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SFraser

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  1. Defending Here you can see how the midfield and forwards press while the defensive line is a bit more cautious, and you can also see that the centre tight marks while the flanks are more flexible about their defensive duties. This set of instructions came about automatically through the TC and is pretty effective for starting off most games. However I do tend to adapt these instructions via shouts particularly early on in the match once I get an idea of the how the opponent has set up to play. Ball Usage And here is my Philosophy of playing football. Bags of Creative Freedom, mainly Mixed Passing with a slight hint of direct for the attacking players, and everything else mixed barring a few exceptions. Centrebacks don't dribble, players hitting longshots need to be good at them, my CM's pump throughballs all day long, and no one is to cross the ball unless it's an absolute certainty because my team is rubbish in the air. This set of instructions pretty much equates to a "Passing Game Mixed" instruction. A passing game is on equal footing with a dribble choice or a throughball for every player barring CB's and CM's. It's then up to the player to be able to see the match around him and act intelligently. Conclusion And that is my system pretty much. It's a system that combines a particular view on a particular tactical system with a personal playing philosophy, combined to significant attention to detail in instructions but also combined to immense flexibility in match. It's a system that has taken me ages to design, is never finished, and produces some of the greatest football I have ever seen from the ME. There are the details on shouts to go into but I will leave that for a further post. Also if anyone would like some PKM's please let me know, but keep in mind this is for FM10 so you will need to have that game installed and patched to 10.3.
  2. Part 5: Building The Team A team is not a set of instructions working in harmony, it is a collection of players working in harmony. Nor is it a shape and a basic strategy that can be tweaked. This is what is commonly referred to as a "framework" or a basic set of simple principles that govern certain aspects of a team. A team is something much, much deeper than that. What I have set out already is a basic shape for my team, a set of basic fundamental principles for my team to play by, and a capability for my team to be immensely flexible in it's approach to different matches and different match contexts. I haven't yet put together a team. Putting The Team Together This I suppose is the closest thing I have to a "First Team" and I have them here displaying their roles and duties and their key attacking attributes. Ignore the roles and duties just now, they are actually nothing like they appear to be from this screenshot. It's the highlighted attributes that are most important. From left to right they are Determination, Decisions, Creativity, Flair, Off The Ball, Teamwork. The first thing that is noticable is that they are all Mental attributes, and the second thing is that they are all Attacking attributes. This is my overall gameplan in a nutshell, a defensively solid system that is easily adapted that is being carried out and played by 11 highly intelligent, very attacking, very cohesive set of players. How this is obviously a fabulous group of players, but just how fabulous is it? Determination - Green across the board. The majority are packing 18 Determination with a few above and a few below. This is an absolutely resolute, relentless side. Decisions - A crucial attribute for a team that is given freedom to play. Decisions are 15 or higher for all players, with most of my best decision makers playing through the spine of the team. Creativity - Another vital attribute for my particular style of play. I have two 19 Creativity players , a CM and a winger, and bags of creativity throughout the rest of the team. But look who I didn't pick, two 20 Creativity players and two 18 Creativity players. I can change the game with ease and bring on four players that will transform the match into a game of pure superior vision. Flair - Good quality Flair down the flanks, but absolutely immense levels of Flair in my three most dangerous "forwards". Off The Ball - My four most advanced players have immense levels of movement, precisely what is needed in conjunction with high levels of Creativty and Flair. My two central attacking players are both packing the maximum levels of movement possible in the game. Bingo. Teamwork - High levels of Teamwork throughout the team, reaching it's maximum levels in my two central attackers that both have the highest movement. My most lethal movers are both played through the middle and are both my best team players. Bingo again. Even dealing with just six offensive Mental attributes this team is a thoroughly cohesive unit. Now as I said before it is unlikely a manager is ever going to get a perfect set of players but that is not the point, it's not even the fun of the game. The point is to put together a team that makes sense, that is actually a team. You can be assured that regardless of variable strengths and weaknesses in my players, all combinations of attributes for players in my team will be likewise as cohesive as I can get them, that is what a good team starts and ends with. But it's not the be all and end all. Because a team will always be built of different players with their different strengths and weaknesses, played in a system of the managers choosing and with his particular philosophies and plans in mind, the task is always about building efficient and effective relationships between players on the pitch. What I have listed here is a set of excellent players with all the right attributes to be a ferocious team, but now I have to build that ferocious team, I have to put it together with the Tactical Instructions. By now you should be seeing my team starting to take shape, you should be realising that I am putting together something particularly potent. But I have only outlined the basic shell of my team. The Guts of a Team : Building Behaviour and Relationships I am not going to go through each position one by one, for two very good reasons. First it would require several additional posts and multiple images. Second it deals with players as individuals and not as parts of a cohesive unit. It's not how I make my tweaks, it's not how I build my teams, it's not how I think about tactics and players. What I am going to do instead is explain how I build my teams, and explain how I instruct and tweak my teams, as a team. The image above does not describe what I am comfortable tweaking and what I am not comfortable tweaking. The image above shows the way I have split Tactical Instructions into Player Specific and In-Match Dependant tactical instructions. One set of instructions fits a player into a team, the other set of instructions defines a team. Now this does not mean that the unticked instructions are not tweaked specifically for my team, this could not be further from the truth. Instead the truth is that my initial Team Philosophy is combined to the Role and Duty options and I choose the initial Role and Duty based on the shape and balance and structure of the Mentality, Creative Freedom and so on. By doing it this way I can change things quickly and easily, say changing my AMC from Attacking Midfielder Attack to Advanced Playmaker Attack for a quick and complete change to Mentality and Creative Freedom, but still have these options directly alterable by the in match shouts. This is a way of maintaining complete control over what a player does, as well as getting maximum benefit out of the In Game Shouts. I am not going to explain the thinking behind this particular set of instructions right here and right now because as I said before it will give the completely wrong idea. Instead I am going to talk about something much deeper. Mentality Structure Although Mentality is unticked, the selection of my Roles and Duties is aimed specifically at achieving the ideal internal shape for my system. By internal shape I mean the shape the players actually employ from their initial starting shape. Despite choosing a "Balanced" initial philosophy you will notice that my Mentality Structure is almost perfectly identical to a "Very Fluid" philosophy, barring a couple of clear exceptions. This is the view where I actively design my teams shape and coherence in terms of risk taking. Because none of the options are ticked it means I can alter these "on the fly" during a Match. However it also means that if I want to make subtle changes to this shape I have to go and flick about with a bunch of Roles and Duties untill I find the ideal combination. It's not perfect, and I said the TC was not perfect, but it is still very achievable if a little time consuming. The shape here is quite simple. It's a completely fluid attacking set of Mentalities, barring the midfield partnership and the centreback partnership who each play a bit more conservative. This has the result of my midfield duo sitting slightly deeper than they otherwise would in a pure Fluid system, and hence why my Dual CM 4-2-3-1 is still a true 4-2-3-1, and they also play a slightly less risky game when in possession of the ball. My Centrebacks sit deeper yet and play even less risky yet but then I automatically start off playing with a High D-Line and tend to push forward even more against most teams, so it's an ideal trade-off. It's not the most convoluted Mentality framework in the world but it doesn't have to be. My two CM's are fast, positionally excellent, good in the air, intelligent and great technical footballers so they drop off, protect my Centrebacks and absolutely dominate the midfield. My Centrebacks sit behind and because players rarely get through my midfield and even rarer with two forwards, they mop up in a nice intelligent combination of pressing and covering whichever side is being attacked. The simplicity of the relationship between my two centrebacks and their relationship with my two CM's again belies the potency of their behaviour. When the ball is down one side of the pitch I have effectively a DM ahead of two Centrebacks playing down the other side. Counter-attacks are not very effective against this system because I have four amazing defensive players playing in a square. One man goes to the ball, the other three adopt excellent defensive shapes like seen in my Tactical Images in the first post. But defence is not the only benefit from this Mentality Structure. My deep CM's are excellent playmakers, indeed one of them has 19 Creativity and 20 Passing, and so the opponent has to the difficult choice to make of whether to leave the worlds best DLP free to dictate the match, or to press him and leave space in behind the midfield for my AMC to exploit. It's a subtle question asked of the opponent and it's incredibly powerful. Rather than go through each of these views in isolation and take ages while losing the idea of cohesion, I will group together different views under different tactical ideas and flesh out the details of my system in relevant context. Positioning and Movement The very Fluid attacking Mentality structure with the CM and CB "box" dropped deeper is again present here. This time though you can see that my Fullbacks are asked to bomb right forward, while my box doesn't make any forward runs. My fluid attacking four are tasked with making runs "by percentages". Neither too early or too late, but ideally right on the button. However all players outside my back five are given Roaming instructions. This is because the movement into space and exploitation of space is crucial in my attacking philosophy. There are sometimes some weird results but overall my players Roaming behaviour is excellent. The wideplay is crucial because with my Fullbacks pushing really far forward, my wide players don't have to play like wingers and nor do I want them to. I ask them to weigh the option to move infield as much higher than any other. Ofcourse sometimes they still pull wide as that option is supreme, but on the whole they tend to move infield and feed the ball through the centre. This can often mean a quick long ball from my CM pinged out to the Fullback down the flank who now has much more space. Or it can mean Aguero dribbling infield and sticking one in the top corner. It can also lead to a cunning short ball through to Rooney who has moved up from AMC into a striking position behind the fullback that the winger has dragged wide. Ultimately the combination of advanced fullbacks, wingers that cut inside and an AMC that pulls into the channels has a really powerful impact on the opponents fullback positions, very much like the tactical images I put up in my original post. Jaume doesn't move into channels, his job is to pin Centrebacks and exploit the slightest error with Hernandez esque movement.
