Meet The Attacking Midfield Playmaker

I really enjoy doing these articles so I thought it was time for another one, however this will be slightly different to the others that I have done in the past as it will be more tactical than the others. Not only that, but due to how he developed over several seasons actually made me change how he was being used to get more out of him. Not only did this require a role change but also a formation change, all will become clear as the article develops, so I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Filipi

Deciding how I’d develop him and what role he’d be playing in the current set up was one of the easier decisions I’ve had to make. Long term he will be my trequartista as he has the attributes for that already and stands out. His personality is also professional already and as I’m short on tutors I don’t need to have him tutored immediately as he isn’t a priority for tutoring due to him having at least half of what’s required already. I decided that because he has high technical for a fifteen year old already that I didn’t really need to do individual attribute training for him. This allowed me to give him an individual role training schedule instead but even though he will be a trequartista that isn’t the role I gave him. The reasons for this is I wanted to work on his physical attributes and if we look at what the trequartista role trains we’d see there is minimal focus on the physical’s;

treqstats

As you can see that focuses on a few attributes that are already extremely high. In fact, his technical attributes are already high enough for what I need for him so I’d not be that fussed if they never changed. His first touch, passing and technique are all I need, anything else in the technical column is a bonus but not essential.  His mental attributes need a lot of work but that will come with age and from playing games, they should develop quite well over the next three to four years. The physical attributes though are average but I’d like him to be faster because he will have lots of space to cover on the pitch and if he drops deep he needs to be able to catch up or keep up with play. If he’s slow then he’ll struggle meaning a part of my jigsaw doesn’t work which will have a knock on effect elsewhere. I could have gave him specific attribute training but due to his young age I didn’t feel that was needed as he has no obvious weakness based on his age. With all of this in mind I decided to look through the training schedules and find one that worked more on the mental and physical attributes. This is what I decided on;

rpm attributes

That’s the roaming playmaker role. It works on more mental attributes and physical ones. The more attributes a schedule works on the less chance they have to improve though compared to a schedule that works on less overall attributes. That isn’t a bad thing though if the attributes it targets are all areas the player needs to focus on. It will save you time in the long run compared to individual attribute training and continuously rotating them manually for a few seasons.

I mentioned further up that he needs to be able to keep up with play or catch up with it so he can be involved in everything. What I need him to do is be a link between the midfield and attack by dropping deep in search of the ball and generally just roaming about. While I expect him to chip in with goals at times this  isn’t his main job. The main job I want is for him to be able to find space and commit the opposition to marking him or following him as this should create space for me to use. Or for him to use the space that the others around him create. Not only that but I expect him to do through balls or play people in who might be in better positions that himself. He really needs to be the all action type hero.

This means that long-term based on what I need I see him needing these PPM’s;

  • Comes deep to get ball
  • Tries killer balls often

That’s all that I see him needing for the role nothing too fancy or flashy as I expect him to be involved in everything so don’t want to make him do to many specific things as that could take away from what I need him to do overall.

I started developing him with the Brazilian 1970 tactic that I created because that is what I was using at the time in-game. Rather than post about that set up here and confuse people (it’ll come clearer why later) I thought it would be best to just post a link to the stuff I’ve wrote on that subject already. So for a more in-depth look at what system he was playing in early on in his career then you can find it here;

http://sisportscentre.com/category/brazil-1970/
Due to Filipi being a newgen he didn’t appear in my game until almost at the very end of season one, so he wasn’t really involved with anything so we’ll skip straight on to the end of the second season.

Season Two
Now I play a lot of games, in fact I play around 80+ in a season and if I get to all the finals I think the total tally of possible games is 84. So this means people get game time, it’s great for the youths and Filipi is no different, he played hell of a lot.

