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Utilising Players Preferred Moves

I get a lot of people ask me about players preferred moves and if I have a list of the best one for each position and I always reply with the same answer – There is no best and it totally depends on what you want from the tactic you’ve created and what style you are aiming to achieve. Any PPM training should be based on this because it will impact your tactic in some way so you need to factor this into any decision making when creating tactics. Hopefully this post will explain a little bit about how I utilise PPM’s and decide what I need and more importantly is the player capable of doing what I’ve learnt him. This is just about what I look for and others might do it differently, so I’m not saying this way is a must or better, its simply just explaining how I approach them 🙂

Even after setting your tactic up with the team and player instructions you’ve chosen it still might not mean the players are doing those things because they might have a players preferred move that doesn’t allow or impacts in someway the settings you’ve selected. For this you need to be aware of any PPM’s the player has when tactic building.

These add a different dimension to the player and depending on what PPM’s he has will instruct him to do certain traits like dictate tempo, curl ball, shoots with power and so on. So when creating a tactic and choosing a role for a player you really should take these into consideration because they may affect how he plays the role you’ve give him. For example – you wouldn’t want an anchor man with the PPM gets forward when possible, as his job is to stay deep and protect the back four. Having that kind of PPM for that kind of role can stop him doing it effectively and efficiently and could make him get caught out of position. So you need to be aware of the PPM’s a player has before deciding what you want him to do in the system you are creating.

PPM’s do not cost CA they are free with the exception of develops weaker foot. They should also be thought of as tendencies and an extension of a players profile. If someone has a PPM then they will attempt to use this move as often as they see fit. The frequency at which it will be used comes down to decision making and how successful it is comes down to the required attributes.

So below I’ll list them all and talk about what attributes I think a player needs to be able to use them. Remember this is just my opinion based on what I’ve used for quite a few years so if you don’t agree that is fine as these are just opinions.

There is a total of 47 PPM’s that are available by either tutoring or learning a player the move. Of these 47 different kinds of PPM’s 7 of them are available by tutoring only. The full list of PPM’s can be seen in the screenshots below. I used the player search screen as it was easier to show you them all without missing any out.



Below are a list of PPM’s that can only be obtained via tutoring (although on FM15 I believe now all of them can be learnt);

  • Curls ball
  • Stays back at all times
  • Dwells on ball
  • Tries to play way out of trouble
  • Gets into oppositions area
  • Arrives late in oppositions area
  • Argues with officials

If you’d like your players to learn any of those then you’ll have to find a player with them already in the game and try and buy the player. Then you can try and get it transferred to one of your players by having him tutor someone. These will always be in the game but they’ll be hard to find like they are currently. So if you want to use these then you really need to find someone with them early on and try and get them transferred to one of your players.


When looking at PPM’s either learning them or unlearning them, not a lot of people take into account the players attributes. Player’s attributes are a massive part of PPM’s and determine if he can actually do what you’ve instructed. All I’m doing is showing what I look for when deciding who can have what PPM’s rather than saying my way is better than anyone elses. So here is a list of attributes that I work on when teaching players PPM’s, you might think differently or look for different attributes though.