  3. Part 4: Getting Down To Details, My Brand Of Football I understand the system, I know the general philosophy I wish to play by, I could punch it all in to the games menus and produce a spectactular fail. Or I could produce a great success, it would be equally as random. Football isn't about finding a good defensive system with decent lines of attack and then telling your players to go play creative football. That's the Kevin Keegan way. That might be a bit harsh, but you can be absolutely sure it's not the FM way. FM doesn't forgive those who do not design systems. You don't have to have microscopic attention to detail to design formations in FM but you absolutely must be capable of designing coherence into your team. It is absolutely vital that you can put together a team, based on all the old and never dying footballing concepts. Centreback and midfield partnerships, overlaps, supplying strikers, freeing up playmakers, doubling up on flanks, to cross or not to cross? That is the question. Creating space, denying space, balancing your lines, building your lines. It sounds complicated but it's not. Or atleast you don't find it complicated if you enjoy it. And you certainly don't have to do it all at once. I find these things to be continually ongoing processes, indeed once you get into the swing of the game this is what tactics, substitutions and squad rotation is all about. It's about tweaking all the little "modules" in your team. The groups of players. Playing a slow but immense Centreback this game? Then play a speed merchant box-to-box in midfield and a quick witted, creative forward. That's cohesion. These things take time to learn and time to develop, but they never have to come at the expense of your overall concepts. Get your signings right and these things enhance your overall concepts. You are still playing the overall brand of football you want to play, but you are improving the ability of players to play together. The question is, where do you start on such a vast and elaborate issue? Overall Plans The first place to start when it comes down to the actual details of building a team is to realise that regardless of your own preferences and philosophy for football, you are still going to be playing your football against many different teams. Each opponent will have their own strengths and weaknesses as a team and as a group of individuals. Each opponent will give you at the very least a slightly different game to the previous opponent and some opponents will give you a radically different game. And while the manager may have the aim of building a "perfect footballing team" the manager must also be acutely aware that the fans and the board demand results. The team playing "perfect football" must be the team that's achieving. Style and philosophy must be effective. In FM as in football, effectiveness tends to be an issue defined not by the absolute ability of one team and the excellence of it's initial formation, but by the changes a manager makes to adapt to different teams and then to different circumstances throughout the match. One of the most effective tactical concepts in recent years on this forum has been the idea of "Tactics Sets". These are essentially different "versions" of the same fundamental system to be used when you need to be more attacking, more defensive, keep possession, play counter-attacking football or to completely "shut up shop". Prior to FM10 there were pretty much two completely different ways of playing FM from a tactical sense. The first was absolute precision engineered, multiple tactical sets that was the equivelant of designing four or five systems for your team, the second way was to pick one formation and one tactical system and more or less stick to it, barring the odd tweak here and there. Unsurprisingly the vast majority of FM players including myself fell into the last camp. Building four or five independant systems that each required testing and ironing out was something that required an immense amount of patience and tended to be done by a very few people. FM10 brought us a middle way. One that was neither as inch perfectly custom designed as the Tactical Set approach, but nowhere near as stale and inflexible as the "one tactic + odd tweak" approach. That middle way is ofcourse the TC and it's shouts, and it is one of the greatest ever additions to this game from a tactical point of view. It's not perfect, but it is truly excellent and perhaps even game changing. What the TC and Shouts offer is the ability to take one starting system and then make a lot of changes to it very quickly and easily. It takes only a couple of turns of the mousewheel to radically alter how a particular position performs on the pitch, a few clicks to completely change the defensive or offensive nature of your team. The TC brings the true dynamism and variation and pro-active/reactive decision making of a football match to FM. It changes the complexion of tactics themselves. Now in FM my core plan is not simply to build a good formation with good tactical ideas, but to build a good system with good tactical ideas that offers the greatest range of options for change and offers the greatest results when employing the Shout changes. My core plan is to build a system that I know how to change quickly and easily, and that performs effectively in the desired manner when I make those changes. My core plan is to build a basic system that can be three, four, five different but equally effective things on the pitch with a few easy clicks of the mouse. The starting position for My Brand of Football is therefore a starting position of relative neutrality based on what I want to do. Because of the team I am and the philosophy I have my starting position of relative neutrality is going to edge towards an intelligent, flamboyant system. I can then adapt this system to become more offensive or defensive, more or less direct, more or less aggressive in closing down, more or less aggressive in the tackle, more or less wide, more or less creative. Precisely because I know that what I am starting with is a relatively neutral version of my system and philosophy I can then become more or less offensive/defensive in a variety of ways as the match dictates, or even diverge completely from my philosophy if I need to. The TC offers me many immense tactical weapons to use. The key first issue is therefore to build my relatively neutral system that employs my philosophy. Building The System This is the basic shape of the team and the basic set of Team Instructions. Technically speaking the shape is considered by FM to be a 4-4-1-1 due to the two CM's. However the system I have built is the closest to what I would consider a pure 4-2-3-1 system in function. I will go into more detail later in the post about the midfield. The basic shape is the 4-2-3-1 system that I have chosen, and the basic Tactical Instructions reflect my relatively neutral starting tactics. Philosophy - The philosophy chosen here does not reflect my philosophy of football, it is chosen based purely on the impact it has on player tactical instructions. It is therefore one of the more complicated decisions I have made. Ultimately the "Balanced Philosophy" is the philosophy that gives me access to the range of different Mentalities for my individual players that I want to work within when designing specific individual roles. Starting Strategy - The control strategy chosen here reflects my actual Philosophy, a relatively neutral slightly attacking game with Creative Freedom and limited risk taking. Passing Style - Passing Style Default. Passing Style can ofcourse be changed through Shouts so I would leave this untouched in order to have maximum options for shortening passing or making it more direct. However I tend to prefer a Passing game that is neither short nor direct anyway. My personal passing preference is an intelligent passing game of good choices that is free from any undue manager influence that may provoke players to aim for inferior options. Sometimes I do Shout "Get Ball Forward" but only when I am desperate for a goal. Creative Freedom - More Expressive is a core component of my attacking philosophy anyway. I want my players to have freedom to express themselves regardless of what else is going on the pitch. While I set up the team, instruct the team, design the team, pick the team, I'm not the one that has the ball at my feet and passing options around me. One of my core philosophies in FM is that the best attacking football comes from giving intelligent players the freedom to play. Closing Down - Default, to be increased or decreased or left alone depending on the match. My initial system will be neither aggressive nor back off closing down but relatively intelligent closing down in a Zonal Marking starting system. Tackling - Default, again to be reduced or increased depending on what is happening. "Inferior" teams tend to fall over a lot and play for free-kicks, "superior" teams tend to get on with it and go for the kill. Tackling is a key match-by-match tactical decision, as are most options in this list. Marking - As I explained earlier the 4-2-3-1 is a key shape, and a key shape requires Zonal Marking to keep shape. I wont always require the pure defensive quality of the 4-2-3-1 and so I wont always require Zonal Marking, but I start off with Zonal Marking by default and alter that if I want to put opponents under pressure. Infact the combination between marking, pressing and tackling has a radical effect on many different ways your team plays. Zonal + High Pressing + Light Tackling = World Cup 2010 defence in depth. Man Marking + High Pressing + Hard Tackling = local derby match. From this basic starting position a few good Shouts makes a vast difference to how your team plays it's defensive game. And that's the whole point of these initial options. Crossing - Default. This option is different from the rest in that it has no impact on my tactics because Crossing is something I individually tailor for each player. Roaming- Default. Same as above, individually tailored for each player. The Specific Instructions are not touched on this screen. They show how this arrangement of instructions works at the minute. All of these options can be tweaked in match via shouts, and so I do not touch them in this screen. What is important though is to be aware of them, make sure you understand completely where you start and then you can be completely confident in what you Shouts List is telling you and what options it is offering you. If I want to tuck my inside forwards infield and focus play down the flanks then I will shout that, I will shout "Play Narrower and Exploit the Flanks" and so on. Shouts are an immense boon now, and this basic system is set up to make use of them. I also do not choose Set Piece Aims because it is far too easy to exploit the AI. I will set up some basic set piece orders that give my team a good rough shape without exploiting anything specific, and then let my players pick the options. Basically my set piece setup is to make sure my team is not all over the place and leaving gaps in defence rather than an attempt to gain an advantage over the AI. Conclusion That is the basic system set up, not the whole package by any means. What has been done here is simply to define a shape and a basic template for play that gives me a wide variety of options in how to adapt the actual detailed system I am going to build along logical, team based lines. This overall system is designed to be able to make maximum use of the Shouts in line with my basic system and philosophy ideas. It's a very simple initial team setup, but the simplicity belies it's basic practical soundness as an overall system as it is, and belies it's immense flexibility when the manager is standing at the side of the pitch shouting orders at his players. This is the rough basic system I line up with in every match, it is by no means the meat and potatoes of the team.
