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About _Ben_

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  1. It was at this moment, the eighty-third minute of the game, that it all slipped away from us...
  2. April 2036 We are continuing to do all that we can but have looked far less secure this month than in past ones. Two down at home to Braga (coincidentally both goals from a striker I sold them in the summer), it took some late magic to turn it around. That was echoed with a late screamer from Bolas to secure the win over Rio Ave and, despite our dominance, we didn't settle the Benfica game to the last ten minutes either. This title is going to the wire and we travel to Porto in the last game of the season. At this rate, only a win will do!
  3. Whole squad mentoring The above is a picture of each of the 'best XIs' from my U19 team to my first team - and their DET and personality. I am looking at how my own squad has had an influence on their personality and determination level. I found tutoring too easy in past versions - I'd get Medina and Gutierrez (once he turned 23) to work through all the defensive and offensive players and be made; but now that doesn't work, I need a new approach. I have barely used the mentoring tool on this year's version - for two reasons. A) What you can see below - the squad is already classed as 'highly professional' and it is rubbing off on other players and B) I have tried to recruit players with good personalities and that has kind of masked my inability to get the most from this. Firstly - some squad background. Every player in the U19 team (left image) was produced by my club so there is no external recruitment to find the best 15/16 year olds. The U23 team is comprised largely of recruited players: Tutinho, Guedes, Miranda, Azevedo, Tomas, Franco and Eusebio have all come from elsewhere. Each of these has a positive personality and a reasonably high attribute for DET. My first team is also made up of largely recruited players and they have all kept the same personality - only G.Marques, Silva, Tinoco and Folha are academy graduates. Some of the now-first team players I have purchased, at a younger age, had better personalities but they have diminished due to the attributes and personality of the team leaders - Folha, Braz and D.Marques. Ideally - I will have the likes of Medina and Gutierrez around for long enough for them to become team leaders and assert their personality on to others. There is a definite development of positive personalities as the players go through the squads. Looking at my own players who have made the grade from the youth team to the U23 team - they have all changed points for DET: Fernando 14 to 12, Balde 3 to 7, Carvalheira 11 to 13 and have all picked up a fairly pro personality - largely down to Folha as well as Bolas (F.Pro with Det of 14) and Vieira (F.Amb with Det of 14) who used to be team leaders. Now - it looks clear that players are seemingly 'learning from/adapting to' the team leaders and this furthers my want for Model Citizens as team leaders (even though Folha is my favourite player) so that my own youth (it seems that there is no issue with being in different squads to gain the squad impact) get the best head start before they make the first team and can be mentored. Currently, my only first team mentoring is a group containing Medina and Marques (13 DET to 14) and Tiago Silva (20 DET to 15) in attempts to convert them to M.Citizens. This approach will hopefully mean they'll come to me with a decent level and my influential players (Medina, not yet a team leader, has dropped from 18 DET to 17 but not lost his M.Citizen tag) can 'finish' them off. ---- I feel like the progression is natural and I shouldn't worry too much about the personality of my intake, provided I have either recruited or developed first team players with a good personality and determination level and team leaders who are able to rectify that if and when they finally reach the first team.
  4. Thanks - Gutierrez is (by classification only) behind the 'world class goalkeeper' Braz, 'elite' midfielder and striker Valderamma and Folha. Aside from that, he probably is behind just Medina in terms of quality but my youngster, Tiago Silva, is not far from him - if I was to look at pure Current Ability. He does fit in with my DNA and is one of six players to have a rating of over 12 in all of them: In terms of my youth ranks - I'm in a bit of a strange place... I have some really decent youngsters but, when I'm still trying to give it all to win the league, struggle to give them time and chance to develop. If I was still midtable, or I was running away with the league, I could definitely afford much more time for them. I have three solid squads of players and only two or three of the U19 are just 'stuck in' to fill out the team, without a solid developmental plan in place for them. It's just how much first team game time I can allow them given how good Porto seem to be.
