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SFraser

Meet The Striker

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I have done a few threads before where I post screenshots of players and then describe them based on how I view the game. This is another one.

Be warned, this post is a monster.

The reason I do these type of threads is that if I were to break FM down into its important parts I would say it is 25% Tactics, 25% Motivation/Man Management/Squad Management and 50% Players. The biggest step of improvement you can make in this game is to look at a players and profile and instead of seeing 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 mutually complimentary attributes you instead see 36 attributes but they are no longer numbers next to a word, they explain a whole player to you.

Understanding a Whole Player

While it will obvious to some people, those people that know exactly what I am talking about, the crux of the game is that when you sign Sergio Aguero (for example) and you give him his first start he doesn't just take his Strengths onto the pitch, he takes his weaknesses and his averageness onto the pitch as well. Lionel Messi and Nemanja Vidic have the exact same types of attributes, everything involved in an action for one player is involved in the action for another player. Messi can tackle, jump, header, mark, tackle but just not very well.

But what is more important to realise is that Lionel Messi will be doing these things. He will consider chasing opponents, he will attempt to tackle opponents, he will try to mark opponents, he will go up to try and win a header. Clearly he is rubbish at these things but that is part of what makes Messi Messi on a football pitch.

Attributes are not just about "this guy is a good finisher" or "this guy is a good defender". Attributes define complete players, they define whole personalities on the football pitch. Understand that football is about complete players, that defenders don't simply defend and strikers don't simply strike and you have taken the first massive step to making the game battle against you instead of vice versa.

Meet The Striker

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What I have listed here is the smallest quantity of pages crucial to gaining an understanding of a player. These are the places where you find out who a player is when you are not watching him during a match. This is where you go to equate what you saw on the field to the vast array of numbers and words that make up players in FM.

This is where you go to learn how to translate players from on-pitch performance to stats and attributes. This is where you come once you have learned the translation in order to keep tabs on a players ability and development.

For those of you that know your FM, yes for this topic I have chosen one of the most Complete players you will ever see. You will know now why I am not playing FM11 yet.

Attributes Panel

The attributes panel defines the theoretical maximum level a player can perform to on the pitch. Yes I said theoretical. The game has many factors tucked away that defines whether or not a player actually performs to this level. The two most crucial as his Consistency, and his level of Motivation during a match.

Consistency is defined by a single attribute, tucked away and hidden. Motivation during a match is defined by a players Personality, in response to events occuring. Including but not limited to your Teamtalks.

I will come back to this panel in significantly greater detail after this introduction to Jaume.

Positions Panel

Position, Footedness and PPM's. This panel defines a collection of traits that are not Attributes per say and are not Personality Attributes. These traits expand and influence a players on pitch personality and performance without being the usual attributes or specific personality traits.

Position is important. If a player is poor in certain positions then his performance is reduced accordingly. If a player is good in a certain position then his performance is closer to his theoretical maximum. However positional flexibility comes at a cost. The more positions a player is a good at, the more CA his relevant attributes take up. It's speciality versus flexibility, retrain a player to be more flexible and expect him to lose some of his cutting edge in his previous specific position. He will, individually, be a slightly worse player but only in his previous position. In his new position he will perform much better and perhaps that kind of tactical flexibility is something you want.

Jaume here is a striker and only a striker. Indeed I am lucky to find a player that is such a pure single position player because that enables me to develop to his maximum level in that position. I don't want "Competant at Right Wing" slightly reducing this guys ability to play through the middle regardless of tactical flexibility. I will buy a right winger before retraining this lad to perform slightly closer to his attribute level at right wing.

This lad is Pure.

Footedness is another crucial aspect of the game. Footedness not only defines accuracy of feet, it also has a huge impact on a players range of movement and choice of options during a match. A player with a weak foot will almost never choose to use that foot, for dribbling or passing or shooting. While the accuracy of the action might be low, sometimes quickly turning away from a defender on the weak foot is the best option. If however the player never uses that foot, that option is not available to him.

Someone with a weak left foot is not only rubbish with his left, he very rarely chooses to turn left. This is a huge tactical issue. Imagine a Central Midfielder winning the ball and never, ever turning left. That's your left flank pretty much ignored unless he has the right foot and vision of Paul Scholes.

Jaume here is Fairly Strong with his weak foot. It's not his best, but it's good enough. That is a significant bonus to a player, let alone a Striker. He prefers the right, but not the extent that he ignores awesome options with his left, and his accuracy isn't going to be utterly horrible. Right foot bias but the left peg is capable of doing the job. Great stuff.

PPM's are some of the more crucial behavioural details. Some of them are directly equivelant to Tactical Instructions (Try Killer Balls Often = Try Through Balls Often) but some of them are instructions you can't find anywhere else in either attributes or in Tactical Instructions. Shoots with Power versus Places Shots is a good one and I just recently posted a thread about how I use that distinction.

It's no surprise then to see my "Pure" Striker with the PPM "Shoots With Power". Both his feet are accurate, he plays only centrally and his Finishing is immense. When the ball drops to him inside the box I don't want any fannying around with delicate lobs or technical swerves into the bottom corner, I want him to hammer it into the back of the net where his immense Finishing means he will hardly ever miss the goal.

In a distinctly similar vein due to his Finishing and Technique (and Anticipation and slight lack of composure but I will come to that later) and his PPM "Shoots With Power" I am also asking him to learn the PPM "Tries First Time Shots". Due to his "Shoots With Power" most keepers will have a problem with his shots, due to his Anticipation most keepers will have trouble in spotting his next move, due to his Technique most keepers will have trouble dealing with how well the shot is struck, due to his Finishing most keepers will struggle with the accuracy of the shot. I want to combine all these into "Tries First Time Shots" in order to blast well struck shots accurately past the goalkeepers anticipated move when he is least expecting it....

I'm not joking here. That's how I am training my player and expect my player to behave. I'm deadly serious, and expect it to happen on the pitch.

It's such a subtle detail, yet at the same time a vast and epic and awesome and lethal detail. That's FM for you once you begin to get an understanding of what your players trully are.

His other PPM's are somewhat self evident but I will describe them.

"Runs With Ball Through Middle". Jaume has 17 for Strength, 18 for Dribbling and 19 for Anticipation and plays solely through the middle where he is a lethal goalscorer. His dribbling skill is awesome, his ability to react quickly is above most top level defenders, and if dribbling skill plus sharpness of mind isnt enough then he is strong enough to barge most defenders out of the way.

"Argues with Officials" a relic of being mentored by Rooney. Once "Tries First Time Shots" is done training I will go with "Dives Into Tackles" and this should neutralise his only weakness, lack of Aggression.

I didn't want to talk about attributes yet but I also wanted to leave it to the finale of this post, so concessions have to be made. A cursory study of my players attributes should explain the reasoning behind what I have said here, but a cursory study of his attributes will never explain the player.

Regardless, I doubt I will find too many knowledgable posters arguing against my decision making other than on the grounds of a single attribute. And it is worth a discussion.

Personal Panel

It may not seem like much but this is one of the most crucial panels in the game. Between "Happy Playing for the Club" and "Enjoying Playing for the Club" is a world of squad management. Between "Determined" personality and "Ambitious" personality is a world of mentality. The subtlety in this panel is the most meaningful in FM.

There are a few areas of key interest here, the first being the Overview.

Overview

This area gives a good overall summary of a players personal situation. It not only explains his Personality and general Attitude but it also explains how well a player is settling in at your club and how much "a part of the club" he feels.

If we look at Jaume's Personality and his Media Handling Style we see that he is Determined and Unflappable. Determined means that his main character strength is his Determination, while Unflappable in the media gives us clues as to the rest of his personality make up. Unflappable means he will rarely succumb to pressure, is difficult to unsettle, and very non-controversial. Alongside being highly Determined Jaume is also very able to handle Pressure and has no real flaws in his Mentality. He is neither overly or underly ambitious, he is not controversial, he is not outspoken and lacking a degree of humility and "knowing his place". In short Jaume has an excellent all round character.

If we then look at the Languages Jaume speaks, his favoured clubs and his favoured personell we can form a good idea of how well the player has settled at the club and feels a part of the club. Here we see that he has learned to speak English very well so is obviously settling in well in a different country and settling in with the majority of the players at the club. He doesn't have my club listed as favoured club but that is because he is not yet my absolute first choice forward and has not yet experienced being at the heart of any glory in my club, this will come in the future I am certain.

His favoured personell however gives a deep insight into this players mentality. A jovial or light hearted character is likely to become friends with everyone he meets, like for example my player Gourcuff who is close mates with no less than 20 people. Jaume is much more discerning in his friendships. Jaume is close friends with two coaches from his original club, three highly respected managers, and the two most important players at my club. This says heaps about Jaume, it says that he totally buys into the mentality of a winner and deeply respects those players that will do everything to win. It says he responds well to praise from managers but not any old manager, only the top managers in the game. It also says he respects coaches that help him develop into a better player. All this together means that Jaume wants to be the best player he can be, but not in the Nicolas Bendtner manner of being an arrogant, loudmouthed know-it-all. He wants to be the best he can be by buying into the philosophy of hard work, hard graft, personal development and doing whatever it takes to help the team win. He has his screwed on properly and he "understands" football from a footballers perspective.