Filistats

Not bad for a breakthrough season. He was clearly heavily involved and he finished with 68 key passes and 266 dribbles. He was clearly working well and becoming an important player for me even though his attributes might not be that great just yet.
Speaking of his development he looked like this at the end of season two;

filipi

He saw an increase of 1 for these attributes;

  • crossing
  • first touch
  • heading
  • long shots
  • throw
  • marking
  • passing
  • tackling
  • technique
  • anticipation
  • braver
  • concentration
  • decisions
  • leadership
  • off the ball
  • teamwork
  • vision
  • work rate
  • natural fitness

He saw an increase if two attributes for;

  • tackling
  • technique
  • concentration
  • positioning
  • acceleration
  • balance
  • agility
  • pace
  • strength

He saw an increase of three in these attributes;

  • composure
  • stamina

The progress is nice and steady so I decided that I didn’t need to adapt anything. I also decided that I’d not teach him any player preferred moves just yet either due to how well his training had been going, I didn’t want to disrupt that so kept it the same.

Season Three
He had an even bigger season this year and played more games too, he was becoming a first teamer rather than the youth backup I had planned originally, due to how good he was becoming.

stats

This year he had 111 key passes and made 389 dribbles! He is definitely a threat when on the ball, so much so that I began to think of making him the focal point of the team. But before we get onto that, here is what he looked like at the end of the third season;

filipi2

He saw an increase of one in these attributes;

  • dribbling
  • first touch
  • heading
  • marking
  • tackling
  • decision
  • leadership
  • off the ball
  • acceleration
  • balance
  • jumping
  • natural fitness
  • pace
  • stamina

He saw an increase of two in these attributes;

  • corners
  • crossing
  • finishing
  • passing
  • composure
  • positioning
  • teamwork
  • vision
  • agility
  • strength

He saw an increase of three in these attributes;

  • freekicks
  • anticipation
  • concentration

Again I find this to be very impressive development and he is improving considerably as a player so again, I see no real need to change things. With this in mind I keep training him as I was at the start of the thread.

Tactical Changes

I wanted to make Filipi an even bigger part of the side, his current role of trequartista was working but I also felt that it was restrictive too. When i saw restrictive I don’t mean for the player himself (or maybe I do in a roundabout way) but more in the sense of how my team is looking to funnel play through him. You may or may not know that on Football Manager, the playmaker roles attract the ball from your players. So anyone with a playmaker role (and the trequartista is one) will attract the ball automatically off players as their teammates will be more inclined to pass to them. This isn’t a bad thing all the time but it can make play very one-dimensional at certain times and I felt this was happening to me. My results weren’t suffering and I was winning games and playing some really great stuff but it wasn’t enough for me, I felt my team could give so much more.

So I began thinking how I could use the ball better and make Filipi the central focus. I began thinking and at first was thinking of having him deeper to influence the game from further back, so he could really take hold of the game if he wished too. But in the end I decided against that because I already have a vast array of central midfielders who are the bees knees! It might sound weird but the role i decided upon was a standard attacking midfielder! It could seem a bit weird that to make the player a more prominent focus in the side I remove any kind of playmaking role and give him a role that many would class as a standard one.

It’s not that strange though if you really think about it. He can still be creative he’ll just not be creative in the sense of the role that he is allocated. So in theory this means play will be less channeled through him no matter what and instead players will use him because he is the best option rather than being instructed to use him constant regardless. But due to his attributes he will still be very creative on the ball, this should make him more of a threat and allow him to use the ball in a different way.
This is the shape I came up with;

Untitled

I still have playmaker roles in the system as you can see but now Filipi can really shine in the final third. The reason why Gabigol (Barbosa) is now a trequartista is because he will come deep and at times Filipi will be like the second striker. Plus once Filipi gets the ball he should link up with Gabigol and they should create some nice link up play as Filipi will be drawn to passing to him and while I wanted Filipi to be the focal point of the tactic, I wanted gabigol to be the main goal threat. The set-up above looks simple on paper but believe me, it is quite complex and the roles I have chosen are all specifically chosen for a certain reason. I don’t really want this to turn into a tactic post about the system itself though, I want it to be about the player and his role. But we will touch upon some aspects of the tactics below when I go into some examples of how important the attacking midfielder really is. Before that though let’s take a look at his stats and attributes for the first season (season four) that we used this tactic.