  5. March 2036 Around the world As I progress through the game world, I sometimes lose track of what is happening and why I am facing certain teams in Europe. There are few surprises, partly down to only running the top tier of all other nations, so there have been no rags to riches stories similar to my own but West Ham currently sit in 2nd in the Premier League, 14 points behind run away leaders Man City, looking for their first title since 2032 and their second in fifteen years. La Liga is headed by Real Madrid and Real Sociedad - the surprise package have not finished above fifth in the whole time of the game but are closely followed by Barca and Atletico. PSG are, with seven games left, 26 points ahead as they look to continue their dominance - with only Lyon winning a league (2019/20) since the game began. Inter, the dominant side in Italy, are ten clear of Milan as they look to add their eight straight title and Schalke sit clear at the top of the Bundesliga, with giants Bayern down in fourth. Youth Intake Admittedly, I got a little angry at this one. I don't use the stars now but I am aware that these youth players are being compared, potential definitely, to those currently at my club. I have a couple of world class players in a league whereby we stand out as one of the three or four head and shoulders above the others. I, therefore, know that, despite the clearly high youth rating Portugal has, that the likelihood of repeatedly churning out top quality players within a league and nation of this reputation is going to be hard - particularly when Aveiro is one of the smaller cities when compared with Lisbon and Porto. Despite this - I saw a 'stands out as one of the better players this year' and then a plethora of 'DNA' attributes between the range of 5 and 9 along with a host of terrible personalities. Previously, I had said that I would keep all of the youth players and try and develop them in some way. However, the aforementioned anger saw me release all but five of these players and, even then, I have doubts how good they could be. However - here are the best two: Alberto a dual national Spanish-Portuguese full back who has a good personality and a very decent set of base attributes. He wasn't identified as a standout of this intake, which may suggest he doesn't have a huge amount of potential but I like this initial player. He is a little on the small and fragile side which inhibits his aerial presence but crossing is the lowest of all the 'key' attributes for this position and role (and I do use a WB(s) at left back) so some development should see him with no real weak areas. His decisions and bravery may see me adding a trait such as diving in to tackles. He'll stay on the WB(s) training schedule and initially I will look at developing his strength as that will have a knock on to his jumping reach - which will be of assistance in the full back role. Following that, I will look at his game and see what areas I would like to focus on developing - should he have the potential to be a 'specialist' - e.g. focus on developing his passing to a high standard. Interestingly, he lists Rodrigo Palacio as one of his favoured personnel - a M.Citizen with Evasive, plays mind games and unflappable (Garcia is Pro and Evasive) with a Spanish second nationality but with an urgent pressing style (linked to work rate?), a mental coaching style (I would say that these are above average mental attributes for a 15 year old), an attacking coach (linked to the more solid attacking attributes and the support role [rather than the normal NFB(d) or FB(d) that they normally generate with]) as well as a coach who likes to allow creative freedom (again - I would say that his vision is above average for a 15 year old full back). In the past, I have looked extensively at what makes the player what they are and I'm probably clutching at straws here, but it's an interesting thing to look at with each intake and definitely makes focusing on youth staff really imperative. He also recently starred with a goal and an assist in the Youth League quarter final victory over Ajax - not a bad first appearance for your new club as a 15 year old! I don't, generally, like strikers who can't pass as I don't expect him to be within a goalscoring distance every time he touches the ball so that will be the first job for Vaz. However, I do like that he can control the ball, run with it and finish, whilst getting into solid positions when we are in the build up. Therefore - I don't want to look at his passing and immediately want to retrain him elsewhere. His mental attributes aren't too bad - composure can quickly be turned to double figures as can anticipation and his physical statue with grow as he does. I want to him to unlearn his player trait of not diving in as that kind of work rate up-top could be a good asset in my first line of defence and I don't necessarily mind if we give a foul away there instead of conceding a dangerous ball over the top. However- he has a competitive streak so this could see a lot of bookings even though his aggression isn't high. Initially - I am going to train him as a T(A) because it focuses on technique, passing, decisions, composure and anticipation - without a lot of the added attributes that a CF(A), for example, does. It also leaves a lot of high physical attributes that will grow with age and team training. Further down the line - I want him to train as a PF(A). He will also have an additional focus of passing and final third, rotated every few months. I can't get a lot from his favoured backroom staff but he is listed as level headed, which, when added to his F.Det personality gives no indication of his professionalism. He listed Matheusinho as his favoured staff (amongst others) and he is an attacking coach with a balanced personality (has a DET of 11 so this could actually match Vaz apart from his own rating of 16) and the same media handling style. This gets really interesting if the coaching staff are ex-players and I know what kind of player they were - sadly, I have no idea who this Brazilian U19 coach is...
  6. February 2036 Our defeats were nearly ten months to the day apart - losing last April to Real Madrid and we suffer the same fate in the Spanish capital this year. However, the rest of the month was perfect and we are doing all we can to remain in this title fight.
  7. January 2036 Porto are scared of us buy just that little bit better than us right now. We dominated them - outshooting them 35/8 and they literally sat back in their 5-4-1 shape - scoring from a set piece. Howeer, we have dropped points against Leiria and Cova, giving them a two point cushion which could grow to five. We are still unbeaten and in fantastic form but so are Porto and we will go to them close to the end of the season. A tough month on the legs where we added the Taca da Liga to our trophy cabinet - once again showing that we can beat the big guns. A lot will come down to how we can manage our time between the league and our Champions League endeavours.