I have no idea why he is mates with Nani. Maybe he respects Nani because Nani used to come off the bench to win matches for me before I sold him. It can't be for his attitude.

So while this area of this panel looks fairly innocuous, this is where you get right inside your players mind and figure him out as a character. Figure out what kind of player you really have, mentally speaking.

Happiness

While most people would only come to this screen to look at this part of the panel, it is actually the least informative display of information between the two areas. This simply lets you keep tabs on whether a player is currently happy with his recent involvement and recent events. And while you can use reactions displayed here to gauge a players mental state, the other panel actually contains far more useful information.

Jaume is "Happy" rather than "Enjoying his Football" purely because he is still playing second fiddle to Wayne Rooney. While my squad rotation policies are highly effective at getting the most out of players, he knows he still isn't the first name on the teamsheet. Untill he becomes "the main man" upfront he wont "Enjoy" his football and nor will he have my club listed as his favourite.

However Jaume is 20, Wayne Rooney is 29. It wont be too long before this young firecracker of a forward moves up the pecking order and in the meantime I will make sure to finish off the process of installing humility, work ethic and commitment into this player. You have to earn your place in my squad and that wont change just because Jaume is the most exciting youngster I have ever had in FM.

It is no surprise to see he thinks very highly of his mate Aguero. Aguero is a key player in my entire club, tactically speaking, performance speaking, attitude speaking. Not only has he been a complete revelation on the pitch since I signed him and put him on the left flank as a "Villa for Spain" striker, but he has completely commited himself to my club and my management and at the age of only 26 is my key mentor in my squad. Aguero is held in such high regard by everyone else my club for his commitment and attitude that I have him Mentoring Miralem Pjanic, a player with a high Reputation valued at £31 million. Pjanic's Determination has increased from 16 to 20 at the age of 24 in only 7 months, such is the near godly status of Aguero at my club.

Jaume is in the same vein of understanding and respecting Aguero, and before Jaume nails his place as my first choice forward in my 4-5-1 he will first get a final "finishing touch" mentoring term with Aguero.

Once you really begin to understand your own club in this fashion you can look and see who it is people look up to and how they look up to these players. You want to see if people are respecting the right players as this gives you an inisght into how they think, and you want to make they respect people in the right way. You don't want to see too much "awe" floating around, but a healthy respect for the key players in your club. And then how you deal with your key players, how you get them to perform and how you praise and criticise them sets a standard for your entire club.

You will notice that I am listed as favoured personell for Jaume. This is because he is aware of the player I have and am turning him into. When he first signed for me he had potential, he was not the finished article. I turned him into what he is. He owes me bigtime and this is a powerful tool at the managers disposal. Never be afraid to take advantage of a players respect for you if it produces performances. The best players will expect this from a manager. They will expect you to do what is required to achieve results. That's why they are at your club.

Reports Panel

This is where your staff give their opinions of your player. This adds more flesh to the bones of your understanding of a player, but clearly you need staff members whose opinions are accurate and you can respect. Usually this is a case of comparing your understanding to their understanding, and if their is any inconsistency then it is your job to discover whose opinion was wrong. If it wasn't your staff members then you have found someone you can listen to.

Most of the stuff in this panel conforms to what I have already said based on information from elsewhere. What my assistant is telling me is mostly stuff I already know by paying due attention to other panels.

Personality

Jaume is Determined and is fitting in well with the rest of the lads. This and more I already knew from studying the previous panel. I not only know that he is fitting in well, I know in precisely what ways he is fitting in, indeed his entire outlook at his place at my club and the club as a whole.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Here my assistant is telling me that Jaume Enjoys Big Matches while having No Weaknesses.

This is not only crucial information that it is hard to get from anywhere else other than paying immense attention to on-pitch performances, it is also telling me that unlike the vast majority of "awesome youngsters" developed on these forums, Jaume actually has no weaknesses.

This is a massive point that relates back to what I was saying about "complete players" at the top of this post. His all round game is devoid of any weaknesses, he can do most of football rather well. This player is not just strong in his niche, he is a good all round player. He can do alot of things on the football pitch and that's the kind of player that makes up a good team.

Conclusion of this Introduction to Jaume

Now I have introduced you to Jaume the personality, Jaume the character in a fairly large quantity of depth. We know he is a Pure Striker with two good feet that likes to smash shots and argue with officials and go on mazy runs. We also know he has his head screwed on properly and is a very Determined player with few character flaws that is deeply committed to improving himself and achieving the highest things in the game. We know that he understands my club and has a deep respect for the key players that are central to everything in the club I have built. We also know that he respects managers, specifically the best managers in the game at the time.

This is, for want of a better phrase, a weapon of a footballing personality I have here. Before I go near his playing attributes I have taken all the information about him and pieced it together into an image of an awesome footballing mentality, a player that at age 20 has no real weaknesses and has the mental approach to winning that echoes the very best in the game.

And what is even sweeter about this whole situation is that it goes both ways. His ability at football and his approach to football is matched by my interest in him as a player. His respect for me is returned, and here I am writing a massive post purely about him as a player.

Regardless of success or failure, of managing Manchester United or Bognor Regis, this is how you extract maximum satisfaction and maximum enjoyment from FM. You manage players. A managers ability is not reflected in his trophy cabinet, it is reflected in the Personal Overview panel of a 20 year old Squad Rotation forward.

Attributes

Since starting this post last night I have played a few more matches and given Jaume a few more starts. This has resulted in a few changes to his Attribute Panel.

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So when attempting to piece all of this information together to get a holistic player, where do you start?

The starting point is easy enough, look at the colours. Green is Strengths, White is weaknesses, Yellow is good solid averageness.

Green - Strengths

There are a fair amount of greens here:

Pace - Strength

Anticipation - Bravery - Creativity - Determination - Flair - Off The Ball - Teamwork

Dribbling - Finishing - First Touch - Heading - Longshots - Technique

Physically speaking he can bully defenders. Defenders must be both strong and quick to defend against the fact his top speed is good and he can wrestle for the ball to great effect. It wont be easy to catch him once he is up to speed and if you do it will certainly not be easy to get around him and get a tackle in.

Mentally speaking his clearest strengths are his Anticipation, Movement and Determination. He is as sharp as a tack when it comes to reading unfolding events, he will react quicker than most players to what he can see. His Movement Off The Ball is lethal. This combination of attributes makes him a tactical defence destroyer. He will constantly be taking up lethal attacking positions and will perfectly time the most devestating of runs. It is no surprise then that a signficant quantity of my midfield are players with immense Vision and brilliant delivery of a pass. His Determination means he has an inherant "will to win". He will refuse to give up, will often play better when a goal down, and will generally look to make sure he is involved in the match.

His other mental strengths are his Bravery, Creativity, Flair and Teamwork. Bravery is always good, a lack of fear of getting involved physically. Flair is also good particularly for a player like this, it means he will attempt things without being over-the-top and always trying a holywood move. Creativity and Teamwork are two highly mutually complimentary attributes. Creativity is the players Vision for a pass, Teamwork is his Intelligence in involving himself in moves that involve other players. He is no self sacrificing creative genius, he is after all a forward. What he is is above average in his ability to spot a pass and above average in his involvement in the team as part of a unit. He plays like the team is more important than himself, and he is right.

Technically speaking he is a one man offensive weapon. His strengths are all about devestating accuracy of beating obstacles between him and the goal. His First Touch allows him to get the ball under control easilly and without giving opponents much opportunity to knick it off him, his Technique gives him an advantage in striking a ball and carrying out difficult moves. When he strikes a shot at goal it is unlikely to sail ten yards wide of the post because he couldn't wrap his foot around the ball, no his shots will bend wickedly and always look threatening even if they dont hit the target.

But his real Strengths are his devestating accuracy of Dribble, Short and Long Range shots and Heading. This guy can skin most defenders and when he decides to go for goal the ball goes where he aimed, regardless of whether it comes off his left foot, right foot or his head, regardless of whether he is at an awkward angle ten yards out or 35 yards out. This guy is a goalscorer, pure and simple. When he gets the ball anywhere within 30 yards of goal, everyone in the opposing team should panic.

You will notice that all of these Strengths are hugely mutually complimentary, and compliment his PPM's very nicely too. His key Strengths being his Speed of Mind, Movement Off The Ball and his devestating accuracy in dribbling, shooting from anywhere within reasonable distance and his heading. When it comes to "a Fox in the Box" this player is surely going to be a legend.

Weaknesses - White

Some fairly meaningless weaknesses. Low Aggression means he is unlikely to lunge about the pitch and get stuck into daft/unwinnable tackles which combined to his poor Tackling is actually something of a bonus. He may lack a little bit of the "defensive monster from the front" that can win you the ball in dangerous areas with a reckless challenge that comes off (Tevez anyone?) but the other side of that coin is that he is also unlikely to get himself injured out of pure stupidity. Injured for Bravery perhaps, but that is different. That probably means he scored.