Season Four
To say he had a good season would be a bit of an understatement, he was exceptional.

stats4

This year he made 211 key passes and made 314 dribbles! His contribution with the ball has certainly improved, it’s almost doubled on last seasons and he’s playing some great football alongside Gabigol.
Attributes wise he’s also improved tenfold too;

fil4

He saw an increase of one in these attributes;

  • crossing
  • dribbling
  • freekicks
  • heading
  • throws
  • marking
  • tackling
  • technique
  • anticipation
  • decisions
  • flair
  • leadership
  • off the ball
  • workrate
  • pace
  • agility
  • balance
  • natural fitness
  • pace
  • stamina

He saw an increase of two in these attributes;

  • long shots
  • composure
  • positioning
  • vision
  • strength

He saw an increase of three in these attributes;

  • concentration

Really good progression yet again. I’m unsure what to do going into the fifth season but I am thinking about focusing on some individual attributes now as the training focus. I have no idea of what though at the time of writing this.

Role Analysis
Let’s take a look at what he is doing during a game and the kinds of positions he is taking up.

1

This is how he is positioned in the early stages of an attack, he is very central to everything and has lots of options should he receive the ball. He’s also occupying the kind of areas that tend to be unmarked so he tends to have lots of space and time on the ball normally.

2

In this screenshot he’s just received the ball and he drives forward a little bit into the space in front of him before passing the ball out to the oncoming wingback.

The next is a little video to highlight his movement which is capped by a goal;

You can see him burst forward, drop back, jockey around a while then burst into the box and score. I love these kind of late runs and always try to have someone making them in all tactics I create. The striker also played a massive part in occupying the two central defenders.


This one shows him getting a lucky break from us winning the ball back and doing a great run from deep to score.


That one shows him turn provider with a good anticipated pass for the striker to finish off. He makes it look so simple!


He shows good balance and strength here not go get knocked off the ball to grab the assist. It also shows him starting deep again and moving forward. He has such good movement with and without the ball.

I’ll not bore you to death and make this article longer than it needs to be. But you should get the gist of what he does during a game. If there’s interest I might expand on the examples if people want to see more, just leave a comment below 🙂

8 thoughts on “Meet The Attacking Midfield Playmaker”

  1. I love these articles, really impressive again!

    My first thought was (as you anticipated) “Why make him an AMa?” – but yes, it makes sense. I guess it’s a role that is more dependent on a player’s attributes (and PPMs) in terms of interpretation than – say – a playmaker role, isn’t it?

    1. Thanks Tery. Yes the attributes are key, as playing someone with different attributes would make them play the role differently. That’s one of my strategies, I have different types of players who play roles so I can get something different out of them.

  2. An inspirational piece!
    I’m really imterested in a tactical one about your set-up, so if you have the time…… 😉

  3. After reading this article I changed my, 4 times Golden Ball winner, AMC from trequartista to attacking midfielder. I use a narrow diamond formation and I applied this change at the defending version of my tactic only. I prefer the trequartista role because I want my AMC to score more and never defend. I also made less important adjustments to some other roles. What happened was beyond any imagination. He finished his CHL season (where I used the defensive version in 11 of the 13 games) with 13 appearances, 13 assists, 13 goals (only 1 from penalty), 79 key passes (the second one having 36) and an average of 8.72 (setting a new competition record). Now thinking of using him as an attacking midfielder at the attacking version of my tactic too. Your idea may seem awkward at first sight but works perfectly. Well done!!!

  4. This may be stepping on the toes of your desire not to turn this into a tactical discussion. But I couldn’t help wanting to try to transfer this tactic to Man Utd with Mata as the attacking midfielder. Would you mind sharing your team instructions?

    1. You should create your own ideas based around the principles and concepts in the article. That’s the whole point of me doing them.

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