    1. Argues with officials – I’m sure you all get what this PPM is about!
    2. Arrives late in opponents’ area – Off the ball, work rate, determination
    3. Attempts overhead kicks – Flair, balance, agility,
    4. Attempts to develop weaker foot – Self explanatory but costs CA if successful
    5. Avoids using weaker foot – Self explanatory
    6. Comes deep to get ball – Off the ball, technique, vision, passing
    7. Curls ball – Technique, anticipation, flair, finishing
    8. Cuts inside – finishing, dribbling, acceleration, technique
    9. Dictates tempo – passing, concentration, composure, first touch, teamwork
    10. Dives into tackles – Concentration, composure, bravery, tackling, aggression
    11. Does not dive into tackles – This is for players who have Low tackling, determination, Strength, Bravery, positioning. Or if you need a player to stay on his feet.
    12. Dwells on ball – Composure, technique, concentration, vision
    13. Gets forward whenever possible – Work rate, stamina, teamwork, pace/acceleration
    14. Gets into opposition area – Anticipation, determination, off the ball
    15. Hits free kicks with power – Strength, free kick taking, technique
    16. Hugs line – dribbling, crossing, teamwork
    17. Knocks ball past opponent – Pace, acceleration, balance, determination, agility
    18. Likes to lob keeper – Flair, vision, technique, anticipation
    19. Likes to round keeper – Flair, vision, technique, composure
    20. Likes to switch ball to other flank – technique, passing, teamwork, flair
    21. Likes to try to be beat offside trap – Anticipation, pace, off the ball, anticipation
    22. Looks for pass rather than attempting to score – passing, teamwork, flair, vision, composure
    23. Marks opponent tightly – Marking, concentration, positioning, stamina, work rate
    24. Moves into channels – Off the ball, acceleration, pace, flair, teamwork
    25. Penalty box player – Composure, anticipation, concentration, finishing
    26. Places shots – finishing, composure, anticipation, technique
    27. Plays no through balls – Doesn’t really need attributes for this
    28. Plays one-twos – Vision, teamwork, first touch, technique, passing
    29. Plays short simple passes – passing, technique, first touch
    30. Plays with back to goal – Workrate, balance, strength. first touch
    31. Possesses long flat throw – Strength, long throw, vision
    32. Refrains from taking long shots – Don’t need attributes for this really.
    33. Runs with ball down left – Dribbling, pace, technique, acceleration, balance, agility
    34. Runs with ball down right – Dribbling, pace, technique, acceleration, balance, agility
    35. Runs with ball often – Dribbling, pace, technique, acceleration, balance, agility
    36. Runs will ball rarely – Don’t need attributes for this
    37. Runs with ball through centre – Dribbling, pace, technique, acceleration, balance, agility
    38. Shoots from distance – Long shots, technique, composure, vision, flair
    39. Shoots with power – Long shots, technique, composure, vision, strength
    40. Stays back at all times – Don’t need attributes for this
    41. Stops play – Vision, teamwork, composure, anticipation, concentration
    42. Tries first time shots – Finishing, anticipation, technique
    43. Tries killer balls often – anticipation, technique, passing, teamwork, determination, first touch
    44. Tries long range free kicks – Strength, free kick taking, technique
    45. Tries long range passes – Flair, vision, anticipation, passing, technique, first touch
    46. Tries to play way out of trouble –  Composure, dribbling, anticipation, balance, strength
    47. Uses long throw to start counter attacks  – Strength, long throw 

You’ll have noticed I left decisions off the list, that’s because decisions and teamwork are what makes the PPM’s function. A players decision making will determine if he uses it and his teamwork attribute determines how well he works with his teammates but not only that, it can impact how he uses his PPM. If it’s low then you could find he is more selfish and uses his PPM a lot more. This can be a good and bad thing. Basically teamwork is linked to how well a player follows the instructions given to him as well as how he plays and links up with his team mates. 

Recently I’ve wrote a lot about the 4-4-2 that I’m currently using in FM15 so now I’ll focus on the PPM’s I’ve learnt my players or will be learning them eventually and explain a little about why for that set up.


The two central defenders don’t have any as I don’t feel they need any. If I did decide to teach them any at a later date it would only be the does not dive into tackles PPM. The reason being is I need them on their feet at all times and going to ground isn’t really something I want them doing if they risk bringing the oppositions player down. I need my defenders to time their tackles and not be reckless to decrease the risk of giving away pointless fouls or mistiming challenges in dangerous areas of the pitch.

With the wingbacks I use though that’s a different story. This is the left sided one;


He already had the hits free kicks with power one but I’ve added the rest. I want him to hug the line because I want him to offer me width at all times when attacking to really stretch play and to try and limit the amount of times he cuts inside. I also want to encourage him to really drive forward with the ball if he sees fit so that’s why he has run with ball often. Runs with ball down left is self explanatory.

The right sided wing back is set up a bit differently;


In front of this player I use a wide playmaker so this has influenced the PPM’s I’ve taught him as they were done with that in mind. I want him to overlap the wide playmaker so he has the gets forward whenever possible settings and he has hugs the line for the same reasons above, to be a wide outlet. He also has runs with ball rarely due me wanting him to play through the wide playmaker rather than taking the responsibility upon himself. The reason for this is the wide playmaker drifts inwards a lot and this often drags his marker with him when this happens which means this wingback has lots of space to run into to receive the ball further up the pitch.


These are the wide playmaker’s settings;


The idea behind these settings are I want him to pass rather than shoot or score. He still scores a few goals throughout a season but his main job is to play other people in who are in better positions or using space that is created near him, that’s why I game him the looks for pass and refrains from taking long shots PPM’s. I also want to encourage through balls as he will have a wingback going beyond him, a roaming playmaker at the side of him bombing forward, a deep lying forward who is hopefully in space and the other striker all of whom should be good viable options for through balls at times during the match. Finally I gave him the arrives late one as I still want him getting in dangerous positions but only once the other players are all in place, so I like this PPM as it makes the player hang back slightly.

Next up is the raumdeuter;


I don’t want him too wide here, ideally I want him between the fullback and centre back hence why he has moves into channels. He also plays closely to the deep lying forward so I’m trying to encourage the give and go type of passes so again that explains the plays one-twos PPM. When he can and the opportunity arises I want him to drive forward with the ball and really run at players as defenders hate players who run at them, it puts them on the back foot and can see them give away fouls if anything is mistimed. At the same time I don’t want him wasting an opportunity either by being a bit keen to take a long shot from range as that can be wasteful especially when I want him to drive into the space the DLF creates when he drops deep. Shooting from range just isn’t acceptable when I have created better opportunities in front of him to use and gave him passing options.