Low crossing, low marking, low Influence. Crossing and Set Pieces in general is something I am willingly ignoring to effectively make space for improvements elsewhere. His Crossing dropped which is far from a concern and his First Touch went up which is awesome.

Low Influence could be a problem but if I am being totally honest his lack of Aggression makes him a poor choice for a Captain anyway.

Avergeness - Yellow

I wont bother listing these attributes. Suffice to say that Jaume is average or better at everything that isn't a weakness and he has no real weaknesses that matter. This itself is a strength, and a rather large strength. Beyond his real Strengths as a player, his green attributes, his other major Strength is that he is average at everything else. He is a sound, solid player in every other dimension. This is trully a huge benefit to any player. To be sound in general and awesome in some key areas is literally the perfect player, because you cannot get awesome at everything and very often you get players that are actually poor at the majority of football. This really sucks when it happens.

Only Part of the Story

This is only part of the story though, it's just a list of different coloured attributes giving us the beginnings of a clue about this player but from the whole story. The whole story comes from repeatedly going over his attribute profile to look at various relationships between attributes, various groups of attributes and so on. For even the most studious and practiced off "attribute gazers" the initial impression of a players attribute panel is usually the wrong one. It takes many different instances of going back and forth and re-analysing player attributes in different ways to trully understand precisely what it is that you are seeing.

What I am saying is that it is never possible to look once at a player and know all there is to know about him. To really figure out a player you need to spend a lot of time with him. It is simply the only way. Only by spending time with a player, going back and forth and re-analysing his attributes in different ways can you build up a true picture of him in his entirety.

I will give some examples of the kind of thing I do.

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Building Up the Picture

Building up the picture means looking at his attributes and applying them to on-pitch behaviours. Most footballer will carry out a whole range of moves in the average football match and while "niche" strengths might give you a cutting edge in a particular dimension, understanding a players general ability at football as a whole is crucial. In theory the best way to go about this would be to take every possible ingame, break it down into it's relevant attributes, then go through a players attribute list and figure out precisely how good he is at everything. Clearly this is not a reasonable approach for 99.9999% of managers (maybe Isuckatfm is the odd one out here) including myself.

A better way is to develop a general picture for certain areas of the game rather than taking individual moves in detail.

General Ability - Physique

A players physique, his physical presence and ability as well as his fitness, is a core part of any player.

Fitness

Fitness is ultimately defined by two attributes, Stamina controlling the rate of condition loss during a match and Natural Fitness which controls the rate of condition recovery between matches. This is a players "fitness level" in practice. One defining how long a player can last and the other defining how quickly a player can get back up to a high level of Match Condition for his next match. Players that go into a match close to 100% perform much better than those going in at 92% or 93% and it's worth considering if an inferior player at 100% will actually perform better this match than an awesome player at 92% who you can then use at full fitness in the following match.

Jaume here is average in both Stamina and Natural Fitness. He wont noticably decline faster than most other players nor will he noticably recover quicker. A long, hard season can take it's toll on this player and so unlike say Wayne Rooney who you could play almost constantly, some intelligent squad rotation such as leaving him at home when you can win without him is in order here.

Indeed the ideal plan for this player with his particular fitness levels would be to get him close to a 100% for the start of matches, get him to grab a few goals, then sub him at the 60 minute mark and keep him fresh for the next game. Playing him at 92% one week for 90 minutes will only come back to haunt you. Much better to have him on the bench that week and sub him on if you need a goal and the opposition defenders are creaking around the 80% mark.

His Fitness is neither a strength nor a weakness, it's about par but you would never say no to a bit more Stamina and it's worthwhile considering increased Strength training. His Fitness is something that half an eye will have to be kept on, but nothing more.

Mobility

Mobility is another key facet of Physique but it also has Technical implications. While Acceleration and Pace is always great for getting from point A to point B faster than the opponent, it is very much of interest how Agile and Balanced a player is. Agile players with good Balance can do more in physically awkward situations, will achieve cleaner connection and better touch on the ball. An overhead kick doesn't just require good technique, it requires the ability to get your leg over your head. Hitting a shot from an awkward angle doesn't just require good accuracy, it requires that you don't fall over when adopting an unusual body shape to strike the ball.

As anyone that will have watched Peter Crouch will know being ten foot tall doesn't give you much of an advantage if you have the agility and balance of a meccano set.

The mobility of Jaume is generally reasonably strong. Neither his Jumping, Agility, Balance, Acceleration or Pace is terrifying but nor are these attributes low enough for defenders not to be concerned about them. In a straight race with a rapid fulllback he will lose, in a straight aerial contest with a defensive juggernaut he will lose but conversely he can outrun the slow and out jump the small. He has a range of mobility "decentness" that makes him a multi-dimensional player in physical terms so long as situations are favourable to him. If you were to swap Jaumes Strength for his Stamina he would be Darren Fletcher, if you were to swap Darren Fletchers Stamina for his Strength you would have Jaume. A player whose physical strengths are his lack of weaknesses and his physical weaknesses are his lack of strengths.

Power

Power is what you see when Cristiano Ronaldo continues to increase the distance between himself and your fullback as he beats your offside trap, it's what you see when Vidic knocks over six people inside the penalty box to win a header. Power is Pace and Strength, it comes down to the ability to physically dominate other players through sheer muscle. Strength is by far and away one of the most useful attributes in the game as it plays a significant role in the outcome of every single physical interaction between players. When one players tackle isn't accurate enough to cleanly win the ball and two players get caught up in a physical contest for the ball, Strength wins. Strength wont prevent your player from then falling over and losing the ball, but it will ensure that the other player is physically behind you as you have outmuscled him to get infront of him and win the ball.

If you had to pick one single Physical attribute and only one to give to a player as a strength, I would always go with Strength purely because the rest are so closely linked to other physical attributes. Strength is simply an awesome physical presence in physical contests. It is a significant advantage when it is a strength, and a vast disadvantage when it is a weakness.

So while Jaume is not the fastest, tallest or most agile and balanced player in the game these are not weaknesses in his game. What he does have though is Strength in abundance. Ontop of his reasonable speed and jumping and agility and balance is an immense physical presence capable of brushing off physical tackles and shielding the ball and beating lesser players through sheer physical might. He is physically imposing precisely because of his lack of physical weaknesses in combination to his immense Strength and high top speed.

Physical Overview

Jaume is a player with good all round mobility with immense Strength and a reasonably high top speed, whose only real weakness would be his overall Fitness which is on the lower side of good. His Balance isn't the best either and he can be prone to getting tangled up in physical contests even if he wins them.

However the main thing is that he is capable of making a physical impact and has no glaring deficiencies. Lack of huge weaknesses is a strength all on it's own. If someone is small he can outjump them, if they get their positioning slightly wrong he can outjump them, if they lose concentration he can outjump them. The same goes for Acceleration and Agility. Don't underestimate the lack of greens in his Physical Panel, because the large number of Yellows tells an equally impressive story.

General Ability - Intelligence

Intelligence is the bedrock upon which all Technical and Physical activities are built. Underlying the simple Technical action of cleanly striking an accurate pass lie a vast quantity of mental attributes that define whether this pass was aimed at Vidic and is intercepted by Fernando Torres to score a gift, or is lasered 50 yards across the pitch to Berbatov who has taken up a position on the blind side of the opponents Centrebacks.

Due to the vast amount of mental factors in every calculation and due to the fact individual moves seen on the pitch are made up of huge quantities of mental factors, each mental attribute can be interpreted in many ways and none are inherantly more accurate. For example Teamwork could be considered "Awareness" as a player drags a defender out of position before playing a quick one-two with a teammate, or it could be considered "Decision Making" as a player weighs up his options and then decides to play it across the box for him teammate to tap in at the far post. Neither are wrong because this is how Teamwork works, one show of teamwork is playing the ball to the slightly better placed teammate, the other show of teamwork is creating space for him and starting a "team based move". At the fundamental level both of these are the same thing, doing something that benefits the team more, but the actual outcome on pitch looks significantly different.

Remember that this is how I personally would go about trying to understand my players. So if you see the same attribute popping up every time I talk about facets of Intelligence then clearly I think it is important, and if you think I know what I am talking about then you might want to consider this attribute at a much higher level of importance too.

Awareness

Awareness on a football pitch is one of the fundamental core aspects of Intelligence. Indeed you could probably break all Mental attributes down into just two fundamental core aspects, Awareness and Decision Making. That's a much smaller group than the Technical Attributes that each define a specific and particular ability, yet at the same time this much smaller grouping involves many more attributes far more often. Indeed I would argue that FM is 75% Awareness and Decision Making and 25% Execution.

Awareness itself can be broken down into two groups for easier understanding.

"Personal" Awareness

Personal Awareness is simply how aware a player is in general, in terms of his sharpness of mind and awareness of options and being "switched on".