  8. Transfer The January transfer window has seen me strengthen my squad with two new recruits with only one senior member of the squad departing. With Diogo Vargas, now in his third loan spell at Portimonense, behind Valderrama and Silva and Bolas and Vieira, the elder statesman of the team, not up to scratch - I really need some new blood in the middle of the park. £240k was enough to convince Leon to sell me this man, who stands out for his fantastic personality and reasonably well rounded game. He's got a bit of everything about him - he can win the ball back and then move it on. He is a little on the short side and lacks the ability to do something out of the ordinary but I have a good feeling that he could develop well for me. The big one. A club with a previous record signing of just £3.7m and one that wants to win the league would indicate that such a meagre record wouldn't last too long. £9.5m was paid for the acquisition of Chilean Franco Gutierrez. Like his Chilean team mate Cristina Medina, he has arguably the best personality in the game and a great set of attributes to back it up. Whilst I always want to see my own players develop, I felt that Elson Paulo had probably reached his peak and was moved on for £2.6m. He's probably been undervalued by me given our weaker league rating to that of Germany but he offered too little in the team work and work rate area and his concentration (or lack of) was noticeable as he'd disappear out of games. Gutierrez offers me a much more hardworking attacker who is a little more robust and has world class decision making. His only major weakness comes when he gets to the player, as his tackling is awful. He could maybe do with some natural development on his concentration but there is little else I would change. I will plan to train him as an IF(A) and will give him chance to develop a finishing player trait, although I am unsure of which one yet. My scouts and coaches came back with a glowing report on him - he's a current international, versatile, enjoys big matches and there was no red markers on his dirtiness, consistency or ability to settle in a new country. The lad first came on to my radar whilst playing in Chile but I didn't feel that his attributes, at 18, warranted the £5m that took him to the east coast of the USA but I watched as he performed pretty well in the MLS, earning a move to Germany. I pounced as he became unhappy with his contract at Mainz and paid just over his market value to get him. I was surprised that such a low deal was accepted and, based on his current market value, feel that I have got a bargain and one that could continue to improve. With the arrival of him - I feel that my best XI is as seen below. I have put a lot of effort into developing players from my club and, unfortunately, there is a lack of those within my team - Guilherme Marques, Tiago Silva, Pedro Tinoco and Andre Folha are the only players who have come through my academy here so, whilst the signing of Gutierrez is fantastic - it does somewhat go against what I want to achieve in the long term. However - if he can be a protagonist towards my growth as a club, every penny of the £9.5m outlay will be worth it and he could, single handedly, fund the development of many many new academy graduates.
  9. Thank you both very much! Hopefully the title win will see the next phase of the game begin - that is to make Portugal a dominant league in Europe. Never has it taken me this long to break the big teams.
  10. November and December 2035 Double month update as I forgot the last month. We are currently riding high on a fantastic bit of form - having last suffered defeat in a competitive match way back in April against Real Madrid. Whilst Porto have two games in hand, which would see them leapfrog us - we do have points on the board and to enter the new year at the top is a real sign of our ambitions this season. We also coasted through our CL group on 16 points, sending Liverpool out. We face a tough test in Atletico Madrid but I fancy our chances given our formidable home form of late. Squad rotation, as such, hasn't really been happening of late - rather I have just been playing a first and second choice squad and then a youth squad for cup games. They have had a decent amount of minutes and this has helped their development:
  11. Thanks for the kind words! I must admit that I have slipped somewhat in my updates of late - but, when I know people are enjoying the read, will work on writing down some more thoughts.
  12. October 2035 We march on! 24 games unbeaten now and we are looking very strong in the league, albeit with a few defensive worries in the last three games on the month.
  13. August and September 2035 One trophy and just one blemish to an otherwise perfect two months to the season. We look fantastic going forward and, despite a couple of silly mistakes, most notably at two up against Gil Vicente, solid at the back. The use of structured U23 and U19 squads has allowed me to rotate well, bringing a player to the first team for a week or two and directly replacing him with his 'understudy' - this has led to plenty of minutes for my youngsters, already. The below picture shows just how well a variety of my players are playing: Rodriguez has nine goals from just four starts, Furtado has ten assists from his nine appearances thus far and even perennial slow starter Andre Folha has eight from his first ten games. As seen above, we have Dinamo in our CL group, along with Liverpool and Bayern. Third could be a great shot at winning a European trophy but I might be able to sneak through if the giants take points off each other.
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