Scouting is one of the most immersive aspects of Football Manager. With a huge range of opportunities to scout for players in Football Manager, it’s not always easy to know which scouting methods to use to track down the right players for your team, the best newgens or future wonderkids.
Today I want to give you an insight into how I scout for players in Football Manager by showcasing the different scouting methods to use when searching for players. By sharing how I approach scouting for players I want to help you become more strategic when acquiring scout reports and increasing knowledge of potential signings.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to scout for players in Football Manager!
Scouting for Players in Football Manager; Utilizing Player Search Filters & Other Utilities
What’s the best signing ever made in football? Was it Jamie Vardy’s transfer from Fleetwood to Leicester? Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s move from Molde to Manchester United? Or perhaps Sadio Mané’s transfer from Metz to RB Salzburg? Some would even claim a certain Erling Braut Haaland should be added to the mix…
Apart from being relative cheap bargains with a transfer fee below €5mill, they have all had a huge career afterwards. Still, they can’t really be compared to Mohamed Salah’s transfer from Al Mokawloon to Basel in 2012, one I would put on top of the list. Why?
At the age of 19, Mohamed Salah was spotted by Basel’s scouts at the 2011 Under-20 World Cup. They kept monitoring the player for the next nine months before eventually making a move by inviting the team he played at for a friendly match. After the match, he was invited to train with Basel for a week, before an offer was made. The rest is history.
What’s impressive is how they identified a literally unknown player by having the sensors out. In FM terms, you could practically describe him as a hidden wonderkid.
Here you had a player who couldn’t speak English or wasn’t used to the European football culture, but impressed the scouting team and sporting director enough to put faith in his raw skills, intelligence, and adaptability, despite a whole lots of other uncertainties.
Applying it into Football Manager 2021
Now, it’s time to look at how to search for players in Football Manager and which scouting methods you can use to find cheap wonderkids or future superstars, just like the players mentioned above.
Whether you’re hunting for homegrown talents or scour through the world for potential wonderkids, finding the right players for your team requires a methodical approach. Whether you want to scour the globe for the next Lionel Messi, the best newgens, future wonderkids or a top performer who can lead your club to glory, you need a system in place when searching for players.
Knowing when to use the different scouting methods and how to utilize the player search filters to your advantage will be essential in your success to identify players who fit your tactics, got five-star potential or top recommendation ratings from your scouts and analysts!
My guide on how to scout for players in Football Manager looks to help you search for players that are right for your team and your tactic, as well as being able to identify the best newgens! Here you’ll get more practical and actionable scouting tips on how to use player search filters and other relevant statistics and data, for better efficiency in your search for players.
NB! Due to its length, I’ve been forced to split the article up into different parts. In Part 1, I’ll cover the differences between general and advanced scouting focuses and the different scouting assignment methods, while in part 2 I’ll look closer into how to use statistics and metrics to find great players.
Table of Content;
- 1. Scouting Focus; Basic vs Advanced Scouting
- 2. The Different Scouting Assignment Methods
- 3. Utilizing the Player Search & its Advanced Conditions
- 4. Passion4FM’s Different Player Search Filters
- 5. Individual Scouting Trips
- 6. Scouting for Newgens using Screen Flow
- Part 2 | Scouting for players by using Statistics and Data Analytics
1. Basic vs Advanced Scouting; Specifying the Scouting Focus
Broadly speaking, scouting for players in Football Manager can be divided into two different scouting methods; a basic method and an advanced method.
With a basic method, you let your chief scout or director of football handle it and you’re left with the ability to set up general scouting focuses with its long-term and short-term scouting activities.
Advanced methods let you handle the tasks of scouting yourself, using all the scouting hacks and tips at your disposal to benefit your management by immersing yourself into the player search using filters and setting up specific conditions. The result is that you can immerse yourself in all scouting affairs on a different level than before. It can be a time-consuming affair where your focus is on setting up scouting assignments, browse through hundreds of scout reports, and utilize your scouting network to the greatest effect possible.
In the following guide, I’ll show you the difference between the basic and more advanced scouting methods. Actually, most of this guide will concern advanced methods which enable you to find the right player for your team and the options at hand to identify suitable targets.
Let us take a closer look at the different ways of searching for players by starting with the general scouting focus.
1.1 General Scouting Focus
When we talk about the general scouting focus we can split them up into long-term focuses which sends out the scouting team on ongoing scouting assignments, and short-term scouting missions that last for a limited period. What you’ll select depends on your needs, and the situation of your club.
The general scouting focus asks your scouting team to attend matches to look for specific types of players you specify when setting up the focus.
The matches they attend depends on the fixture list in the area the scout is or specific assignments decided by the Chief Scout.
If the Chief Scout has not set up any specific scouting assignments, or you haven’t decided on a particular scouting scope, they will attend matches within the permitted scouting range. It’s a fairly generalized approach where the scouts and analysts will look for players who suit your tactics and its formation.