Anticipation, Creativity, Concentration and Teamwork defines "Personal" Awareness, how quickly a player reacts to unfolding events, how many options he can "see" on the pitch, whether he is aware of how to involve his teammates and whether he is actually paying any attention to the match.

Anticipation is a key attribute in awareness, simply put the higher a players Anticipation the quicker he will react to what he can see. A player with high Anticipation can often react to an opponents touch before the opponent does, sliding in to win the ball when the opponent is still thinking about how awesome his first touch was. Likewise a player with high Anticipation can "spot" a tackle coming in and dribble around it, or make a run before the defender decides to step up and catch him offside.

Anticipation is everywhere in FM and while I may no longer think it is the king of FM attributes, it is certainly damn vital.

Creativity is another hugely important attribute, essentially defining the awareness of options open to a player when he has the ball. The ability to spot passes is the most obvious example of Creativity but Crosses, Free Kicks and different types of Finishes are all also hugely dependant on a players Creativity. It's quite possible that dribbling is dependant on Creativity too. It wouldn't surprise me and indeed it seems illogical for it not too. I wouldn't say Creativity is the absolute, objectively best attribute in the game because there is no objective best. In my team however I can field a perfectly "natural" five man midfield of AMC, AML, AMR, CM and CM that has Creativity of 20, 20, 19, 19, 18. 12 players in my Premier League registered squad have a Creativity of 15 or over.

Concentration is essentially the attribute that defines the "mental strain" of paying attention as the match progresses. A football match is mentally as well as physically exhausting and as condition drops the Concentration becomes a key factor in whether a player will be found "switched off" or not for a particular event. Not quite so detrimental to forward players as to Centrebacks, but low Concentration will affect "awareness" in even the very smartest players.

And Teamwork. Teamwork in an "awareness" context is the awareness of team events, team moves and team options. It is about the players ability to instinctively spot an option for a move that is based on his teammates, whether that is dropping deep to drag a defender to open up space for someone elses run, or whether it is simply moving into position to play a quick one-two. The higher Teamwork is in a player the more a player is going to appear to be "aware" of these options.

Jaume is packing 19 for Anticipation, 16 for Creativity, 16 for Teamwork and 15 for Concentration. He is a very aware little player. His strength by a country mile is his reaction to events and at Anticipation 19 he is on a par with only 18 other players in my entire game. Only 18 players in the entire game will be as sharp as him in reacting to events, and two of those players are my First Choice Central Midfielders (with Creativity 19 and 15). His Creativity and Teamwork is above average, so while not an utter genius at these things, his awareness of options and awareness of teammates is still an observable strength in his game. His Concentration at 15 means he will rarely be found "Switched Off" either.

This guy is a clever little player. Razor sharp in terms of reactions and with a good footballing brain on his shoulders.

Tactical Awareness

Tactical Awareness is slightly different to Personal Awareness, atleast to me. Tactically Aware players wont necessarilly out-think or out-smart opponents like the Personally Aware, there wont be much "damn he got the run on me again" or "oops I never spotted that flick over my head". Instead these players are aware of tactically effective positions, will constantly look to disrupt defenders positoning, and are aware of the team unit and how it can be used to open up defences.

Positioning is one of the real eye openers when studied closely to understand "Tactical Awareness". It's the aspect of the game that defines the position a player takes up when he is not making any attacking runs. Players with high Positioning take up incredibly effective positions that maintain shape and deny the opposition space while at the same time being in key areas to offer support to teammates. Because Positioning effectively defines Tactical Awareness when not Attacking, I have absolutely no qualms about giving my two holding midfielders with 18+ Positioning the Roaming instruction. Why do I do this? It's simple really, they will very Rarely make an attacking run and so wont roam from position very often. Instead they will occupy key positions at the heart of my team, denying space to opponents and always offering a solid option to their teammates. On the rare occassion they do make an attacking run, which I have no control over in terms of timing and choice other than to specifiy "rare" and Mentality, I want them to make that run into space. I want them to be the fifth man attacking a back four and therefore attack the space that opens up.

Whenever they are not making attacking runs I know they will be occupying the best possible position for a Central Midfielder to occupy based on my instructions. They will be in the prime positions to intercept clearances, battle for headers, tackle runners, and quickly recycle the ball back into dangerous attacking areas. In conjuction with their 18+ Positioning they have 19+ Anticipation and 15 and 18 Creativity. They are Positionally Tactically smarter than you, Reactively Smarter than you and they both have significant Creativity for spotting passes.

In the context of Positioning Jaume has two strengths. First of all his relatively high Positioning means that when actively defending he will take up decent positions and is more than capable of intercepting passes and actually defending from the front, but positionally speaking. Second it means that when he is not making Attacking Runs he can be found in a highly central position. Unlike some Strikers he wont find himself gravitating towards a flank and making attacking runs from some obscure position. He will be making his attacking runs from a Central Position. He knows his Position in the team, he occupys his Position in my team, his ability to defend against Opponents with Positioning and Anticipation is pretty darn high for a Forward, and the majority of his play will be premised upon motion from a Central Position.

Even just in terms of Positioning my Forward is significantly Tactically Aware.

The heart and soul of attacking play though is Off The Ball movement. It doesn't matter whether it is the movement of your striker that disrupts the defence or the movement of someone else that opens up space for your striker, without movement you are facing an uphill battle to dislodge the most pure and undiluted and rigidly commited of all players, the Centreback.

At their cores Centrebacks are not the deepest of your outfield players, they are the most advanced of your three goalkeepers. Central defenders are pure defensive players whose job is physical and organisational domination of the penalty box. Their sole job is to build walls between the ball and the goal. There are few other roles and players in the modern game that retain such essential purity, and without movement to attack and threaten Centrebacks, the advantages are overwhelmingly in their favour.

At it's heart Off The Ball Movement makes Centrebacks think, and it provides your team with options and motion to exploit. It is movement off the ball that makes Football what it is, a constantly evolving, dynamic tactical battle. The ultimate aim of this evolving, dynamic, fluid tactical battle is that one of your players pops up in a position with enough space to get a good shot on goal. Without Movement your ability to do this is significantly weakened.

Off The Ball Movement isn't a luxury, a bonus. It is a crucial tactical question. Where do you need it? How much do you need of it? What is the most effective distribution of it? Should I have it coming from deep as well or is that a defensive risk? Integrated attacking movement in a team is without a doubt the most significant threat you can put onto a football pitch.

And Jaume here is an absolute expert at this. There are precisely five other players ingame with 20 for Off The Ball Movement. But what is Off The Ball movement? Off The Ball movement is the ability to move into extremely dangerous attacking areas as moves develop. While players with low Off The Ball will still move around and look for space, they will move into horrific areas that offer negligable attacking threat. High Off The Ball movement means finding that threatening space infront of the back four as much as it means making a lethal run behind a Centreback. It is the ability to find and exploit that dangerous space that forces the opponent to react and defend against you, further changing the precise tactical context and opening up other potential avenues of attack.

It is the ability to make Centrebacks move and to get into dangerous spaces they have left open.

The next element of Tactical Awareness is Teamwork, an attribute that is making a recurring appearance in this section on "awareness". In this context Teamwork is tactical awareness because the Personal Awareness above of Teamwork being the ability to spot how to involve teammates also means the ability to use Teammates to open up defences. They are one and the same.

So while Jaume is not absolutely legendary in using teammates he is still rather good, but his ability to actually destroy Centrebacks by getting into the most lethal of attacking spaces cannot be higher in this game.

Awareness Overview

Awareness is clearly one of Jaume's significantly superior Strengths, in particular his exploitation of space and reaction to events. Everything else about his Personal and Tactical Awareness levels enhances this, contributes to this without detracting from this. He is not a playmaker, he is not a self sacrificing foil for others to milk glory. He is good in these areas but they simply compliment his direct defence destroying awareness of unfolding events and appreciation of space.

Decision Making

It's all very well having abilities and skills and Strengths and Weaknesses and Average All Round goodness but if you keep trying to score from the halfway line every time you get the ball you are soon going to be working at Burger King, or playing for Real Madrid. And that analogy illustrates rather well why Decision Making is so vital. Ability is useless if you cannot use it well.

There are effectively two types of Decision Making involving the rest of the Mental Attributes in my "rough sketch" of a player.

Objective Decision Making

Objective Decision Making is purely a players ability to see correct Decisions based on match events. How well he can judge options he can see and how well he is capable of doing this under pressure. The two attributes here are Decisions and Composure.

The important thing to realise here is that Decisions is purely a players ability to weigh options "objectively". It says nothing about the "subjective" process that finally opts for a move. The most callously robotic player in the world might play purely to his Decisions stat, but football players don't and this is reflected in the relative complexity of the Decision Making process.

Jaumes ability to weigh options is average to good. It's not great and it certainly isn't impressive at the true highest levels of the game. Likewise his Composure is at an acceptable level but if we are being completely honest is actually a weakness for this player.