Roaming playmaker;


This one is fairly simple, I want him to drive forward and support attacks. The reason for short simple passes is he has lots of options along side of himself and in front of him, there is no need to make things complicated. Especially when he has the wide playmaker at the side of him who will be drifting into the space he creates when he drives forward.

Central midfielder;


Even though technically this player isn’t a playmaker I still want him to see a lot of the ball and dictate the tempo of the game seeing as he is the deepest player from the midfield. I also want him to collect the ball from the defence and link the midfield together. At the same time I don’t want him joining attacks or venturing too far forward. I need him to be positionally strict as I want him to act more like a defensive midfielder and take up similar positions so he is well placed to break up attacks.


The deep lying forward;


The job of my deep lying forward is to create a link by dropping back into the midfield areas. This links the midfield and attack together but also creates a bit of space for the raumdeuter to use. So again if he takes long shots then its a move/opportunity wasted. I want him to come deep in search of the ball as I want him on the ball a lot, he’s a dangerous player when he has the ball at his feet. Plays with back to goal is one of my favourite PPM’s to use for creative strikers or strikers who you expect to play other players in rather than himself. That’s not to say he doesn’t score goals, in fact my DLF has been my top scorer in the past 6 seasons but he’s also got the best assist stat too.

My complete  forward doesn’t use any PPM’s yet and I’m unlikely to give him any at this point in time. He already plays like I expected and I’m not sure giving him any PPM’s would really enhance his play.

Basically that’s it, that’s how I view and utilise players preferred moves, I hope I haven’t bored you to death with all of that 🙂

33 thoughts on “Utilising Players Preferred Moves”

  1. Wow – this was a huge surprise for me. I’d never really done very much with PPMs – and certainly nothing in a systematic way.

    You seem to view them very much as an extension of the tactics module, as a way to reinforce your tactical vision. Interesting stuff!

  2. Great post. I’ve never really looked at the PPM before, always left them to my staff and gone along with what they said unless it really didn’t seem to fit in with what I wanted. Definitely going to look at bringing these into my game more often, especially as I am still so far down the levels in my Clapton FC save that I need to develop players fast.

    Thanks Cleon.

    Follow me on Twitter:  @comeontheoviedo
    FM15 Blog:
    Author of the “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager” series 
    Read the first chapter of “The Second Season Syndrome” at

    1. I’ve been using them on my Sheffield F.C game down in the lower tiers myself. I find my players get poached far too often though at those levels which is frustrating when you’ve spent a year moulding him for a certain tactical vision 🙁

      1. Yeah, I know that pain. Days before a big cup tie I lost my best CB to a much smaller side for no real reason. Still worth giving it a go though. How do you feel about the training programmes that work on specific positions, like training someone into a shadow striker for example?


        Follow me on Twitter:  @comeontheoviedo
        FM15 Blog:
        Author of the “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager” series 
        Read the first chapter of “The Second Season Syndrome” at

        1. If you check out the Ajax project that’s on this blog you’ll see how I handle training. it basically depends on the player, sometimes I focus roles other on the attributes. That goes into a lot more depth about this though 🙂

          1. I’ll have a look mate, thanks. Check my blog out, more of the journey than how to be awesome at the game like yours, but I am enjoying writing about FM rather than the old Champ Man game as I’ve been doing for a while. new post just gone up!

  3. Really great poast as always Cleon!

    I’ve been wondering about how I could use PPMs to shape my tactic a little more and this has just about pushed me towards trying it out in a similar way to you.

    Thank you and keep up the great work.

  4. Good stuff as always

    A couple questions
    1 Do you find any different effect from PPMs that can be replicated with PIs? Do they get even more emphasized if you use a PI and PPM ( eg get forward, play short passes etc)
    2 Is the benefit worth the lack of flexibility by giving a player PPM that wouldn’t be right if you changed systems? Eg a CM with stays back
    3 I guess you also don’t then ask players to cover a couple of positions then? I think about my system where getting game time for the squad or due to injuries will mean my DLP can also cover the B2B spot

  5. 1 – A PPM is a tendency so even if he has instructions that are against his PPM he will still use his PPM when he feels its correct time to use it.

    2 – Well I only use one system but I don’t think it would be less flexible, you could surely fit the player in another system I’d have thought? I know I do after maybe 4 seasons when I’m bored of playing a certain way. The key is planning ahead I guess so you know if you’ll be able to fit him in or not.

    3 – No never. I have players in the youths/reserves who can cover other positions. Players only play 1 role for me even with injuries/suspensions.

