David Selini: The Footballer, The Coach, The Writer

Just before Football Manager 15 was released I managed to catch up with David Selini for a little chat. David Selini is a footballer who plays in the Swedish Division 2 league for Bodens BK. Not only is he a footballer but he’s also the assistant manager at the same club for the under 15s. He’s also a massive Manchester United fan (we all have our faults!) and can often be found contributing written articles in Swedish for muss.se or in English over at Running The Show. David and myself have chatted a few times over social media about his side and how he’s having a difficult time currently at his club. I tried to find David on Football Manager but he’s actually not in it yet, so when I found this out I asked him if I could interview him to see if we can’t get him added for FM15!

CH: How did you become a footballer? Was it something you just did as a kid and got spotted or was it something else?

DS: Yeah, basically. I was born in Stockholm and started playing when I was five. A few years later my family moved up to the Northern parts of Sweden to a small village where we lived next to the pitch so I was always out there playing with my friends and younger brothers. When I was fifteen I joined Bodens BK’s U19’s and have been part of the first team squad for the last three years now.

CH: You are still only 20 years old so quite young, yet you are also a coach for Bodens BK. How difficult is it to juggle being a footballer and a coach at the same time at such a young age?

DS: It’s definitely not easy. I’m the assistant for the U15s, and those sessions are usually at the same time as my own sessions with the first team. That’s the hard part, trying to be a part of as many sessions as possible with the U15s at the same time as training myself. I have also been given the responsibility to lead the district team for players born in 2000, but that is usually just once a month which is easier to make work. On the other hand that includes keeping an eye on a lot of players, so I’m always busy with something!

CH: You’ve been a footballer for 4 years now and in that time you’ve yet to be put into FM by the Swedish FM researcher. Do you have a message for him?

DS: Yeah – add me! I’ve been waiting for it a long time and seen a lot of lads that came through the academy with me being added to Boden’s squad. We had one player who was only with us for a season, but he was added instantly so hopefully I’ll be in the next one.

CH: If you did get added to FM what attributes do you think realistically you should have?

DS: Well, I don’t think many people would have signed me! Technically, I think my main attributes would be passing and finishing, while mentally it would be anticipation, positioning and composure. When I think about it, I often take set-pieces so maybe corners and free-kicks too. In terms of physical attributes I would love to say pace, although that would definitely be a stretch!

CH: As you play FM yourself, how do you approach the game? Do you think you approach it differently due to being a footballer and a coach?

DS: I’m definitely more into the tactical side of the game now compared to when I was younger. Then it was more about getting the best players available into a team. Now I try to set up tactics and work hard with developing the players I have initially, or signing young players, to fit into the philosophy I have chosen for the specific team.

CH: Which teams do you normally play as?

DS: As I am a lifelong Manchester United fan, I always try them out in one save to see what the young players and new signings are like. It gets a bit boring quite quickly though since you get ridiculous amounts of money to spend. Other than United I play with teams I get impressed by watching on TV. For example I played with Southampton last year. My most recent one was with Pescara, after I read an interview with Zeman from his time there. I don’t play as much as I would like since I don’t really have the time, but when I do it’s with teams I’ve been impressed with in real life.

CH: What type of manager are you? Are you one of those hipsters who follows real life trends and applies them in FM?

DS: I might be a hipster, yeah. Most recently I tried a back-three after seeing several teams impress me with it. I think most people in some way get influenced by real life events and tries stuff out in FM to see if it works. I think that’s more enjoyable than just doing the same thing every time.

CH: How do you think player development on FM works compared to real life?

DS: Hard one to answer. With some players I’d say it’s quite similar, you always have some that are better than others, both in real life and in FM. They are easier to develop. The difference is that in real life a player can develop significantly over the course of a season. So from being nowhere near the best in the side in September, he could be your best one in May. In FM, I’ve found it hard to develop players with lesser potential than others, which I believe to be because those players are not destined to be among the game’s top players. Maybe that’s just me not being good enough in the game, but I think that is something they should look at.

CH: A coach on FM doesn’t seem to be as involved with training and player development as they should be. Would them being more involved somehow be a better reflection of coaching in real life? And if so how?

DS: Yeah, without a doubt. I usually say that 90% of a coach’s job is on the training pitch. Of course FM focuses on the games, I find it hard to believe as many people would play it if it was all training and no games, but it would be a better reflection on real life if you had more things to do in training. Now it’s just about giving the player a programme for his role, and maybe a specific instruction. I liked it better when you could make the programme yourself, when you could choose how much aerobic or attacking training the player should do. You could make a tailor-made programme for each player, and I think they should reintroduce that. Otherwise I don’t know how you could make it more real life like in terms of training. It must be very hard to continually re-develop the game, so I think we should embrace it as it is, because it’s brilliant.