His objective Decision Making is not great. He might see a 40% on ball as 60% on and waste possession, and what's worse is that in pressure situations this weakness is magnified. When presented with a goalscoring opportunity he could quite easilly lose his Composure and opt for some trully awful choice.

This method of analysing a player has found a true weakness, an actual, meaningful on-pitch weakness in this player. His poor Decisions combined to his low Composure makes for a poor "Objective Decision Maker" under pressure.

So the managers job here is to try and address that problem. What is the easiest way to negate poor Decision making in Strikers? The easiest way, in my opinion, is to instruct them not to think about the shot at all. "Shoot Early and Shoot Hard". I have told Jaume not to think about the shot, just shoot. Will it work? He hasn't finished training "Tries First Time Shots" yet.

Subjective "Personality Based" Decision Making

This is a completely different kettle of fish to Objective Decision making. It's not about how good he is at weighing up options, it's about what he actually chooses to do.

The list of factors here is large. Aggression, Bravery, Determination, Flair, Teamwork and Workrate. All of these combine to produce "personal preferrences" for choices for each event. They take a players Objective Decision Making ability which consists of only a small number of factors, and give this a huge amount of individuality through factoring in these Personality Based factors.

Aggression is how keen a player is to get stuck into another player. It's not about Dirtiness or Bravery, it's about whether a player "enjoys" the hustle and bustle of a physical contest. Some players love getting stuck in and pull it off, Centrebacks for example tend to fall into this category. Other players are in no hurry to look for physical involvement. Jaume is a player that is not in any particular hurry to throw himself into a tackle.

Bravery is the counterpoint to aggression. It is how willing a player is to risk injury to achieve something productive. It's not a desire to get stuck, it's a desire to achieve a favourable outcome at the expense of pain. Jaume here is very brave, so while he might not go looking for physical confrontation for the sake of it, he is not afraid of getting clattered to actually develop a move or score a goal.

Determination is a players overall desire to win the match and can be seen in general involvement in a football match. Players with high Determination always appear to be those players that are trying to make something happen. Jaume is one of these players who is always looking to achieve a win, always looking to get involved, always looking to advance a move, just simply involved in a match in a productive way.

Flair is a strange attribute. Depending on the player in question it can be a nightmare attribute that continually wastes the ball, or alternatively it can be a complete saviour of an attribute that wins you matches and does regularly. Jaume's Flair is 16 meaning he is more than capable of trying to unlock a match with something awesome, but not driven by it. By contrast Rooneys Flair is 17 and the more Technically adept Aguero has Flair of 19. These two players are the two dominating figures of my club (apart from me). Aguero's Flair manifests itself as a tendency to jink inside a fullback and unleash a shot into the corners, or chip a ball to the back post. Rooneys Flair tends to manifest itself in thunderbolts and cross field passes, or careful lobs over goalkeepers and centrebacks.

Jaume's Flair tends to manifest itself in him taking on defenders or hitting extremely dangerous shots from awkward angles.

Whether Flair is a good thing or a bad thing depends on the type of Flamboyancy produced by the rest of a players attributes. Some players, like Nani, will simply run and dribble and shoot from range because he is neither particularly intelligent, aware, or good at Decision making. Other players may use their Flair to slice open defences from outrageous positions and land a ball clean on the toe of a forward. Whether Flair is a good thing or a bad thing for X player requires watching him on the pitch.

Teamwork is back again, because alongside a players ability to spot teammates and team moves, and a players ability to use teammates, it also shows up as his desire to use teammates. If he didn't want to use teammates you would never be aware of the fact he knows how to use them. This is the multifaceted nature of attributes. High Teamwork involves players with Teammates and that is the only way you can know that a player is capable of pulling off a 1-2 or anything else, because he actually does it. Which of these views on Teamwork is correct is irrelevant because they all add up to the same thing. Everyone in the game regardless of Teamwork might have the same awareness of teammates but if they never use them then it's precisely the same outcome either way.

Workrate for me appears to be a primarilly defensive attribute that seems to correlate quite well to Closing Down. Players with high Workrate chase players about under high Closing Down instructions and look to carry out the instructions. Players with low Workrate under high CLosing Down instructions unfortunately don't. Workrate could equate to the effort put in by a player to following your instructions but I am not sure it applies to all.

In terms of Subjective Decision Making Jaume is not Aggressive but he is Brave and Determined, he has a tendency for the Flamboyant but also a good eye for the team game, but doesn't really see the need to exhaust himself chasing down Centrebacks.

Decision Making Overview

Combine Objective Decision Making and Subjective Decision Making and then you get an idea for how a player behaves on the pitch. Simply saying "he makes good Decisions" is inaccurate.

Jaume might not "weigh the percentages" as accurately as Alan Hansen but he still has a damn good footballing brain on his shoulders. Ultimately his "weighing the percentages" is the only real weakness in his game, and it's not a glaring weakness. It's just slightly lower than I would like.

General Ability - Technical

Guess what, there is absolutely nothing to write here. Far from being the most important attributes in the game these are simply the very last, very basic "accuracy" attributes that get added onto everything I have already spoken about.

There is nothing to figure out or analyse in a player with 18 Dribbling, 18 Finishing, 17 First Touch, 19 Heading, 18 Longshots, 14 Passing and 17 Technique. It is all right there infront of you. It needs nothing to understand.

Conclusion - Finally

This is by far one of the meatier posts you will read for some time but what a vast amount of information has been explored here. This is an insight not just into my player but into my relationship with my player and my approach to FM. I have shown not only how I go about understanding players, but how even the most apparently insignificant of information tucked away in a random screen can give a deep insight into your players mentality and the true state of affairs at your entire club.

While just now this information is only information and all it does is explain things to you, it exists and it has meaning and relevance and in future FM's I hope to see it expanded so that it is more interactive and the manager can take a more proactive involvement in the subtle details of the running of his club that already exist.

If you really like your football there is far more tucked away in the depths of this game than most think, and while it's not information you can immediately act on it is always information that improves your understanding of your own club and this can never be anything other than a significant advantage to you.

Now having finished this beast of a post, I am off to manage my football club.

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Really good reading, and very in depth. Can't say I finished it, but I will in due time.

Kudos for such a detailed explanation!

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Wow......just wow

That was incredibly detailed. Nice work SFraser.

The game really has more depth than most people would think...

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Firstly, great article.

You mention, training the PPM first time shots in order to, as you say, negate poor decision making. Assuming that is successful, how do you then play him?

From what you have written it appears on the whole Jaume is beyond tactical instruction, that he can be put out on the pitch and say go for it son. Whilst it may seem a niggly statement I honestly don't mean it as such. But, as Jaume is such a complete type of player, then how do you harness that and get results on the pitch because thats one of the many things about FM I don't understand. How do you then fit him into the team? Is he the type of player that all thing get built around? Does Jaume fit your tactics or do you make tactics to fit Jaume? If you take my meaning. You have gone into a great deal of depth with explaining Jaume and what type of player and person he is, and, that alone will help me look at my own players differently. So I am very grateful for that.

But that to me is the first part of the puzzle if you like. The next step is now that I have this wonderful talent what do I do, if you could provide something as to roles and hows and whys that would be great to complete the puzzle, and truth be known, aid me greatly, so maybe I am being a little selfish:confused:. I often look at my own players and wonder just how much talent has been wasted, and I have a couple of young players now that could potentially be very excellent, but I am sure you would agree that having talent and then utilizing that talent correctly are two very different things.

cheers

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From what you have written it appears on the whole Jaume is beyond tactical instruction, that he can be put out on the pitch and say go for it son. Whilst it may seem a niggly statement I honestly don't mean it as such. But, as Jaume is such a complete type of player, then how do you harness that and get results on the pitch because thats one of the many things about FM I don't understand. How do you then fit him into the team? Is he the type of player that all thing get built around? Does Jaume fit your tactics or do you make tactics to fit Jaume? If you take my meaning. You have gone into a great deal of depth with explaining Jaume and what type of player and person he is, and, that alone will help me look at my own players differently. So I am very grateful for that.

Interesting question.

The truth is that Jaume is a part of a process going on at my club, a process of continually reinventing the same overall style of football as players come and go. The specifics may vary from position to position and as the team evolves over time so might the balance of attack and defence in certain areas but overall the style of football at my club remains the same.

A style of football that can best be seen in my Defensive Midfielder.

2usid1h.jpg

That style of football is a style of immense footballing intelligence and threat coming from multiple areas of the pitch, and so Jaume inherantly fits into my team. He may perform differently to my current First Choice Striker but the fact remains that Jaume's individual abilities are perfectly suited to playing at the spearhead of my team.

The weakness I have in my team currently is finding an AMC with the right level of Movement and Creativity combined to the right level of Teamwork and Workrate and general involvement in play combined again to an abiity to score goals. Most of my current AMCs are good at one aspect of my desired AMC behaviour but not at others. These deficiencies mean I rotate AMC's regularly without ever finding the desired player.