  4. Part 3: The Attack As I explained before due to certain limitations in FM in terms of tactics I have chosen to opt for a defensive shape that attacks rather than vice versa. However while some 4-2-3-1 systems can be convoluted in attack and regularly change shape in real life, the two most outstanding 4-2-3-1 type systems in the last World Cup were pretty simple yet rather profound in what they did. Those two were Spain and Germany. While there is some debate over the exact system Germany played, that's kind of the point. The Spanish and German systems were both very similar yet completely different, and both showed us some spectactular new ways of understanding how to attack with the 4-2-3-1. The Spanish system was based on patient, probing, "tiki-taka" football that ground opponents into submission and seized on opponents switching off for a second. The German system was based on lightening fast surgical incisions in vast numbers into the opponents weakest areas. Neither system employed much in the way of radical shape changes between defence and attack. Both systems exploited a certain property inherent in the 4-2-3-1 system, that property is asymmetry. The previous thinking behind most 4-2-3-1 systems was you defend amazingly but when you attack it's pretty much up to your awesome AMC to carve out chances for your lone striker. Your two wingers can help with the counter-attack, help get the ball upfield quickly and maybe cross for your striker or AMC/Second Striker or maybe play the ball to your AMC and let him work his magic. The logic then follows that two AMC's would be better than one, that the Barcelona 4-1-2-3 formation which pushes two players forward behind the striker would be much more offensively potent because it has an additional AMC type player. That's not entirely untrue, it is sound logic. The problem is that as more and more teams employ 4-2-3-1 systems to defend against you, you are increasingly going to be trying to attack through the middle of teams set up to defend through the middle, and you will be ignoring the space they actually give you. In the World Cup we saw Spain and Germany line up with systems that absolutely tore apart the space teams were giving them, by turning the attacking weaknesses of the 4-2-3-1 into strengths. Spain Here is a rough example of the average Spanish line up, with some artistic effect in the back line. The Spanish didn't actually use wingers in the World Cup. They used Iniesta who you could argue is a winger but more accurately is one half of the Xavi - Iniesta footballing carousel of infinate doom. They also used David Villa who is a lethal goalscorer. Basically what is going on here is that the defenders and strikers are down one side of the pitch, through the middle and down the other side of the pitch are the playmakers and supporting cast. Watch what happens when the team starts attacking: A humongous quantity of attacking threat is built down the right flank, the opponents defence shuffles along to try and cope with the numbers, the defenders have to be at peak concentration and organisation to prevent Xavi and Iniesta working an opening between them, and sooner or later somebody takes their eye off of David Villa... And guess what, Germany played their completely different style exactly the same. Germany While the Spanish system was premised on dominating possession and probing open teams, the German system was based on counter-attacks. For this reason Ozil tended to play more advanced so he could off Klose more as the ball was cleared quickly. There was always that threat of Klose holding the ball up and Ozil receiving it on the counter. That wasn't really the main threat though, infact although Ozil had an excellent World Cup he was more of a distractionary figure in the German system. The critical point in the German system was to do precisely what the Spanish system did tactically speaking, but do it quickly. When Germany won the ball it would be played wide right quickly. Lahm, Khedira and Mueller would quickly work the ball between themselves down the right flank and attack at pace. Klose would pull wide and/or deep causing the Centrebacks problems, and Oezil would punch straight through the channel between Centreback and Fullback. The plan here was to swiftly dissect the opponents left back position with counter attacking wingplay and channel bursting runs from the AMC, leaving the opponents Centrebacks in a mess. If the inside Centreback was on Klose no one could mark Oezil, if the outside Centreback was on Klose and the inside Centreback on Oezil then Podolski could make blind side runs on his fullback at the back post. Most of the time the technical, tactical spare man at the back post didn't matter because the oppositions defence was usually in complete disarray long before then. Germany scored a huge amount of easy goals from unmarked positions simply by overloading one flank at pace. They cut many teams to ribbons doing this. My Attack The attack I want to build for my team on top of my defensive base is, ultimately, a marriage of all the best things offered by the 4-2-3-1. I want the potential to play slick "Tiki Taka" possession football in small areas with multiple players eventually carving out a cunning chance. I want the piercing counter-attack using the same tactical overloading as "Tiki Taka" as employed by Germany. I want lethal and explosive Inside Forwards that carry out the role of "backpost unmarked striker". I want an exceptionally exciting AMC, ideally one that is a cross between Eric Cantona and Lionel Messi. I want the talismanic spearhead forward that doesn't simply bury hundreds of goals in his career but makes this whole system tick perfectly. I want the now obligatory world class deep lying playmaker that can land a golf ball on the head of a pin from 60 yards anywhere on the pitch that provides the ammunition for all my weaponry. And finally I want to knit all this together with a style of football that is built on style, flair, panache and self expression of the highest order. These are things to aim for, to be built into the team, and it's quite possible that throughout my time as manager I will never find a combination of players at X moment in time that produces all of these things in one team. I might build two or three different teams each with a greater or lesser ability at certain things I want to have in my team. My desires and ambitions and philosophy are ideals, they are preferences. They are not the practical issues of actually putting a team together. They are the paths down which I will guide my teams, but I may not always be able to reach certain destinations. None the less it is still my goal to one day put together a team that I consider to be "perfect".
  5. Introduction Any of you that have been following my guided tour of my current save will have noticed that something has been missing. That something is a long, verbose post on the meat and potatoes of FM, what happens on the pitch. The reason for that is simple, I am going to receive a vast amount of flack for it because of who I manage. For those who you are going to say that it is easy to win with a club like Manchester United I say you are completely correct, but it is not easy to produce a quality of football so brilliant that you don't buy the next game in the series because you will have to start over again. For those of you who have been PM'ing me wanting to know my system, this is the thread you have been waiting for. Those of you who just follow my posts with interest, then I hope this one is as interesting as the others you enjoy. This thread is based on FM10 not FM11. FM11 is the first FM that I have not bought within a week of release, simply because my current FM10 save is a story I am in no hurry to finish. And the primary reason I am no hurry to finish this story is because every time I play a match I cannot fail to admire something my players do. I have built a team that plays a style of football that I actually enjoy watching, and watching in detail. My team plays wonderful football on a regular basis and that is precisely why I am writing this thread. Is it my excellent skills as a tactician? Is it my awesome players? Is it my loads of cash and the Reputation of my club? It doesn't really matter. What matters to me is what I have put together and what it does on the pitch. I don't know the differences between FM10 and FM11 in terms of Me behaviour and tweaks to instructions or attribute behaviours or any such thing. I'm quite sure FM11 is similar enough to FM10 that most of the fine details will still apply, but the fine details are just the icing on the cake. The most important aspect of this guide will hopefully be the thinking process I explain, the way in which I go about trying to build a working system. Some introductory detail to fill you out on. I manage Manchester United, this is my first 10.3 save, and it is January 2016. Yes I do watch all my matches in full match replay. This is going to be a tactical guide based on players you all know, with me having spent over a year real time watching them in detail. That's the big build up, it better be a good guide. Part 1: The Concept Every manager has an idea. It might be an idea that comes from a rigid belief in a certain way of playing, it might be an idea based on the players he has at his disposal, it might be an idea based on the opposition. The very best managers have ideas that are based on all three of these things, but this sounds like a terrifying and frightening amount of micromanagement and detail. It needn't be. The most crucial and critical piece of tactical knowledge in the game is that players will be players will be players. Take one position with one set of instructions and play ten different players in that position, and that position will be played ten different ways. This simple truth underpins all tactical behaviour in the game. When you understand that Nani will play X set of instructions like Nani, and Ji Sung Park will play the same set of instructions like Ji Sung Park then the seemingly all conquering power of the Tactical Instructions diminishes. The Tactical Instructions are still hugely powerful but the Tactical Instructions do not define a good or bad system. The Tactical Instructions define how a player plays, and that in turn defines a good or bad system. A lot of people seem to think that what happens on the pitch depends on the instructions you select. That's complete rubbish. What happens on the pitch depends on what players you select. What the players do on the pitch is in part defined by your Tactical Instructions. Understanding the true relationship between Tactics, Players and Performance is crucial. A team is a combination of attributes and instructions facing another combination of attributes and instructions. It's not a game of Chess that we are playing here. A Leftback is not a Leftback is not a Leftback. The Rook can be a King or a Queen or a Bishop or a Pawn. Instructions don't make teams, players do. A team is all about what you do with your players. That's "the concept" of most importance. In my save I have three "concepts". I want to play beautiful attacking football, I want to be strong at the back, I want to be able to change my team by changing players instead of radically altering the fine details of the my tactics. You want it to, so does he, so does everyone. It's what we all want. The question is, how do you go about building that? Well I obviously skipped the whole league 10 to Premiership deal and loaded up my save as Manchester United so if you are looking for details on how to build an ultra defensive system you are unlikely to find them here, but you might still pick a few pointers on how to build systems. This is where some knowledge of FM is very useful. Because FM is a game it suffers from a few limitations. Some of those limitations completely void certain types of tactics. Any tactics that involve one player tucking in and the line shuffling over are out, any tactics that involve a player playing in one "area" in attack and another in defence are out. Simply put any tactics that involve a change of shape between defence and attack are incredibly hard if not downright impossible to build. I have tried. And in my opinion this is the biggest tactical flaw that exists in the game. For those of you that have been here a while, no I don't want to see arrows back either. The solution to a gameplay flaw is not the return to a system of annihilation of any challenge possibly put up by a weak AI. But that is a completely different debate and I am getting sidetracked. Because FM has these limitations on shape changes during a match, the shape you choose is ultimately the one you are stuck with. You cannot pick an offensive shape and expect it to defend as good as a defensive shape, nor can a defensive shape ever attack as efficiently as an offensive shape. While Spain and Germany might have been the master exponents of shape change in the last World Cup, unfortunately us FM players are stuck playing with the same naivety as England or Mexico. Don't get me wrong Mexico were fun to watch, but they shape they lined up in should have been the shape they formed when altering from their defensive system. It's not a shape that you can use when the opponent has the ball in your own half. Unlike the top teams in Club and International Football, in FM you cannot change your defensive shape to an attacking shape. This means choice of shape is absolutely paramount and fundamental in your tactical decision making process. Shape is arguably more important than Tactical Instructions in football, and when it comes to FM when you can only pick one shape and stick to it, it becomes