Basically, you’ll tell the scouts to look for players for any position and role within your tactical system by clicking Set Focus without specifying positions and roles to look for.
The result is lots of recommendations about players within your scouting range. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with a bunch of players within your Football Manager save rather quickly, despite many of them not fitting your tactics perfectly. You will then need to scout each player more thoroughly in order to see if they are a great fit for your team.
I would recommend using this scouting focus in the first month of a save where you got little to no prior knowledge of players within your nation and region. For instance, when starting a new save in the Slovenian second division or Italian Serie D to familiarize yourself with homegrown players within that nation or the nearby divisions.
This rather general scouting focus could be used in conjunction with other short-term scouting focuses and more advanced player search activities that I’ll discuss further later on.
1.1.1 The Types of Conditions
Creating these ongoing assignments will let you select from a few simple, but generic conditions. These default conditions are;
Fits Tactic: You can instruct your scouts to find players who fit any of the tactics added to the three slots within Tactics. Simply click the drop-down arrow and choose from your primary trained tactic, second or third system. All depending on whether you’re looking for the perfect attacking midfielder for your 3-4-1-2 system or a playmaker for your 4-3-3 Tiki-Taka.
Availability: let you sort player’s by whether they are immediately available, typically or all – which finds players regardless of their availability status.
Age: will filter players according to an age range. It allows you to follow the club’s overall transfer policy and recruitment philosophy. You can even specify to the scout that you’re more interested in young players, more experienced players or players in their prime by setting a narrower age range. For instance, scouting for players between the age of 23 to 28 to find players that can make a sudden impact on your team.
Based: let you set the scope of the assignment according to where players are based, whether you like to restrict scouting to a particular nation, region, competition, or continent, according to what’s permitted in the scouting range. If you’re managing in the Hungarian second division you might be restricted to scout players based in the divisions around you, the nation of Hungary or the region of Eastern Europe, depending on what’s allowed.
Adding conditions will let you better specify the type of player you’re after, their ‘Availability’ and Age along with a few restrictions on the scout to find players who fit your Club Visions (signings) and the scope of their assignment. Selecting a specific nation or region to find players according to where they are based will let the scouts focus their attention on a specific area. Despite you’re able to select multiple nations or regions, I tend to leave it to the permitted scouting range.
1.2 Short-Term Scouting Focuses
A more strategic variant is to prioritize scouting for players for a certain position and/or role, according to positions you lack depth in or want to improve the standard of. This takes into account you’ve conducted a squad analysis and identified weaknesses within the team, or positions you want to strengthen.
This short-term scouting focus is enabled whenever you click a position in the selected tactic, that’s part of the scouting focus screen. By selecting a specific position within your system, additional conditions will be enabled. In fact, the screen will resemble the screen you might have become used to at the Recruitment Meetings.
Now, you will be able to instruct scouts to find players who fit specific conditions of your interest. From players who are suited to play in a specific role to specific player types. You might even favor recruiting players according to your club visions or instruct your scout to identify players of a specific minimum current or potential ability, that’s available as soon as possible.
Along with providing your scouts with specific directions on types of players to look for, you can ask your Analyst to look for players who fit specific conditions relating to statistics and metrics. You can, for instance, ask your scout to look for a new Mezzala in your 3-4-1-2 gegenpress system whilst the analyst team will focus their attention on key passes per 90 minutes and assists per game- in order to find a creative midfielder that’s capable of creating chances for the forwards.
1.3 Scouting Duration & Priority
Setting up these types of short-term scouting focuses will not only let you focus on specific positions and player roles the player must be suitable to play in, but also giving you the ability to set the duration of the scouting focus and its priority.
With the option to set the duration from 1 week to 3 months, you will decide how long the scouting assignment should take. A shorter scouting focus will more likely miss out on lots of great targets as the scout will have less time to acquire scout reports. Such urgent scouting focus will traditionally deliver fewer reports and should only be used when you’re in desperate need of strengthening (e.g. when looking for a backup player or free agents who can come in and do a momentary job. On the contrary, a longer scouting trip will help to get the scout familiar within the region/nation and deliver more reports, but the scouting cost will naturally increase.
If I should scout for players I would set the duration to 1 month or higher. This gives the scout time to carefully look for players according to my condition and attend more matches to identify players with the highest scout ratings.
The priority of the scouting focus will basically affect how many scouts that will conduct these assignments. A higher priority will send out a minimum of three scouts on missions. With normal, you’ll send out two scouts, while a low priority will send out only one scout. Actually, that depends on how many scouts you got available within the Scouting Team. If you got a limited scouting team and you set up a high-priority scouting focus, you will practically send out all scouts on missions – meaning you don’t have any other scouts to do additional short-term missions.