My solution to this problem in the medium term will be to drop my current First Choice Striker Wayne Rooney into the AMC slot and play Jaume as the Striker. Jaumes deficiencies in Workrate, Aggression etc. will be more than made up by Rooneys immense levels in "getting involved" while hopefully Rooneys reducing levels of physical ability will slowly develop into Mental and Technical improvements.

That's the plan for the future and I always have a plan for the future.

As far as instructions go the truth is that instructions are simple tweaks to a players natural behaviour. You can't instruct intelligence into an idiot but you can tell a wasteful player to stop shooting from range or taking on defenders when he has all the mobility of an oil tanker.

The only instructions of meaning for Jaume will be to give him a Free Role to free up his range of movement and find the right balance of Mentality for his positional tendencies and risk taking behaviour. The rest is just a matter of asking him to do some things most footballers do either more or less.

The secret to FM has never been in the instructions, it's in the players. The instructions just tweak behavioural tendencies, making sure you have complimentary abilities and groups of players that actually work well together is vastly more important than what subtle tweaks to their behaviour you can come up with.

Don't get me wrong, subtle behavioural tweaks do play an important role in FM but I believe that detailed instructions are for defending, liberation and freedom is for attacking. Catennacio when they have the ball, Total Football when you have the ball.

Instructions are more for roles than players I think anyway. I just gave a 17 year old striker his first of the season in the Premiership with the same instructions I give to Wayne Rooney. He is not Wayne Rooney by any stretch of the imagination but he has scored twice and set another goal up and it's only 26 minutes into the match. He does have 17 for Teamwork though.

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A style of football that can best be seen in my Defensive Midfielder.

Ouch, now I think you have done that to see how well I read you initial piece. I feel like I am back at school, but I shall have a go nonetheless

Physically: I would say he is a little hampered, being a little slow off the mark means if the opposition get a yard or two on him even with overall pace he will find it hard to track them down. He isn't very strong for DM, so he won't be that brick wall in front of the defensive line. His jumping will make him great at spoiling defensive set pieces, and natural fitness will mean he is slow to recover, (possibly also a little lazy in training) His balance will keep him on his feet, but he is not the most agile.

Mentally: Extremely determined so he will not switch off and strive the whole time. His anticipation, decisions and workrate will make up for his lack of acceleration and he is pretty assured of being in the right place at the right time. Whilst bravery is a little low for a DM, when in a pickle his composure will get him through, more than likely through his creativity. His off the ball is very good so that and team work will and again creativity will see him make opportunities for others.

Technically: As an overall he has good technique so combined with mental skills decisions and creativity he will do most of what he tries. Excellent marking and tackling will make him difficult to get around and with his anticipation and decisions the lack of acceleration won't bother him. Being a weak header I think he will spoil more than win. His passing dribbling and first touch are excellent, so controlling the ball bringing it forward and linking passes through the midfield won't be a problem. Crossing doesn't matter too much he doesn't need to be bombing balls upfield. Long shots are an added bonus (paul scholes he scores goals)

Overall: Ricardo is a dertemined player that doesn't buckle under pressure, has the ability to link up play extremely well in attack and has enough intelligence when reading the play to ensure he gets into defensive positions early. He has the ability to spot a pass and not only that put it right on the money. When placed under pressure he will have the ability to stay cool and whilst not agile stay on his feet and still deliver off. He is a player that is probably very aware of where every player on the pitch is. His work rate will make him a tireless midfielder, but I think he would also be prone to injury and would need to be managed carefully.

errr nowhere near as eloquent, sorry...

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That's pretty accurate to be honest, but I wasn't trying to put you on the spot. I was showing you that even my DM's have immense Vision and Passing. It's what I have built my team around. Jaume will naturally thrive on the delivery from this guy and likewise he will benefit from having such a brilliant target.

My point is that I don't have to "set them up" I just have to "let them play". My setup to achieve this would be bags of Creative Freedom but fairly neutral Tactical Instructions.

Ramirez has some fairly random attributes you are right. These show up ingame as a lack of Acceleration and a tendency to get muscled off the ball in midfield but with the rest of his attributes these weaknesses are rarely exposed.

His main weakness in practice is his lack of Technique which means his passes tend to be ruler straight along the ground and his longshots are pretty poor. Despite having 18 for Longshots and 19 for Composure he has an awful habit of trying to curl shots into the top corner and sending them a good ten yards wide. It might be worth training him to "Shoot With Power".

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So finally finished reading this monster of a post.

I have to say it's again quite interesting to see how much attention you're paying to details but for me you're overdoing it a bit in this post but non the less some useful ideas and thoughts here as always.

What I really found interesting and which unfortunately fell a bit short imo is how you chose the PPMs you want your players to train and I would love to get some insight in more detail which attributes you consider to be mandatory for certain PPMs and which PPMs can cover for the weaker areas of a player.

So if you could share a bit more insight on how you chose your players PPMs that would be great.

Thanks for all the effort you put into your posts it's always a pleasure to read them.

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My point is that I don't have to "set them up" I just have to "let them play". My setup to achieve this would be bags of Creative Freedom but fairly neutral Tactical Instructions.

So if this were taken to the extreme, could it be said that if by combining the thoughts of cohesive team with more thorough player understanding, that you could for all intensive purposes create a no tweak formation.

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Brilliant post Sfraser. Took me a while to read through because there was so much information to take in.

At what point would you consider him to take over from Rooney and push Rooney back into an AMC slot?

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Excellent extensive post! I also read your thread/posts about how you set up your tactic and team roles, and I played Steven Gerrard as you played your "Özil" to great succes in my first games as Liverpool boss. Now in your last post you said finding (and developing) the most suitable AMC is your challenge and I wondered if Stevie G is, to an extent, not a perfect example of such a player?

2njho2q.jpg

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Haven't read all of it, kinda skimed but awesome stuff :thup:

I look forward to giving it a proper read when I get home from work.

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hey sfraser great post as always.i was wondering if you as the manager can directly improve a players creativity and anticipation through training and PPMs?

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Nice post SFraser. :thup:

I study my players in very much the same way and building up their character on and off the pitch is both key to the powerful imagination factor of the game as well as key to having success at Football Manager!

Enjoyed reading this.

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Great post! Definitely given me a new insight into some of the attributes. Seeing your young talents makes me wonder which criteria you use into picking them for your team and what is needed to develop them. This is one aspect of the game I would definitely love to read a couple of pages about.

A note on Work Rate: You see it as a "Chase the opponent" -mentality stat, but would it not do far more than that? In my mind, work rate and determination combined decides how much and how fast player develops. Also, work rate is what I think makes someone chase after that seemingly impossible ball and how far a player will go in finding that extra bit of space time and time again.

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Absolute EPIC post :) Well done once again and thanks.

A couple of statements piqued my interest and if you have the time I would really love a little bit more explanation:

"Argues with Officials" a relic of being mentored by Rooney. Once "Tries First Time Shots" is done training I will go with "Dives Into Tackles" and this should neutralise his only weakness, lack of Aggression.

This might be more down to how you want your team to play but I would think that having this PPM would have an adverse affect on Jaume's play given his low Tackling attribute. As you note, he is strong positionally for a forward but I would think that encouraging him to throw himself into tackles with reckless abandon would lead to more bookings and more injuries for the player with few tangible benefits.

Positioning is one of the real eye openers when studied closely to understand "Tactical Awareness". It's the aspect of the game that defines the position a player takes up when he is not making any attacking runs. Players with high Positioning take up incredibly effective positions that maintain shape and deny the opposition space while at the same time being in key areas to offer support to teammates. Because Positioning effectively defines Tactical Awareness when not Attacking, I have absolutely no qualms about giving my two holding midfielders with 18+ Positioning the Roaming instruction.

While this makes complete logical sense, I always thought that a player's "ability" to utilize the Roaming instruction effectively was at least in part defined by the the ill-defined and extremely hidden Free Role attribute. Any thoughts on this? It must serve SOME purpose...

I have no idea why he is mates with Nani. Maybe he respects Nani because Nani used to come off the bench to win matches for me before I sold him. It can't be for his attitude.

Just thinking allowed here but perhaps it is down to the similarities in their native tongues (i.e. Portuguese and Spanish)? So perhaps Nani was one of the only players that Jaume could communicate with when he arrived at the club as a youngster, before he became proficient at English.

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First of all, a great detailed post mate, and Jaume sure does look like one hell of a player! One thing however I was wondering about... You said:

The only instructions of meaning for Jaume will be to give him a Free Role to free up his range of movement and find the right balance of Mentality for his positional tendencies and risk taking behaviour. The rest is just a matter of asking him to do some things most footballers do either more or less.

His position is listed as a striker and not "Forward, Centre". Doesn't this mean that his free role (hidden) attribute is quite low and he'd be better off without a free role or "roam from position" as it's called in FM 2011? Or does the exceptional 20 off the ball negate the fact that his free role attribute is low?

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I must be blind because this is the first I've seen of this thread. I've been online posting all day too....