utterly decisive. Part 2: The Shape This thread is supposed to be me waxing lyrical about my awesome football and not a critique of FM, so I will attempt to get back on track here. No promises though. As mentioned before you cannot change shape so your choices are either to offensive/defensive in terms of numbers, or of skill. You can't be both. The choice is between a defensive shape that has attacking skill, or an attacking shape that has defensive skill. Or that is what you would think. There are however some interesting developing tactical trends in real life football, once you can pull yourself away from the whole Messi v Ronaldo debate. Perhaps the most tactically interesting sides of recent years are not club teams like you would have expected, but Spain and Germany in last years World Cup. These two sides showed us something remarkable and previously barely highlighted. The combination of these two sides is what I base my own team on. But that's getting a bit hubris-ish, if that's a word. Time for some pics. With the FM dichotomy of shape in mind my own personal choice was to go with a defensive shape that relied upon attacking skill. I don't think I am but perhaps I am a defensive manager. I opted for this shape: Why do I choose this shape? Well the simple answer is because I think it revolutionising football. It has always been heralded as the "defensive brother" of the Barcelona 4-1-2-3 but Barcelona were not in the World Cup, yet the vast majority of teams still opted to play it. The World Cup Final was 4-2-3-1 versus 4-2-3-1, and most interestingly the World Cup's top goalscorers played a 4-2-3-1. I don't think it is a purely defensive shape, but it's defensive shape is revolutionary. Amongst the common formations here are the lines of attack, or the lines of defence you have to beat: But there is also a crucial second issue to the defensive strength of the 4-2-3-1 beyond it's basic shape, and that is how the shape works during a flowing game of football as players move around and the opponent probes and passes and the defending side tracks and hassles and harries and positions itself. In this image here the shape has pushed the ball to Manchester United's left flank to the feet of Lionel Messi, and immediately the LW, LB, LCM and AMC all go to close the ball down from four different directions, while the rest of the team drops back and tucks in, ready to cover any attacking pass or cover any possession pass infield. If the ball goes towards the centre circle where the space is on this diagram then the LCM can take up a covering position infront of the defence while the AMC, RCM, RW and FC all close down the ball. Even when employing a high pressing game this shape still pushes all attacking space for the opponent towards the edges of the dense central block of pressing players and is an excellent shape to hassle and harry for the ball and push opponents to the opposite flank. Because the space is down the outside while the players sit in between the two zones of space, the defending side has less distance to move to take up good defensive positions than the attacking side has distance to move to support play on either flank. If the shift to 4-4-2 was the birth of the modern game then the shift to 4-2-3-1 is it's maturity. Holding a shape that forces opponents down the flanks and defends the flanks with both depth and numbers might seem obvious to us today but then we have the benefit of hindsight. The modern 4-2-3-1 is in my opinion a profound evolution in the understanding of defensive systems. The place on the pitch that matters is the goal. If the movement of Total Football can defeat the man marking systems of Catenaccio then the Zonal Marking system of the 4-2-3-1 that pushes opponents to the flanks is the closest thing to perfect defence in theory that has yet existed. Theory doesn't stop Messi, but the point made regarding shape remains. It's a point you fail to understand at your peril. The point that made this past World Cup both the most boring and the most fascinating World Cup seen in decades.
  6. Brilliantly said. It's a game that doesn't just try to encapsulate good looking football or fun to mess around with football, it's a game that tries to bring football to your PC full stop. It's a game aimed at a passion. I don't think success at FM reflects knowledge of real life football, I think success at FM reflects passion about football. Success is always subjective though, but that's one of the biggest points. What you get from FM directly equals what you put in to FM. It's not the real deal, it's just a game, and those that enjoy the game most are in my opinion passionate about the virtual clubs. FM has flaws but what it brings to the table is an attempt at the complete football experience. You can tell that this a game that has it's roots in some football fanatics bedroom, because when the end product ends up in another football fanatics bedroom it is the greatest game of all time. However that's not the point of the OP. The OP is talking about how to truly enjoy this mightily impressive simulation of football as a whole. It's not a question of how FM relates to the real world, but how you relate to FM. And on that point I think the best I thing I have to say is this: Four seasons after the Jaume I posted first, this is the Jaume that Jaume has turned in to. It's only four seasons later, his career is not done and dusted. I am watching the development and evolution of his career. And the path his career has taken is interesting: In my original system he was a young prospect that had no chance of usurping the combination I had between Berbatov at AMC and Rooney at FC. No chance. That combination was absolutely lethal. Berbatov then reached and passed his peak and started to decline rapidly and so I went on the lookout for a new AMC. Jaume continued to develop and started to give me real questions based on his ability. I refused to drop Rooney though as he was my best player at my club every season. You simply can't drop a well played Rooney. My quest for a new AMC ultimately resulted in a bunch of nearly men that are all useful but none of them fit the bill. At the same time Rooney is peaking and Jaume is turning into a God. I experiment with Rooney at AMC and Jaume at FC but in my system this combination is a dud. I could drop Rooney and build my team around Jaume or drop Jaume and build my team around Rooney, but I want both players and I don't want to sign any more nearly men. So I change my system. I start by testing out 4-4-2, which lacks the midfield strength of my 4-2-3-1. I consider Rooney or Jaume playing wide but they lack the legs to make the position work. Instead I find something completely subtle but radically different. My young hot prospect CM develops into a lethal deep lying playmaker with little pace, so I drop my midfield back slightly. At the same time I push Jaume forward as the Lone Striker so he is constantly on the shoulder of the last man, and this system of a deeper CM and more advanced ST gives Rooney at AMC the space his technical skills requires to work in. And it's working excellently. This is a football story. Simply by taking interest in my players and trying to manage them, I can come on here and talk about attributes, and tactics, and the creation of space. I can talk about different types of playmakers or the tactical options opened up to you by different types of strikers. I can talk about what kind of AMC is needed for X player, or how to use X player in order to get the most out of your AMC. Simply by paying attention to my clubs football story. By being involved in my clubs story. If you miss the story, you miss the entire game. I mean that literally. But it is just my opinion. By the way, your language is brilliant. More threads like these please. It's the best thread to strike right into the heart of FM as I see it, that this forum has had.
  7. Here is mine: At age 21 I have only just begun to start him regularly with Rooney dropping deeper into AMC, but I have high hopes for him. Doubt he will oust Felipe there as goal scoring god but he will give it a bash. Swiftly becoming one of my favourite players after just scoring a hat-trick against Liverpool.
  8. I'm a very likeable chap, what with all my "expect a performance" and "angry" teamtalks. In all seriousness though I take the time to pay attention to my youngsters and treat them like you would expect young players to be treated at a football club. Introduced slowly in low pressure matches, show a bit of faith in them, observe when they play really well in the youth team then give then a bench spot or a start in the Carling Cup and so on. This is incredibly hard to do with a 30 man first team, a 30 man reserve squad and a 30 man youth team. That's why I try to keep my entire club down to around 50 players or so. You will never get totally aware of your youngsters as you do your first team stars, but atleast this way you have some comprehension of what is going on at your club. Much the same. The thing about the youth team is that you don't have to have it chock full of awesome high potential youngsters. If you are strong at rightback anyway in your First Team you wont be needing the next Gary Neville for a while. I like to keep a strong youth team as I believe that competing well in the youth competitions helps players develop but I wont panic if I don't have a three star rightback in my under-18's unless I foresee a First Team rightback problem in the future. Ultimately I keep an eye on scout reports and I will pore through the transfer lists a couple of times a season, and I will sign players that look good. Sometimes that means I then have to go and release someone I poached last year to make sufficient room for the new guy to thrive, but these are the decisions you make. You can't make every decision a perfect one. And if you keep an awesome scout free from any assignments and just send him to scout players you tell him too, he will pop up in backroom staff feedback reminding you about international competitions or countries you have missed out scouting for a while etc. etc. I will still keep him free, but I will send someone else to get on the case. The key is keeping yourself aware of the footballing world. Scouts are, obviously, a huge help here.
  9. The main attributes I look for are Man Management, Working With Youngsters, Tactical Knowledge. Then ideally you also want Judging Player Potential and Motivating. You are looking first and foremost for a good manager to keep players happy, get them playing well on the pitch, and is good with youngsters. However like every other attribute profile in the game there is nothing that doesn't have it's uses, and you are unlikely to find some theoretical perfect manager. But certain managers stand out in the game. Owen Coyle did excellent at Burnley, he is doing well at Bolton, and he is getting Daniel Sturridge firing on all cylinders. It's a no brainer to look up these managers in game, and Coyle is still manager of Burnley in the Championship in my save, so I get them as a feeder club. As Phnompenhandy says, these are decisions you have to make based on your own circumstances. Sticking to hard and fast rules when making these kinds of decisions might make it easier for you, but it is likely to weaken your overall club as you don't adapt to what is actually going on. The important thing is to understand the framework you are working within, understand the "environment" so to speak of a successful youth development process, and then make your decisions based on what is happening at your club. You could say that a two star youngster gets shipped out quickly because he will never achieve sufficient growth for your team, but what if that two star youngsters is only one of three Leftbacks at your club? What if his core positional attributes are rock solid? What if he happens to have the attributes to be able to make a high Reputation for himself far above his actual quality level? That's why I emphasise in my original posts that the most important thing to do is to mesh your Youth Team with your First Team and build a coherent club. You will have some weak links, some outstanding prospects, some areas you think might be a bit weak and some other areas you have a few too many players, but in looking at your entire club this way you can then make decisions that benefit your whole club and not just individual players. You can decide to strengthen the rightback slot not by selling your current first choice and splashing out on a new megabuck signing, but by selling Young Joe Average and investing your cash in the future First Choice rightback hot prospect youngster. Generally speaking when your First Team Squad is strong in some area, focus on youngsters for that area and through a process of elimination slowly build up a good selection of potential future players. When your First Team is weak in an area don't risk relying purely on youngsters but look to go out and make that one key signing. Once you get in to the habit of viewing your Youth Team and First Team as a whole large squad with maybe four or five players per position then everything will slot into place. You will know which parts are weak and need strengthened, which are strong and need pared down a bit, where the potential stars are and where the potential problems are. Then you can start selling or sacking your third or fourth choice players in much the same way you would handle your first and second choice. Remember that your youth team is a team, a team for the future. Don't neglect it just because you don't see it every day. Altering that mindset is the single biggest thing you can do to start developing youngsters efficiently.