  6. nice article, i use the same approach on PPMs, using them on a constant basis and checking attributes before getting to teach a new PPM. however, the attributes i look at for each PPM differ a little from yours. as an example, the primary attribute i look for the “dictates tempo” are teamwork, which you take into account, and decisions, which you don’t. but those are little differences, overall a really similar approach.

    1. I stated in the article that I left decisions out for all PPM’s because its important for them all, as it also dictates when a player uses them :). I didn’t see the point in adding decisions to the list for every single one hence why I mentioned it in the article 🙂

  7. Well, I know this article now goes old but I guess making questions doesn’t. So here it is: if player X has plays short simple passes as PPM and I give him short passing PI does it mean: ok, I want you to play short passes always? and if I don’t does it mean that he will do it occasionally?

    1. When a player has a PPM it means they will try that move very often. Exactly how often and frequent though depends on him mentally and what his decision making etc is.

      1. Thx for reply C. One more q: if short pass selected as a TI, is it necessary to do the same as PI? What I’m saying is, if I say: “team, I want short passing game” then I guess there is no need to select PI for every player individually. Unless ofc, I want some particular player to do different. I would like to receive some feedback on this to see whether I understand this well.

        P.S. Funny thing is that I’m playing the game like a boss (won everything) but somehow still think I’m lacking basic understanding on some things)

        1. TI’s and PI’s effects stack, so asking them to play shorter via TI and then giving the player a PI would make him pass it even shorter.

  8. And what about creative freedom? This is by far most confusing thing of them all. It was somehow easier with sliders in terms of CF, because you’ve had that option for every player. Now there’s no any. So how to do it now? The way I see it now, the more PI you have for each player the more you restrained them in their CF.

    P.S. The reason for questions is to better understand fm as a tool for exploiting my own ideas and creativity, creating my personal vision of how football should be played rather than finding the wholes in the system and learning how to beat it.

    Most annoying thing for me is to do things which are favorable by the ME itself. For example: morale. If you give your player a famous “hair dry” (Alex Ferguson way of dealing with players) then it will cause morale drop. So the main idea is not to do it because it diminish the odds for winning. But I don’t want to play like that. I want to play it like I would normally do things if I was the real manager. So if I feel that some selfish ass with excellent flair, vision, and decisions (but poor teamwork) won’t pass in crucial moment to player in CCC position I would give him hell in one-on-one chat.

    Now here’s the thing I don’t now if I managed to do this, but this ass player ended up the season as the second best assistant in my team. What I did is after every game he ended up with 0 key passes I would tell him “our strikers blah blah…”. His teamwork att went from 10 to 12 for that season. Do you think is it due my one on one chats with him???!!!

    1. That’s not how CF works at all, it has nothing to do with how many PI’s they can/can’t have. It’s how strictly they’ll stick to your instructions you’ve given them and how much you allow them to use their own judgements for things instead. The lower the CF the more likely he’ll stick to your instructions. And you still have a PI for this, for more CF you use the be more expressive shout. For less CF you use the be more disciplined shout.

      No his stats didn’t rise because of the chat.

  9. Well, I must say (don’t know if you’ll agree or not) that’s exactly what is lacking in fm. The idea of shaping your player through conversations repeating them over and over what you want, giving them instructions what is expected of them, and seeing them flourish on the pitch would be great. Not saying something like that should always be a success but the prospect of such an idea would be awesome (not because I personally want it, but because managing and teaching players functioning that way in RL).

    P.S. Almost forgot, you have some really great posts. I really enjoyed them. Just keep them coming.

  10. Thank you for writing this! Some very useful ideas

    Once you have identified that there is a particular PPM you want a player to have and you don’t have a tutor available to teach it to him, how do you decide if the player should start training it? Do you have guidelines like ‘never before 18’ or ‘only with professional personalities’ or something more based on their current ability?

    1. As PPM’s are an extension of a players personality and are traits I start developing them at the earliest possible point because it’s more beneficial to me that the player has them straight away. You might want him to learn a few or he might not learn them the first time he tries. So doing it as soon as possible it’s better long-term.

  11. I have a question … if the Assistant Coach thinks it’s a bad idea, should I still do the preferred move training? For example, coaching Everton, I have Romelu Lukaku. I want to teach him to play with his back to the goal as a False Nine. But my assistant doesn’t think he’ll be able to learn it.

      1. Great, thanks! When they say, “I can’t see it working out but we’ll give it a go,” they usually even have me convinced.

  12. Hi Cleon
    I’ve seen ppl on the forums advising not to try to teach PPMs after a certain age (25 seems to ring a bell)
    I still try to teach them if I think they will benefit the tactic/role etc.
    What’s your opinion?

    1. There is no cut off age so not sure why people say that, I’ve not seen people say that. So not sure what forums, but either way they’re wrong 🙂

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