract and make him a free agent. If you decide to do this, you will have to pay off the remainder of his contract, unless you agree a mutual termination with the player. Should he also want out of the club, offering him the chance to leave the club in a mutual agreement for a lower payoff or completely free of charge may be successful, but it will not be in all cases and you may end up merely making the player more stubborn, in turn making things harder for you as he takes offence at being asked to leave.


    You can choose to speak to or about the player from this section, with a range of subjects to discuss. You might wish to praise his recent form or conduct, or you could have more stern words with him about his work in training, his recent form, or his conduct; all of which might land him on the transfer list.

    You can also discipline your players from this section. Exactly how much depends on your tendencies and how much trust you want to place in your players, but if any of them step out of line, you can discipline them to the tune of an official warning or a fine of one/two (maximum) week’s wages.

    Players can only be disciplined if they’ve committed a misdemeanour. If they act unprofessionally, are violent, are dismissed during a match, or simply haven’t put in the performance you expect them to, hit them where it hurts – their wallet.

    However, be warned. Excessive punishment can lead to you garnering a negative reputation; your players won’t like this and, eventually, your board won’t either. Fine too many players at once for a debatable reason and you’ll be hearing from your superiors. Manage it well, and you’ll have a squad that keeps in line.

    Comparison – Player Comparison

    Take two players, similar positions; maybe they differ in age, height and weight. They’re comparable. Football Manager™ allows you to take two players and compare every facet of their game.

    The default behaviour for the Comparison section is to offer a comparison to a player you have recently viewed, so if you are intending to compare two players, click to the first player’s profile screen, then the second, then choose ‘Compare With’.

    The comparison has different views available but by default the ‘Overview’ view is set. Here, their biographical information is compared, then their attributes matched off against each other in the form of attribute polygons.

    Using the comparison feature will allow you to make well-informed judgment calls on places in your squad between players or deciding on potential new signings.

    Comparison - Find Similar Players

    This operates in the same manner as the ‘Create Player Search Filter’ used to, and when clicked will scan the database in your saved game for players with a similar attribute profile to the selected player.

    History - Keep History After Retirement

    If you wish to retain a player’s career history once he has retired, ensure that this option is enabled. For more information on how this feature works, please refer to this section of this manual.


    This section is where you can see details on player comparisons, should you wish to carry them out.


    The History section contains three screens that together form a historical record of a player’s career.

    The ‘Career Stats’ screen is the default option when the History section is chosen – it displays a season-by-season record of a player’s league appearances and goals. Furthermore, for in-game seasons, it contains more statistical information which is also accessible by selecting the appropriate table row.

    The ‘Milestones’ screen lists the time the player spent at each club in a career and any achievements he earned there. A description of the player’s life and career is available under the embedded ‘Biography’ tab.

    ‘Injuries’ keeps a record of all injuries sustained by the player, which can be a useful reference when considering signing or selling a player.

    Create Note/Notes

    In a similar manner to the Notebook feature detailed here, this holds all notes specific to the individual from which you are accessing this.

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