  10. What I do with them is instantly release them. The lowest I keep is a decent looking two and a half star and then I do what all big clubs do, I go and poach the best youngsters off of other teams. Teams not in my position can wait untill the player comes looking for a professional contract on his 17th birthday and then release him, but I always feel bad about doing that to players. It has zero ingame relevance but I don't like giving a youngster the 17th birthday present of the boot. I'm a softie. But it's completely viable and you can do this if you don't want to pay the costs of releasing them early. Keep in mind though that making sure good youngsters have enough space to develop is essential. It's worth releasing your 5th under-18 Left Winger early if you happen to have some awesome hot-shot. I personally would release the 5th, 4th, and 3rd and leave only one back up left winger in such a context. It will place demands on the player but I find that players improve the most when they play regularly and when they negotiate testing circumstances. Mentoring in particular sees to come on leaps and bounds when a player rises to a challenge. Yes you can once you have been at the club for a while. Once you reach that position of being able to choose your own feeder teams I highly recommend you go into the Staff Search part of the transfer list and head hunt your ideal managers. You can't shortlist staff but you can keep notes on them. It's very worthwhile doing this, and it gives you something a little bit different to do in between matches as well. If the player says no the first time I wont force him a second time, but I will keep a mental note (or a real note if that's easier for you) of it and this lad is likely to be on the receiving end of no contract if I don't see good improvements.
  11. A quick update post to show some results I have had recently. Feeder Club Loveliness In my first few posts I explained how my choice of Feeder Club for my youngsters depended on the clubs manager more than anything else, barring perhaps the level of football the club played at. And for this reason I picked the best manager I could find in the Championship and asked the board if I could have his club as my Feeder Club. The manager in question was the very excellent Owen Coyle. Some two months game time after I wrote this thread I have entered the start of December, and after an early period of having to show what they can do before nailing First Team spots, my two players out on loan at Burnley have some fairly interesting results to show. Results that are unsurprising but very, very welcome. Andre Allsop I expected Andre Allsop to do well at Burnley under Coyle as he is a player of excellent quality for the Championship and has the mental attributes you would expect someone like Coyle to look for in spades. The results of his first three full months at Burnley are about as good as I could have hoped for. He did have to play his way into the team at the start, as you would expect from a manager like Coyle, but since doing this he has performed very, very well. Ten starts, eight goals, one assist, one man of the match and an average rating of 7.48 in the league. This player regularly pops up in my scout reports having played really well and banged in a goal or two. But what is even more remarkable is that in only 3 full months of the season Allsop already lists Coyle as favoured personnel and Burnley as a favoured club, and he is enjoying playing for the club. He has developed an awesome relationship with his manager and his team and he is in-form. There are still six full months of the season left to play. You will notice that there is a bit of an "old boys club" forming in his favoured personnel list. I poached him from my chum Steve Bruce, who is a very solid and sound manager in the Premier League, mentored him up a bit with Jonjo Shelvey and got himself and myself listed as favoured personnel, then loaned him out to my feeder club and Coyle became favoured personnel. This player is doing the "old boys club" rounds but is also completely buying into my clubs little footballing world. It's great stuff to see. Fred Deeney I took a huge risk with this lad sending him on loan with 12 Determination but I needed to free up space at my club for another young striker I thought had greater potential and needed my attention, so I shipped him off to Burnley for a season not expecting much. Shows how much I know huh. Twelve starts, ten goals, four assists, five man of the match and an average league rating of 7.71, this lad is firmly back on my radar. The trend of excellent club and Manager relationships alongside brilliant performances continues with Burnley and Owen Coyle again listed as favoured club and favoured personnel. There isn't much to say about this lad other than he completely surprised me. All in all these two players are forming a formidable partnership upfront for Burnley, under the excellent watch of Owen Coyle. The question you have to ask is "are these players of such a high quality they would do this anywhere" or "is this the best Feeder Club I have ever picked"? The answer would appear to show up in these players Personal Panels, with the club and the manager rated very highly by two on fire players. I don't know about you but I would consider my management of this small area of the game to be a resounding success.
  12. That's possibly because he is working. If there is nothing to report then everyone is likely to be happy and fairly motivated. A "psychologist" that keeps everyone happy is a much better staff member than a "psychologist" that reports back on problems.
  13. My personal favourite is this one: http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/220742-Creativity-and-Flair.
  14. It means his reputation has grown faster than his ability, and it's a fairly big issue I have forgotten to discuss in my guide. There is plenty of post space though so I will squeeze it in somewhere. It's quite possible to have a player develop too quickly, by that I mean exposing him to too much first team football so his Reputation accelerates away and leaves you in a position where he wont go on loan or refuses to be mentored by "lesser" players. If someone with Determination 13 becomes "the best player at your club" Reputation wise because he bangs in a lot of goals then he is stuck at Determination 13 because there is no one of a higher Reputation to mentor him with. I was bound to forget a few important things with so many other points floating around my head, so thanks for bringing it up. Be assured that Reputation is another important thing to keep your eye on, and I will at some point go back and add it to my guide. Take heed about what I said about Reputation. If these 35 year olds don't have a high enough reputation your plan wont work. It's a pretty big omission from my guide, sorry about that.
  15. Not the most fun Saturday ever. Still Sunday was much better though. The world of football turns once more.
  16. Whichever team you are most likely to get involved with. It's important you get excited about what you are doing instead of feeling like it is dull chore. Excitement is key. I think there is a lot can be said about how I constantly manage the same team and also constantly write about what is going on in my saves. If you don't get interested you wont get interested. Personally it's more important that you can look at a player and see how you think he is likely to develop. Low Determination might hold a player back in his attitude, but this might be made up by the fact he has the attributes to score 30 goals in the under-18's at the age of only 15. Or maybe the opposite is true and the player looks like he needs a lot of work to develop but is packing 18 Determination. FM is a funny game in that there are "rules" but also "no rules". There are certain things every manager wants, certain things that work in each position, but a manager has to be able to recognise talent in players rather than hunt for the ideal, because the ideal might not exist. It's about being able to look at a player and see what he actually is, and then asking yourself what you can turn him into and if you can use that in your side. Sometimes players will become more than you expected, sometimes they will be less but that's football. That's why it is so important to organise your club into a managable whole, so that you can keep yourself aware of players and get to know them as players. Here are two of the strikers I have out on loan: Dave Batchelor. Nothing special and some big flaws in this dude, but I sent him to League 1 at Stockport and his alright attributes plus immense Determination means he is tearing up that league. Fred Deeney. I took a big but calculated risk with this guy because I needed space and mentors to develop another player and I trust Owen Coyle. He is on loan at Burnley in the Championship with 12 Determination and Four Decisions. Frightening stats. But take into account he always picks the wrong choice, then combine it to his immense Flair, amazing pace, agility and fitness, excellent Anticipation and Composure and very good technical stats. His Pace, Power, Fitness, Sharpness and Composure plus his Flamboyancy and horrible decision making makes him a bit lethal upfront for Burnley. I'm guessing he has a horrible habit of trying the holywood shot against knackered defenders after he has terrorised them with direct running for 85 minutes. A bit like sticking SWP or Aaron Lennon in the Championship. These guys probably wont ever make it far at my club, but if they keep this up I'm pretty sure I can find some interested buyers to take for a ride at the end of the season. This next guy is the reason why I sent Fred Deeney on loan: He is a much more rounded pacey forward than Deeney already, with much more general intelligence and a great team player. This player is someone that could potentially do well at my club because he has the attributes to be a dangerous striker, but even more importantly he has the attributes to play a very clever game of football in a team.
  17. That's the basis of my man management techniques. Criticise players when they are not performing to the standard I demand, praise them when they achieve it or surpass it. I don't actually understand the logic behind other approaches. Why would you be nice to someone that doesn't look like he can be bothered? I do understand that some personalities require a different tact and can be quite tricky to man manage, but I personally am not a "softly softly" manager.