Another fantastic read fella, nice work :)

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This is by far the most excellent thread I've read about player analysis. On the other hand though, as a Football Manager player that spends around 5-6 hours during transfer windows to create a good team, you have just given me a new look that requires more time :) I'll remind your name when I've spent over 10+ hours for a transfer in an already settled team. Thanks SFraser.

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A very good read. It really reminds me of my FM09 days when I had nurtured an amazing team with QPR. Infact I have the urge to have a look now. I feel obliged to post a some of my best prospects from the old days:

24javierblasco.png

41luoqingtao.png

These 2 defenders formed the base of my defence. During development I had the struggle of deciding whether to make Luo a CB or a playmaker. I decided for the central defender due to a lack of talent there at the time (although not a problem now, even have a setpiece specialist CB) and this prospect:

27carlosalberto.png

Tutoring from Beckham and Ballack really kickstarted his improvement and is now the best playmaker in the world. He is the soul of my team and runs the Spanish national team's midfield. He is there primary midfielder ahead of Fabregas, Xavi (old now though), Iniesta, Parejo.

On my left wing I have the amazing Neyens:

7mohamedneyens.png

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But I am most proud about my strikeforce.

My strong complete forward is Soares. Although unable to find a slot in my team straight away he was loaned out to Chelsea where he shone and was top league scorer. From then on he has been immense for my team:

11soares.png

But my star player is a forward from Braga. He was picked up at the age of 16 and nurtured. He was previously known for one asset: blistering pace but I have moulded him into a more complete striker, and is without a doubt the best striker in the league. He could single handedly dribble through a defense and score with ease. His only weakness is his one footedness but he is so good that I don't mind the occasional predictability and inaccuracy with his left foot:

16albertopedrosa.png

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Excellent work SFraser, fantastic insight.

If I could give one piece of commentary, you've clearly found an amazing player, which is great for the level you're managing at, would you consider doing something similar for one or two lower ability players (perhaps from Lower end Prem or Championship) where the strengths are fewer ?

I'm not taking away anything from what you've done, I just think this type of analysis (combined with the attribute work Cleon is doing) could influence many more people with a lower calibre of player.

Thanks

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...if I were to break FM down into its important parts I would say it is 25% Tactics, 25% Motivation/Man Management/Squad Management and 50% Players.

Ditto that :)

Great stuff again.

Yourself and Cleon really do a great job of explaining how player attributes work. I often try to do so in more basic terms sometimes, but the responses are usually more questions!

I'll stick to offering the basics and you two can keep producing the advanced advice ;)

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Ditto that :)

Great stuff again.

Yourself and Cleon really do a great job of explaining how player attributes work. I often try to do so in more basic terms sometimes, but the responses are usually more questions!

I'll stick to offering the basics and you two can keep producing the advanced advice ;)

Cheers for that Heathxx lazy git ;)

...if I were to break FM down into its important parts I would say it is 25% Tactics, 25% Motivation/Man Management/Squad Management and 50% Players.

That is very true :thup:

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While this makes complete logical sense, I always thought that a player's "ability" to utilize the Roaming instruction effectively was at least in part defined by the the ill-defined and extremely hidden Free Role attribute. Any thoughts on this? It must serve SOME purpose...

His position is listed as a striker and not "Forward, Centre". Doesn't this mean that his free role (hidden) attribute is quite low and he'd be better off without a free role or "roam from position" as it's called in FM 2011? Or does the exceptional 20 off the ball negate the fact that his free role attribute is low?

Good questions.

I do believe the hidden "Free Role" attribute is important, and very likely defines how good a player is at "roaming" into dangerous positions. The higher the attribute the more likely the "roam" is going to be somewhere really punishing.

The thing about individual attributes though is that they don't take into account what the rest of the player is doing nor do they take into account what your team is doing. For example Sergio Aguero plays Left Wing in my team in order to peel off fullbacks and score goals, which he does by the bucket load. His Crossing is 11, his Passing is 14 and his Teamwork is 13 yet he has 12 Assists in 28 games. Only 2 players have more Assists, both my Central Midfielders.

So what's going on here? Several things are working together to make Aguero an awesome provider. First he is easilly capable of beating fullbacks in multiple ways, pace or dribbling or sheer movement and that instantly removes a defender from the equation. Second the overwhelming majority of his passes are in to the middle of the pitch, either into the box or the edge of the box if my team is up the pitch. Atleast some of these passes are going to give someone a chance to bang the ball into the net per match. Lastly his Anticipation, Creativity, Decisions and Flair are high. He can see plenty and see early, he really likes to try something amazingly dangerous and he is very good at "weighing the percentages". So while he might not be a traditional playmaker in the Teamwork or Passing sense he is still an intelligent "conjurer" playing in a position that helps him set up goals.

So how does this help answer the "Roaming" question? Well I said before that my CM Ramirez has "Roam From Position" and he hardly looks the type to have a high Free Role attribute, yet his average rating for the past 5 games is 7.80 which is rather high. So either his poor Roaming is only slightly reducing his awesome performances, or somehow it is actually improving his performances.

On the pitch it is rather obvious that Ramirez "Roaming" is rather rubbish on it's own. When he decides to Roam, only when making an attacking run, he moves to the flank where his lack of Acceleration makes him a poor winger and he leaves a rather large gap in midfield where a good playmaker would be useful. So yes, his Roaming is rubbish. Very true.

However what happens on the pitch is that when he roams to the flank he takes up a position between Aguero and Rooney and this puts stress on the opponents back four. If midfielders dont track him then it's 2v3 down the flank and Aguero peels off the fullback and scores. If midfielders do track him then it leaves a huge gap through the middle for my AMC or other CM to get into a dictate play in oceans of space.

Ramirez' Roaming is awful, but movement causes movement causes movement and my team is built to exploit space and vision. In my opinion the only place where Accuracy and Potency of individual Roaming matters is in my AMC slot. Everywhere else it is just a means to an end.

Keep in mind though he doesn't actually roam very often, but when he does roam even if his "roam" itself is a bit dire he still has the ability to work the flank and even cut open defences with throughballs from wide areas. If you don't want your CM's to occasionally pop up on the flanks and do something a bit different that can shake up your overall pattern of play then tell him to stay where he is. And also keep in mind that despite Aguero's awesome Assist ratio he still isn't a genuinely world class pass spotter. A true world class pass spotter moving out to the flank now and then is no bad thing tactically speaking. In the offensive context that is.

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This was about to fall off page one of the forum. There is no way I'm letting one of the best posts on the forum in recent times to drop off and go unnoticed that easy.

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Brilliant post.

I have just finished a season with Bromley in Blue square south where I inherited a team that had good levels of creativity & all around mental stats across my first choice midfielders and attackers (with fairly average physical stats). I managed to win the league comfortably playing some of the best football I've seen playing at this level.

I'd always concentrated on physical stats in the lower leagues but i'm now thinking that I was wrong to ignore mental stats. I can now see why you prize mental stats so highly in your teams. Definately going to pay much more attention to this side of the game in the future.

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Really enjoy reading your posts because I always learn something new and get really stoked to play FM.

I just don't think i agree with the way you describe how players use flair. In my opinion flair is how unpredictable a player movement and action's are, and not shooting balls from weird areas of the pitch and/or making bad decisions (Nani).

For example (real life): When I'm playing football for my local club their are certain player that really dribble well but i tend to always anticipate what they going to do, although they dribble well and have some speed I feel capable of defending them because they don't really do things that catch me off guard. This is in my opinion a case of low flair. But their are other player that leave me stuck to the ground because I don't no what they are going to do next (high flair), although not always these players are great dribbles.

So in my opinion good dribbling + high flair means that a player has more success In 1vs1 situations.

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Really enjoy reading your posts because I always learn something new and get really stoked to play FM.

I just don't think i agree with the way you describe how players use flair. In my opinion flair is how unpredictable a player movement and action's are, and not shooting balls from weird areas of the pitch and/or making bad decisions (Nani).

For example (real life): When I'm playing football for my local club their are certain player that really dribble well but i tend to always anticipate what they going to do, although they dribble well and have some speed I feel capable of defending them because they don't really do things that catch me off guard. This is in my opinion a case of low flair. But their are other player that leave me stuck to the ground because I don't no what they are going to do next (high flair), although not always these players are great dribbles.

So in my opinion good dribbling + high flair means that a player has more success In 1vs1 situations.

Are you on about this bit of the article?!

Flair is a strange attribute. Depending on the player in question it can be a nightmare attribute that continually wastes the ball, or alternatively it can be a complete saviour of an attribute that wins you matches and does regularly. Jaume's Flair is 16 meaning he is more than capable of trying to unlock a match with something awesome, but not driven by it. By contrast Rooneys Flair is 17 and the more Technically adept Aguero has Flair of 19. These two players are the two dominating figures of my club (apart from me). Aguero's Flair manifests itself as a tendency to jink inside a fullback and unleash a shot into the corners, or chip a ball to the back post. Rooneys Flair tends to manifest itself in thunderbolts and cross field passes, or careful lobs over goalkeepers and centrebacks.