CH: In your day job how do you translate improvements you think a player needs to work on to the player themselves? Is it just a simple case of talking to them? I guess what I’m getting at is: just how much feedback do you give a player and how frequently?

DS: In the U15’s, what we do is all about developing players. So we talk to the player about what he needs to improve and then we work on it. What’s important is that the player understands what he needs to improve, and most importantly why. If he does that, then he will think about it in the different drills we do in the session and at the end of the session I will talk to him about how he felt it went. Fortunately, our players are eager to learn, so it’s easy to have the conversations with them. This season, I have started to do a bit of video analysis on our games and I find that to be a very useful tool to get the players to see what they are doing well and what they can improve with their own eyes, instead of me just saying it. The response has been terrific, so that is something I’d really recommend to other coaches.

CH: You’ve had a difficult season this year and aren’t featuring as much as previous seasons. How long before you decide its time to move on?

DS: Yeah, I haven’t played as much as I would have liked. The problem for me is that I’m now too old for the U19s league so I’m not getting games there as I did last year. We have still only played half the season so I’m hopeful I’ll get more games during the second half of the season. I play in central midfield and don’t really fit into the direct game  with long balls over the midfield our manager has used this season, so I understand the reasons for it. My contract is up at the end of the season so we’ll see what happens.

CH: Then what happens, how do you find a new club? How does the whole process work?

DS: I have a few options if I were to leave, which is by no means certain. We have a great bunch of lads so the banter in the dressing room is great, which is important for me. In football you never know what might happen, all of a sudden there might be a new manager in charge and he might change our style of play to something which would suit me. Or we might lose one of our centre-midfielders and a gap would open up. But since my contract’s running out then I would get contacted by a club and then it would be some negotiating to do. Basically the same as in FM!

CH: If you could remove one feature from FM what would it be and why?

DS: I have never really liked the advice you get from the other coaches, that’s just a waste of time for me. If anything should be removed, I wouldn’t mind it if that disappeared.

You can follow David on Twitter @DaveSelini

And you can check out the websites he writes for here http://muss.se/ and http://runningtheshowblog.wordpress.com/

Since Football Manager 15 has been released David has found out he is now included in the game along with his brother who plays for the same team. Here is David’s profile in FM15 ;


3 thoughts on “David Selini: The Footballer, The Coach, The Writer”

  1. Enjoyed that interview and always nice to see an impression of the game from someone in the business. Must say I was particularly interested to read this bit:

    ” I liked it better when you could make the programme yourself, when you could choose how much aerobic or attacking training the player should do. You could make a tailor-made programme for each player, and I think they should reintroduce that. Otherwise I don’t know how you could make it more real life like in terms of training.”

    I think many of us who enjoyed the training side of the game were very disappointed when the current dumbed-down system was implemented and reduced the ability to fine tune a player’s development. When we raised concerns about the new system, we were told (in a rather smug and dismissive manner, I might add) that the new system was “more realistic” and we “didn’t know football”. So I was particularly pleased to read this bit.

    1. That was the most dismissive SI have ever been when we got that reply about the new module. It was like ‘It’s our way and we don’t want suggestions’, at least that’s how I felt and it made me take a step back in all honesty for a while with regards to suggestions.

      David brought up some good points. In fact all the coaches/managers I’ve interviewed (Jed Davies, Keith Scarlett, Stuart Lancaster and Gary Guam manager etc) have all suggested the piggy in the middle version of FM where you could select all those types of activities was the most realistic. All of these people also play FM or have at some stage so to me this speaks volumes as its actually quality coaches who have good jobs that suggest the current module isn’t realistic.

      Hopefully the post I did last week will spark a bit more interest and we can hopefully push for a change.

      1. Yeah, I’d clean forgot about the version of FM when you could select the different training activities for different sections of the day. That was a while back now!

        That kind of reaction from SI, and from the mods and followers on the main forums, is just really infuriating. Half the time, you’re having someone scream at you about “realism” when they’ve seen as much of an actual training ground or professional changing room as I have. How they claim to know what really happens at football clubs, I have no idea.

        But that’s besides the point, people have to realise that it’s a game and, as David points out, you have to balance the gameplay with the desire to reflect reality. If SI decided that the current system is just more conducive to enjoyable gameplay, I wish they’d just say that instead of endlessly trooping out this bull about realism.

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