  18. I would sell players that are definately doing nothing more than taking up space but I wouldn't go hacking at your First Team too much in your first few seasons at a club like Arsenal. The whole point of youth development is bringing youngsters into the fold of your "squad plans" so that can rely on cheap youth to plug gaps and save up your cash for those big signings. One of my best ever signings was a player I saved up ages for, for a particular new tactical role in my team I was looking to experiment with, and that has awesome mental stats. He joined the club and performed that role to perfection so a mega plus for the whole "improving the first team" side of transfers, but the guy also came with 20 Determination and is an epic mentor. What you don't want to see is players in your reserves. If they are not good enough to be brought into your first team squad and used in rotation then they are not good enough for your club. I have quite a few players over 30 at my club but I still trust them to do a job. Good development at a young age will vastly improve players. The question is are you canny with your purchases or do you take risks in the hunt for a gem? It's important to realise that if you can run a profit when transfer dealing in your first team then the youth team offers even greater potential for growth of ability and reputation. It's all about being active and organising a club so that your youngsters become a part of your "squad view". All of that and more. Most of the players in my youth team I hand picked from scout reports and other clubs so I already know what they look like and I already know how I hope they will turn out. Then it is a matter of keeping an eye on them, seeing if they are growing, getting the right mentors, and hopefully they put in enough performances and enough good signs that you start to get excited about them and pay them even more attention. I could tell you the Jumping stats for my Youth Team Centrebacks right off the bat, I already know these things. Same for the flair for my strikers and the creativity and work rate for my midfielders. I could tell you the weaknesses of the players I have sent on loan without having to load up the game. You are unlikely to get a good "manager" style backroom staff member that will take up a youth team role. If you don't plan him to work with your senior players then give him the cheap contract if you can, but keep in mind you don't want these people being poached because you are tight fisted. What I would say is that if you intend a staff member to take youth team matches, involve him in youth team training. It might not do anything but the greater exposure might help foster positive relationships.
  19. No worse than mine after a few beers, and I like beer
  20. Personally speaking I don't like any "holes". Some weaknesses are better than others but any true "holes" I don't bother with. Having siad that it's not always so easy to tell. What you think is weak could be god of football in ten years. Because it's up to you to sign the guy, your eye matters. Look at the first post with Michels, he signed for Tottenham..
  21. Section 4: Preparing Players In the previous section I explained what you need to develop players. Now I will explain what comes after the ground work has been set, and that is the fundamental, crucial, integral elements of actively developing them. The first and greatest of these is Preparing Players. After you have turned your club into a Youth Academy and set your mind to task of developing players, the first and most vital active thing you do with any player is prepare them to develop. This is by far the most important step you take with indvidual players. The club you build gives you the greatest environment for development, but hoe you prepare players is what defines whether or not each individual player can achieve his potential in that environement. Understand what I am saying here. You have build an evironment that is productive for youth development, a significantly potent system for guiding players through every stage of their development. But for each individual player nothing matters more than you how well your prepare them to undertake this journey. Preparing players is the most crucial element of any individual players journey. Without any shadow of a doubt the most crucial thing in the preparation of each individual player is the development of their personality. There is a player development "rule" that I follow to the letter, that is borne out from several years of investigation into development and training and reputation and myriad other "under the hood issues". You don't need to know the detailed mechanics because I don't pay attention to the detailed mechanics. What matters is the core footballing principle. Player development depends on the relationship that follows: Personality x Match Experience x Level of Football. This is the player development "triangle" as I harp on about at great length. It matters. Nothing matters more to the development of any individual player. Regardless of which league you play in, who you want to improve, what you are doing, anything. Regardless of all things whenever you want a player to actually improve this is what matters. And because it matters so much it has two clear consequences: Players benefit most from their time in your Youth Team and Reserves when their personalities are developed as much as possible. Players benefit most from their time on loan when their personalities are developed as much as possible. In short players benefit the most at any level with any quantity of football when their personalities are developed as much as possible. This makes preperation both an easy and a nailed on "you-must-do-this" issue. You simply must develop personalities as soon as possible. Developing personality doesn't require match practice, it doesn't require a level of football, it requires only mentors. Mentors are key to all development. Mentors define youngsters. I have an unwritten rule at my club (Manchester United, I'm sure most of you spotted that). That rule is that anyone under Determination 13 will fail, anyone over Determination 16 will succeed. Failure might be he is sometimes awesome but usually ****, success might be he is always average, but anyone between 13 and 16 is a loose cannon and anyone under it someone I cannot trust. At any stage of development and First Team behaviour. This is a profoundly crucial issue. I have sent many Determination 17 players to my "holding feeder club" because their skills sucked, and I always get messages about "League One Player of the Month". I have sent a lot of quality youngsters with Determination 13 to the Championship and they come back saying they would have learnt more at Old Trafford. Because of that I have a simple rule now. If your Determination is under 15 you don't go on loan. This matters, Pay attention to it. It's one of the reasons why a well organised club is king. Section 5: Developing Players This section is where most people start their development of Youngsters and I end my development of Youngsters. It's also where most people end their development of First Teamers and I start my development of First Teamers. You see most people take a profoundly narrow view of development of players, from the age of 19 to 21 roughly, while my view of development of players ranges from 15 to 41. That's the youngest and oldest players at my club. Developing players is not a race. It is a marathon. Developing players is not consigned to the young, it is more than possible in the mid-career players providing your club has the "assets". Player development might start with doing your damndest to get some youngster into first team contention, but it only ever ends when you have built the perfect player in every way possible. And this doesn't happen. I think it is important to understand that player development is an integral part of gameplay with every player you have. Whether young or old it doesn't matter, the point is the same. But seeing how this is thread on the development of youngsters I will go with that vein. The most beneficial thing you can do for a youngster, after you have done all what I described before, is take risks with him. If you followed my advice and scaled down adequately then quite simply nothing is more beneficia; to player in your club than a first team appearance. And this sole fact produces a great deal of strategy and usefulness. For example I play a 4-4-1-1. I have two quality strikers of reasonable age and a third backup striker that is an OAP. I am quite comfortable in going 4-4-2 when the opposition goes 4-4-2 or has an inferior midfield. This means I have a slot for a fourth striker. My fourth striker is obviously a chap from the Youth Team, but he isn't my best youngster. My best youngster is on loan, this fourth spot is for a lad I want to pump his attributes personally. It's for that "if/but/maybe" forward I want to both observe closely and also give the maximum opportunity to. My best young striker plays for Owen coyle, he will get to be under my management next season. This season i'm comfortable to take risks with a guy I like but that hasn't made the advances I want. If he doesn't develop with this opportunity at his back then he never will. Section 6: Conclusion/Final Thoughts. And that folks is how I develop youngsters. It's not short, it's not simple, it's not plug and play but by God is it football.
  22. Section 3: What Do You Need? In the words of Roy Keane "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail". Preparation is king in FM but is all the more so crucial when it comes to Youth Development because the pre-existing youth team mechanics are awful. The best, top level, maximum quality pre-existing youth team setup in FM is a bunch of players sometimes playing a few really poor games that are kicked into the reserves when they are too old and replaced by a bunch of randomly generated teenagers. That's the greatest youth system in the world if the manager doesn't get involved and sort it out. It is horrific. I will tell you a few other things about "inherant" youth development in FM. The average club setup is not merely not conducive to Youth Development, it actually inhibits Youth Development. If your first action when you take over a club is not a root-and-branch re-organisation of the club and you just go along tweaking a few things here and there to the basic setup of your club then you will never be able to develop youngsters remotely well. The truth of the matter is simple. To develop youngsters to the level I have done in the preceding post you must turn your entire club into a Youth Academy with a First Team sitting at the apex. This more than anything else is the real challenge in youth development. To consistently develop World Class youngsters you need the ability to turn your club into a World Class youth Academy. If that sounds like too much effort that is fine. This thread is about ultimate success at a more marginalised area of the game and is thread for the hardcore FM gamer. You get back what you put in and there is no wrong in putting in great or little and getting back great or little. It is your choice. Keep in mind that lower level clubs are not going to be able to achieve high level results, so scale appropriately. I don't play much lower level football. I perfect my management ability at the club I support. Because this section contains the meat, the guts, the main content of this thread I will subdivide it into further sections for clarity: 1: Scout Network. 2: Club Composition and Relationship Between Squads. 3: Mentors. 4: Feeder Clubs. 5: Staff Members. 6: Training. Subsection 1: Scout Network Youth development begins with building up a scouting network capable of finding you good high potential young players. Make no mistake that the usual influx of random youth players will cost you money and take up starting positions that better youngsters could use. You are not running a charity here. Most of your youth team really should be made up of the best players you have spotted around the world and managed to pinch on the cheap and you should be willing and even eager to get rid of any dead wood in your youth team to make room for better players. If you keep rubbishy players at your club and then sell them, away goes a Homegrown slot from your First Team Squad. A quality player signed early from abroad will become Homegrown and actually play in your First Team Squad. Keep this in mind. A scout network is basically a "net" of eyes to quickly find lots of youngsters, backed up by a few trusted scouts to send out to give back detailed reports on their actual qualities and potential. The key is to find and highlight youngsters as quickly as possible, as early as possible, and to try and not leave any gaps in your "coverage" for gems to slip through and for opponents to find first. Coverage is relatively simple and quite sneaky. Assume that many tens of thousands of other scouts are out trawling through the world looking for gems and that players prefer to go to the better clubs in the higher reputation leagues. So in theory quality players should slowly filter up through the leagues and eventually find their way to the top clubs. This means that you want to put good scouts to work watching the best leagues for any players that filter up through the football pyramid. If you put a scout to work scouting La Liga then you are pretty much getting the benefit of every scout in La Liga, albeit the player you find will probably cost you more. However this means you are unlikely to "miss" the rise of top talent completely. You might just be a little late to the party. That doesn't get them early though, that just stops you being completely unaware of them. To get players early you need to go scouting as many Youth Leagues as you can afford to send scouts to, and you definately want to scout those youth leagues/nations that have a tendency for producing excellent youth. Like Brazil for example. Even if they are not loaded up they will still produce regens and newgens. A top class scout network might be allowed 18 scouts. I would distribute them like this: Truly awesome ultimate scout with superb reputation is your "Head Scout" and I would send him to scout "World" while his real job is to go and watch three matches of every interesting player that turns up in another scout report. I have two of these guys for increased speed of compiling multiple scout reports and for double the likelyhood of a "World" search actually finding