Jaume's Flair tends to manifest itself in him taking on defenders or hitting extremely dangerous shots from awkward angles.

Whether Flair is a good thing or a bad thing depends on the type of Flamboyancy produced by the rest of a players attributes. Some players, like Nani, will simply run and dribble and shoot from range because he is neither particularly intelligent, aware, or good at Decision making. Other players may use their Flair to slice open defences from outrageous positions and land a ball clean on the toe of a forward. Whether Flair is a good thing or a bad thing for X player requires watching him on the pitch

SFraser is pretty spot on with his vision of how flair works. So I'm not sure if you misunderstood his posts or not but he kind of said the things you did above. Each player is different and depending on the rest of his attributes, they all use flair differently. If someone decided to shoot from a weird angle or area of the pitch and he doesn't normally do those types of things. Then that is the player using his flair, decisions and creativity attributes above everything else. That is him been unpredictable as it’s not his normal characteristics. It can also be good for player’s who dribble like you pointed out. But the attribute is a lot more than that and offers a wide variety of things a player will attempt based on his other important attributes.

So in my opinion good dribbling + high flair means that a player has more success In 1vs1 situations.

I don't agree sorry. Agility, acceleration, balance. composure, technique and strength would be higher or just as important as flair for a 1v1 situation. Having a good dribbling and high flair attribute doesn't mean he'll be successful at all. It's no good if he doesn't have the rest of the attributes to be able to keep the ball and get past his opponent.

The thing about attributes is you can't think of them as just one or two things that make a move work. You have to think of them as sets instead as most actions will require at least 6 other attributes in order to make them work.

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Amazing post. Puts my lack of detail to shame. I would love to get this involved in FM but I don't have the knowledge or patience. Excellent work.

If you are ever in the Devon area and fancy giving me an FM masterclass, let me know.......

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Maybe i misunderstood how Sfrazer described flair.

Whether Flair is a good thing or a bad thing depends on the type of Flamboyancy produced by the rest of a players attributes. Some players, like Nani, will simply run and dribble and shoot from range because he is neither particularly intelligent, aware, or good at Decision making.

Official Premier League Statistics 2010/2011: Luis Nani assists 16 (player with most assists, he cant be that bad)

If a player is neither particularly intelligent, aware, or good at Decision making I'm not sure by not having flair well help.

I understand that Nani may be no Ozil, but i think flair is always a good thing for attacking players.

I'm not sure Sfazer says that flair may be a bad thing, but w/e (My first language is not English). Once again great post

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The thing about attributes is you can't think of them as just one or two things that make a move work. You have to think of them as sets instead as most actions will require at least 6 other attributes in order to make them work.

This is exactly the reason why I always look for players that have a good overall distribution of stats instead of buying a player that hase just a few really good stats and some really low stats I usually prefer players don't have any real weakness apart form set pieces maybe. ^^

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SFraser, any chance we can see Sergio Aguero settings? it would make it easier to try and understand why he is able to do what he can do if you do so.

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Maybe i misunderstood how Sfrazer described flair.

Official Premier League Statistics 2010/2011: Luis Nani assists 16 (player with most assists, he cant be that bad)

If a player is neither particularly intelligent, aware, or good at Decision making I'm not sure by not having flair well help.

I understand that Nani may be no Ozil, but i think flair is always a good thing for attacking players.

I'm not sure Sfazer says that flair may be a bad thing, but w/e (My first language is not English). Once again great post

Real life Nani is a lot better than FM10 Nani. I was talking about my experience having Nani in my team.

FM Nani can't spot a pass due to his low Creativity and Anticipation and Teamwork. I don't know how good he is in FM11 but I didn't mean to draw a comparison with the real Nani.

I also think Flair is a good thing for attacking players and wrote a thread about how I based my entire team on Creativity and Flair. The problem is that with players with low intelligence Flair tends to make them one dimensional, always going for the obvious flamboyant option.

So while Flair is always nice to have in attacking players, Flair + Vision is a whole other level of attacking awesome.

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Another amazing thread SFraser. Ever since you've developed your training theories in FM10 I've been reading your stuff with much enthusiasm.

I must say, it seems that I'm on a very similar wave length as you in terms of how I look at my own players and teams as a whole. In my latest career, which was in FM10, I managed Cordoba CF from the very beginning until January 2040, then the save started crashing, unfortunately. Anyway, I managed to truly re-create the club in my own image. Every player that come through my tutelage in those 30 seasons was sculpted to be as much of a complete player as it was possible for their respective positions. Very much like your Juame. Also, as I went further and further into my career, I became more and more critical of what I looked for in every player, prior to taking them to my club. I looked for all the hidden little clues to their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses. If there were weaknesses, I'd determine if those could be ironed-out, whether through training or through tutoring. There were times when I even surprised myself at passing on a big prospects because of something I've spotted that didn't quite sit well with me. There were even times when I would simply sell players that were seemingly world class, but not quite complete still. However, though such meticulous actions I was able to keep the club rolling along to such a degree that we literally became untouchable in La Liga. Real Madrid and Barcelona played very much second fiddle to us.

It was very enjoyable to be immersed in FM to such a degree :D

One question though, and it's a bit off topic. You mentioned in your first post that you're not playing FM11. Why is that?

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The short answer to your question is this:

21e3lhc.jpg

That is all the players at my club not on loan, filtered via my First Team screen. Have you ever seen such a perfectly managed club?

Look at the 36 year old Rio Ferdinand with 12 starts. Who keeps a 36 year old around in FM? Last 5 games 7.68.

Look at my 15 year old Resolute Centreback Jean-Marc Berthon, I wonder who tutored him?

Check out the 18 year old Professional Rightback Mango with six starts and an average rating of 7.37 and then look at his chum the Fairly Professional 17 year old Leftback Patrizio Cerra. My assistant rates Mango as good as Vidic.

And check out the 26 year old Mesut Ozil with his Lrn symbol. Not quite up to scratch mentally? Then it's six months under the wing of Aguero for you son.

I know every single one of these players intimately and have managed every detail of my club to ensure they get the maximum chance to develop and perform. Every single player you see here has his own custom designed training schedule specifically for him. Each one of them is being tutored or is waiting for a tutor to become free. Every one of them has a chance of staying at this club for the rest of their careers.

And unless you just got injured and will miss a Cup Final, every single one of them is as happy as larry.

I am too busy managing a football club right now to play FM11.

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"It's all very well having abilities and skills and Strengths and Weaknesses and Average All Round goodness but if you keep trying to score from the halfway line every time you get the ball you are soon going to be working at Burger King, or playing for Real Madrid."

:D:D:D

Fantastic post SFraser!

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That is all the players at my club not on loan, filtered via my First Team screen. Have you ever seen such a perfectly managed club?

Well, to be honest, I have. The club I managed in my own career was pretty much almost a carbon copy of yours. Not in the actual player names, but the type of players that I had developed. Very much like your own.

Look at the 36 year old Rio Ferdinand with 12 starts. Who keeps a 36 year old around in FM? Last 5 games 7.68.

I suppose not many would. Personally, I kept around a 38 year old center back and a 42 year old GK at one point because I felt they could still contribute to the club, especially in the tutoring department.

I know every single one of these players intimately and have managed every detail of my club to ensure they get the maximum chance to develop and perform. Every single player you see here has his own custom designed training schedule specifically for him. Each one of them is being tutored or is waiting for a tutor to become free. Every one of them has a chance of staying at this club for the rest of their careers.

Exactly as my own club. I set up custom schedules according to your training theories and I'm glad to say that after 30 seasons they're still spot on as ever.

I also value tutoring just as much. Practically every member of my first team is either tutoring or being tutored by someone.

I am too busy managing a football club right now to play FM11.

Oh how I wish my save hadn't started crashing. I'd be in it right now otherwise.

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Well, to be honest, I have. The club I managed in my own career was pretty much almost a carbon copy of yours. Not in the actual player names, but the type of players that I had developed. Very much like your own.

I suppose not many would. Personally, I kept around a 38 year old center back and a 42 year old GK at one point because I felt they could still contribute to the club, especially in the tutoring department.

Exactly as my own club. I set up custom schedules according to your training theories and I'm glad to say that after 30 seasons they're still spot on as ever.

I also value tutoring just as much. Practically every member of my first team is either tutoring or being tutored by someone.

Oh how I wish my save hadn't started crashing. I'd be in it right now otherwise.

Dirtyace, you might get a smile from this thread.

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wow, you weren't kidding when you said this was a big read.

But it's a very good read. Kudos to you for writing this out!

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Very nice. This together with cleon's post on attributes is great. Now off to find your info on training schedules. I have recently started setting up schedules for each position and even started having schedules for individual players as none of my strikers for example need the same generic striker schedule. Some need more heading. Others composure. Etc.

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SFraser, brilliant as ever!! Could you upload a pkm to show a match with Jaume and Aguero playing well?

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