a good player. It's quite rare. Good scouts in all of the top leagues in your game. Premier League, La Liga, Serie A are no brainers. You can quite feasibly stop there with scouting the top leagues if you like. In theory all the best players in the game should eventually end up there. For early spotting you might want to go for Brazil, Argentina, Holland as well although the Dutch seem to be underwhelming in FM for youth production. Having said that our friend Fritz Michels is Dutch so you might want to ignore me on that point. The rest of your scouts should be set to scout as many youth leagues as possible, including a couple from your own domestic leagues. The key here is not so much the quality of the reports but your scouts viewing a huge amount of youngsters in a short period of time so you can use the Transfer Filters to find good targets. It's far more effective to be able to look through the attribute panels of hundreds of players rather than waiting for good reports on tens of players, albeit a lot more time consuming for the player. The filters help though, and you can find players for positions easily enough. However you choose to set up your scout network, scouting is utterly vital. A club that is very good at developing youngsters is a club extremely active in the transfer market. You are just buying and selling for your youth team. Subsection 2: Club Composition and Relationship Between Squads. While all youth development begins with an effective and efficient scout network, the most vital, crucial, core aspect of youth development is how the manager organised his club. This is what separates the wheat from the chaff, literally. Do you have a handful of wheat or several piles of chaff? A club is not composed of two or three different clubs. A club is composed of two or three different types of matches and a whole bunch of players trying to improve themselves and win football matches. The most important thing by far when it comes to Youth Development is to completely wipe away the prior conceptions of "First Team, Reserve Team, Youth Team" and instead have a single united club where every player is known by the manager, understood by the manager, developed by the manager, and has a place in the overall heirarchy of the club. The worst thing a manager can do is have too many players for the amount of matches his club plays, or have too many players for his management ability. There is a simple test to find out if your club is poorly organised: Go into a save that is at a very busy time of the season, such as Christmas in the Premier League. Go into your First Team Squad and click the filter options and show Reserve Team, Youth Team and tick "Hide Unavailable". If there are any players that Lack Match Fitness in your entire club that are not just back from a serious injury then you have far too many players for the amount of football at your club. If there are any players you don't recognise and know nothing about then you have far too many players for your personal ability to manage. It's that simple. Youth development relies entirely upon having a club size and club composition that you can manage. If either of the two apply to you then you need to start taking the axe to some contracts if you want to effectively develop youngsters. The next thing to realise is that the only difference between all the different squads at your club is that First Team Players wont get picked for the Youth Team, and the Reserve Team Players wont get picked for anything but the Reserves. Having players in the Reserves is a bad idea. Players in your Youth Team will be picked for Reserve Matches and players in your First Team you select for Reserves will play in the Reserves. This means more football for these players, and football is good for footballers. The only difference between players at your club should be those players that will play Youth Team and Reserve Team football but are unlikely to play many First Team games, and those players that will play First Team and Reserve Team football but not many (or any) youth team games. That should be the only difference. And between all those players you should have a nice, balanced, deep squad of say 4 or 5 players per position to play all the football your club is involved in. Let me show you what my Reserve Team looks like: And here is my club, i.e. all the players I am managing this season: Now this isn't Christmas time this is September, a month after the season kicked off. The only players at my entire club that are not match fit are Vidic and Evra who got injured a good few weeks ago. Infact my current management decision is to play the unfit Vidic because Chiellini is suspended or to not risk someone who will be badly off form even if he is awesome, and wait for a reserve game to get him fit? But that is for a different thread. The composition and relationship between squads at my club is absolutely key to my success at player development. If you look through my club you notice it is extremely strong without being superfluous and unwieldy. I have five Goalkeepers at my club playing all the football at my club ranging from my 42 year old decrepit backup veteran that barks orders at my defence to my two 17 year old hot prospects taking turn about in the under-18's. I went slightly overboard with the Rightbacks because my Rightback slot was weak, but I found a few peaches in that pile and it's no bother to me to send a few packing. That's 50 players at my club playing in 3 different types of matches, or slightly under five players for each position on a football pitch with three games a week on average. That's a good squad. That's a really well organised club. That's a proper heirarchy that is reaping immense rewards. This, in my opinion, is the biggest difference anyone can make to their club, whether it is youth development or squad discipline or competition for places or club morale or finance or anything. This mind-numbing "first load" trawl to actually set up a football club is in my opinion the best and most important thing I do in any save, and once it's done the first time it's oh so simple to keep going and keep running and really rewards with vast dividends in almost every area of the game. You don't have to manage the Youth and Reserve Team matches (I most certainly don't, I would only be starting season two if I did) but always remember your job is to manage a club, not a squad. Subsection 3: Mentors This is a crucial part of developing individual players and this is one of the areas where a well organised club like shown above reaps absolutely immense dividends. Mentoring is crucial because it develops and improves a players personality and attitude to all aspects of football, from on-pitch "Determination" to pre-match handling of "Pressure" to media "Controversy" and such things. Mentors are the key to maturing players because players tend not to mentally mature much on their own in FM. Maturing a players personality and attitude is crucial to improving his performances, which not only makes a great deal of difference once he turns into a £40 million superstar, but also actually enables him to get there instead of becoming a "nah can't be bothered today boss, and by the way I want to leave because you said I played poorly last week" dud. A well organised squad like the one above, with on average five players per position and most players in the First Team Squad, will automatically give you nearly one mentor for every youngster at your club. This means that the vast majority of your players in your Youth Team will be getting mentored for as long as they are at your club. This is another truly vast asset to player development, and is produced and enabled purely through intelligent and rational club organisation. It makes sense to have five goalkeepers at your club and so your two youngest goalkeepers can automatically be mentored by your two most mature, and so on. This is where you start to see signs of the "conveyor belt" system I described for Arsenal and Manchester United in real life start to appear in your own save. The "rules" for mentoring seem straight forward and I can tell you that I know for a fact they are different to the general consensus. 1: There seems to be no age limit for mentoring a player. Maybe 30 but I have not seen that as I have no 30 year olds that need mentored. 2: A mentor can be the same age or older than the mentoree, but it doesn't look like it happens if the mentor is younger. 3: A mentor must be considered "better" than the mentoree in the eyes of the footballing world. 4: They must play in similar positions. 5: Players that fit all the above but where the Mentor has a really different personality to the mentoree, will fall out. 6: If you mentor a player with someone with lower Determination, it will drop. This can sometimes be okay if you want him to mature in other mental areas, and then mentor him with a Determined chap later. I'm not going to speculate on what the different options do. I pick "perfect model" for all my players because my First Team Squad is so awesome and we have such a great relationship. That's still the most important part of the club and I know that well. Subsection 4: Feeder Clubs The feeder club is a huge asset for the manager. It allows you to keep more players than you can effectively manage on your books, while offering furthered development for those players that gain little from youth and reserve football but are not good enough to get many First Team starts. Look through your own club for players "severely lacking match fitness". Those are places in your squad that could be being filled by youngsters on loan to a feeder club of your choice. There are two "types" of feeder club to the youth development manager. These have nothing to do with ingame represenation or "mechanic module" or anything else, but are entirely based on the practicality of managing a squad. Once you learn to develop youngsters you start to understand what a club needs to have even if there are no obvious clues in the game or the manual to tell you this before hand. That's why I'm here. The two types are: 1: The holding club for players that are not great but you don't want to sell yet. Players you think have awesome potential but need a vast amount of your attention to develop and you can't give them that attention yet. 2: The development club for players that are good but need regular football at a level much higher than your reserves to kick on and start fighting for a place in your first team squad. Alot of people give the choice of league a heap of consideration. The choice of league is easy, a league below you for the development club and two leagues below you for the holding club. Choice of league is obvious, what really matters is choice of manager. My players go on loan to develop, and the last thing I want is a manager that can't see their skills and has a habit of constantly falling out with players. I want a manager that can the best out of these players, and in Owen Coyle I have picked a gem. Best manager in the league bar none, and the perfect man to manage the guys I send on loan. It doesn't matter how the club does, I know the manager will do my players well. That's what matters. It all seems so simple doesn't it? You get back what you put in. Subsection 5: Staff Members Staff members that are involved with Youngsters follow the same principle as above, they must be capable of handling youngsters and motivating them, and either training them well or helping them to results in their matches. Good performances and good results equals increased development. A good run the Under-18's Cup is worth it's weight in gold development speaking. Youngsters tend to be a difficult bunch to handle. Their personalities are not developed and they are rash, brash, bold and pretty stupid. Any long term member of this forum will agree with me. It's important to surround your youngsters with the right people, not simply people with the attitude you want to see in players but people with an attitude that is forgiving to youngsters, that works well with youngsters. And perhaps the most important facet of this issue is the man you pick to manage the Youth Team Squad. This is the man I specifically headhunted to be Youth Team Manager at my club. He plays a similar style of football to me, Adventurous with Zonal Marking and Mixed Pressing. He plays 4-4-2 while I play 4-4-1-1. I can be confident that the Youth Team match feedback I get and pore through makes sense to my team. But most importantly he is a perfect judge of potential, a great handler of people, a good disciplinarian and motivator with sound tactical knowledge whose forte is youngsters. I consider myself extremely lucky, privilaged, and potent to have this man managing my Youth Team, but it was me that hunted him out. Subsection 6: Training This is a test of two things: Your patience and your desire. Training is far from the most user friendly area of the game but that doesn't diminish it's importance. Training is crucial in the development of young players. There are two points to this process: 1: Finding and training the position that best suits his attributes. 2: Highlighting and focusing on both his greatest strengths and his greatest weaknesses. Some players emerge in such a way that they are clearly not suited to their initial role. You can either write these players off or you can train them to perform in the role they are built for. All it takes a good eye and the patience to look through your players profiles do to the latter. And often the latter is worth it. I have seen many horrible Centrebacks that look like excellent Fullbacks. Same in midfield with many horrible CM's looking like ideal WF's. It sounds like an FM weakness but complaining doesn't achieve results unless you are lucky enough to be listened to for the next version. Either way it doesn't help your current save. Highlighting strengths and weaknesses however is more "natural" and more "important". You are not trying to train a "God of football" from the youth team, your task is to shift meagre attribute changes around in such a way that this player is capable of doing some kind of job in a better team. The bottom line is that if he can't do any kind of job well then he is doomed regardless of PA, he simply wont perform well enough while he sucks to gain the required increases. Your job is to take an epic potential youngster and turn him into a rather one dimensional useful player, because that's when he can start racking up starts and performances that carry him forward.
  23. Introduction I have written some threads on this before but they tended to be very user unfriendly, and I am also really enjoying the strides FM has taken recently towards being more "naturally football-like" rather than a good but very abstract simulation of football. In that vein I want to produce a guide to developing youngsters that does two things: A: Actually works and people can follow for success. B: Discusses player development in a wholly "football-like" way. Player development is one of the toughest parts of the game and for very good reasons. It requires a lot more attention invested into the day-to-day going-ons at your club, it is very long term with very few quick results and quick feedback, and it requires a great deal of risk taking and faith in players. While most of us will have developed the odd gem every so often, few of us will have managed to replicate the feats of Wenger and Ferguson when it comes to consistently developing First Team players as well as a whole raft of other players that can be found playing in teams slightly below the top 3-4 teams in European Leagues. I think the reasons for this are obvious. First of all player development is not easy in and of itself. It's not necessarily difficult but it's not a plug and play element of the game. You get back what you put in. Secondly FM itself ingame rewards football thinking while almost all player development debate and discussion revolves around min-maxing and mechanic busting and long complex discussion about abstract concepts. No one has yet written a footballers guide to player development in FM that is good enough to actually help people. I will break this guide down into the following sections for ease of use and ease of referrence, and to stop myself wandering a bit towards the end like I tend to do: Section 1: Why Develop Players? Section 2: What Can You Expect? Section 3: What Do You Need? Section 4: Preparing Players. Section 5: Developing Players. Section 6: Conclusion/Final Thoughts. Section 1: Why Develop Players? The main reason why managers start to develop players is money. Cristiano Ronaldo cost Manchester United a heck of a lot less than he cost Real Madrid and even if Ronaldo was earning £10 million a year at Manchester United in wages the club would still have made an overall profit in his sale on top of his contributions to the team. This crucial financial element never changes and is one of the key factors that should always be taken into account when starting the whole development process at your club. The manager should start developing players based on the idea that they can be sold atleast for as much as they cost the club during their time at the club. Youth Development is all about a zero sum game in terms of cash, with the odd gem that makes the entire process profitable whether he is sold for megabucks or kept as a first team player. It is unearthing this gem from an overall no cost or minimal cost process that is the point of youth development. Instead of spending £25 million on a winger, you spend £25 million and recover £25 million over a period of several years of youth development and eventually unearth that winger, or discover someone else that benefits your team and allows you to play with some other winger in your team or even without wingers. It's about improving your team for the minimal cost possible. Some clubs are in a position not to have to do this due to having megabucks, some clubs are in a position where this is all they can do to keep competing at a specific level. Other clubs are in a position where they don't have to do this but can't afford to let gems pass to their rivals and develop into players that become awesome for the opponent team. Youth development is a key part of the whole football process going on in FM. Believe me when I tell you that you will regret it when you arch rivals suddenly line up against you with some Off-The-Ball 18, Anticipation 18, Composure 18, Finishing 18 teenage forward that you hadn't spotted in the game before. In my current save precisely this happened recently. A youngster that looked a bit promising but was very young and a bit of a risk turned up at some obscure Dutch club and the top sides in my league were all keeping an eye on him. None of the top sides made a bid and he went to Tottenham. A couple of seasons later he turned up in the Tottenham line up looking like the following image and the top four let out a collective d'oh. Klinsmann is in charge of Tottenham with his 20 Motivating and I play them next with one first choice Centreback suspended and the other first choice Centreback unfit after just returning from injury. Yay. He might only be third choice forward with those stats in my club, but I would still rather own him and then sell him to Valencia or Roma rather than see him line up for Tottenham and potentially move to Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona or Milan. Regardless of whether I want to develop players, am any good at developing players, could be bothered developing him etc. let Tottenham develop him was a management error on my part. It was a player development error. Player development can also be a very active and front line part of the contest between clubs. It might start off as a financial issue but as you spend more time with this area of the game it starts to grow and develop itself in terms of importance and function. The financial basis for player development starts to evolve, into a battle for who can find the next gem and for who can deny the competition access to the future stars of the game. The financial issue might be the basic reason for developing players, the race for the next generation of top players and denying rivals the next generation of the top players might be the "mid-game" aspect of player development, but eventually when you spend even more time on this area of the game the reason why you should develop players evolves again and take the game to a whole new level. The truth is that the main reason why you should develop players is remarkably simple. It vastly improves the game as an interactive experience. It radically enhances the experience and enjoyment of the game. Once you start getting youth development and player development working well then your club literally becomes a group of players that you are moulding, manipulating and interacting with regularly to push your club forward. It's only when the majority of your time in FM is spent moulding and developing and evolving both your players and your team that FM truly spreads it wings as the greatest management simulator around. Players turn from spreadsheets into characters, characters you can radically adapt along certain lines while along other lines retaining key crucial traits that are a nightmare to adapt. Thus players can greatly grow under your management yet still retain their own individuality and unique behaviours. And once you get to this level in FM you no longer see dots or dodgy looking stickmen in your replays, you see people, you see individuals, you see carefully sculpted and brilliantly simulated players. And this is when FM becomes a work of utter genius and a computer game that for a football fan is without rival. Section 2: What Can You Expect? Me enthusing loudly and prolifically about FM is nothing new and so the question "that's all great and all but does it actually work out that way?" is completely valid. It is important to know whether or not the effort and attention required to involve yourself in Player Development can actually pay off, and indeed what sort of returns can actually be expected? Because surely if one gem is developed every ten years, a First Teamer every five, and someone for Backup every 2 then it is hardly worth the time and effort getting the sleeves rolled up and micromanaging a whole bunch of extra players. This is one hundred percent completely valid and so this section of the guide is devoted to showing what can be done in game when you commit to the player development process. This section will show what I have achieved in my current save obviously using the very approach I am writing about in this guide. I will tell you that what you can expect from Player Development is very, very impressive atleast in the first decade or so of a long term save. What I have achieved in my current save is beyond anything I have achieved before by a large margin and I take great pleasure in stating that this save was done 100% "pure" with no sneaky peaks at hidden attributes or PA values or any of that sort. It is actually quite interesting to me that the save where I put down the utilities that enabled me to see the guts of the game, see the workings of players and formed some of the basis for all my previous guides on different areas of the game is the save where I have run my club almost to perfection. I was at the heart of a lot of discussions on mix-maxing and this and that, which I now find ironic because although it did furnish me with a lot of knowledge about how things work, I have found that how you achieve maximum success in FM is by treating it on entirely footballing terms. All my recent guides and threads now follow in this vein, and it is because I am thoroughly enjoying this football game even more by treating it like football. What you can expect from youth development when you approach it with detail and commitment and on footballing terms is the following: These are all the players in my First Team Squad I have personally developed in my six seasons at Manchester United in my current save: Defenders Midfielders Forwards The oldest player here was 19 at game start, the youngest was 12 and is therefore a pure newgen, infact I believe only two out of the six here are real players but I could be wrong. I personally hunted out each of these players and had to buy them all. They cost me a grand total of £25.8 million altogether and are now worth £98.6 million altogether. That is an increase of £72.8 million in six years. Four World Class players and two highly excellent young defenders that look as if they too will become World Class. That's over half a first team for a World Class club like Manchester United in only six seasons, and the sixth has barely started. You will notice that these players are all busy players. By busy I mean that when they play they tend to do something. My fullbacks both have assists from two starts, my striker has 8 goals from 5 starts. Even the underperforming Douglas Costa has two assists in 7 appearances. These players are not for show they are for winning football matches and you will notice that every single player barring the youngest has a Determination score of 18 or higher. I am infact packing two 19's and a 20 Determination in a bunch of players that came to my club at age 19 or younger. These players are top, top level footballers. If I can do this so can you, but I will be honest and say I do not expect the vast majority of you to pour over the details of the game like I do. I do pay an enormous amount of attention to detail and consider every weakness anywhere in my club to be an error made by me. But like I said the games gives back what you put in, so it is up to you. Take a year to play six seasons and you too can produce players of this calibre on a regular basis. It is entirely up to you.
  24. You don't have to take "my roles" as the letter on this subject, but I do think you will benefit enormously from thinking about coaches beyond simply their star ratings. My assistant manager has amazing Man Management and Motivating skills and has been my Assistant for five years now. I am brutal when it come to pre-match demands, half time teamtalks and squad discipline. I am ruthless. I will easilly "ANGRY" at a 6.5 away from home against my arch rivals, but I have never had a squad wide interaction problem. I have had a couple of "thinks he is being treated unfair" that I solve by not playing these players untill they apologise, but I have never had any real dressing room issues. I could be wrong, but the results I see from the way I do things are so impressive I am tempted to think I am doing something right.
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