1.4 Scouting for Player Types
Along with setting up short-term scouting focuses, Football Manager gives you the ability to scout per player role and include a specific player type along with the other different conditions.
By scouting for certain player styles you will prioritize the focus on specific attributes along with position and role suitability. Putting attention to a player’s style of play can be a great way of building the most balanced team possible in addition to scouting for players that are best suited for the requirements of the tactical instructions, and what you want out of the player in that position. In reality, you’ll take into account his primary duties and overall instructions within the team when looking for specific types of players.
Looking for specific types of players will prioritize a limited amount of attributes compared to scouting for a particular role. This approach is great if you enjoy being tactical versatile and not restrict yourself to particular player roles for all your systems. Or, you might want to complement the midfield area with a creative player next to an intelligent and physical one.
In Football Manager there are eight different player styles, three specific for goalkeepers and five for outfield players. The primary attribute which affects the player style label depends on their position/role. A player’s style of play may give you some hints about how he fits into your team; whether he is better suited for a ball-winning role, a creative outlet, or whether he’s more suited to use his mental attributes or physic to affect the game.
NB! Do remember that a player’s style is just a label given by the scout according to his opinion about the player’s style of play in regard to the weight of player attributes.
Goalkeeper Player Styles:
Assertive – These goalkeepers will tend to be more proactive in their play by coming off their lines and gathering crosses as well as taking opportunities to intercept opposition through balls.
Key attributes: Rushing Out, Aerial Reach and Jumping Reach
Distributor – Whether you favor to play out from the back or launch a quick counter-attack by distributiong long, a great Distributor will be of highest value.
Key Attributes: Kicking, Passing and/or Throwing
Shot Stopper – One of the most important aspects of the goalkeeper role is to be able to keep clean sheets and save shots. A Shot stopper will be able to perform full-length saves to tip the ball around the post or react quickly to unpredictable events by doing the unexpected.
Key Attributes: Reflexes, Eccentricity and/or Handling
Outfield Player Styles:
Technical – Technical players will excel when the team is in possession of the ball. By being comfortable with the ball at their feet they will provide the foundation for everything the team does in possession, either it’s using their technical skills to create chances or retain possession to get out of pressurized situations. They are adept at keeping things defensively secure by being able to play out of defence without getting stressed.
Key attributes: Technique, First Touch and Dribbling
Physical – Physical players can be the driving engine of your team. These players will never be running out of energy. They will always be competitive and challenge for possession by being a strong physical presence that can aid your team in a number of situations. Whether it’s holding up the ball, covering larger areas, or win aerial battles, a player with raw physical attributes can compensate for a number of other shortcomings. In fact, he can be a presence all by himself. When combined with technique, creativity or intelligence, a more rounded and impressive player will emerge.
Key Attributes: Strength, Natural Fitness and/or Stamina
Wide Players: Work Rate and/or Acceleration and Pace
Intelligent – Nothing is as important in football as a player who is capable of making the right decision time and time again, despite being put under pressure. An intelligent player is able to out-think opponents by reading the game and consider how the situation may unfold to be at the right place at the right time. Couple that with his abilities in possession to go about his business without seeming to rush it, will make him into a star player within your team.
Key Attributes: Decisions and Anticipation
Attacking Midfielders: Off the ball and Teamwork
Defensive unit: Positioning
Attacking unit: Off the ball
Creative – Having players who can produce chances out of basically nothing will be integral to a team’s chances of success. These creative-minded individuals are worth their weight in gold as they are able to open the opposite defensive block by spotting potential openings or use his unpredictability to destabilize their defensive organization. A creative player may need technical abilities to create chances as well.
Key Attributes: Vision, Flair and/or Passing
Leader – Whether things are going well or not, you want to be able to turn to strong characters in the team, whether it’s to maintain a strong run of performances or to help turn things around. Strong leaders will have the character to hold the responsibilities and expectations on his shoulders and can be relied upon to consistently perform when it matters the most.
Key Attributes: Determination, Leadership and Positive Personality (Determined, Driven, Professional, Resolute)
These player styles are provided within Football Manager as templates. Scouting for specific player styles is available as an additional condition in player search. You can find it at;
Player Search > Edit Search > Add Condition > Scouting > Scout’s opinion of this player’s player style. From here, you can specify the position, age or combine the template with other highlighted attributes of your interest, if you want to filter your search results even further.
2. The Different Scouting Assignments Methods to Select From
A better approach to scouting in Football Manager is to handle scouting yourself and take responsibilities for setting up scouting assignments and assigning scouts out on missions yourself. It can be a time-consuming process but the end reward is greater than the sacrifice by being methodical. Simply put, it gives you endless possibilities to scout for players that fit your tactic.
Even though I will talk about how I set up my scouting assignments in an upcoming guide, I’ll discuss the different opportunities, features and scouting methods to choose from when creating assignments. So continue reading to learn more.
2.1 Setting up Scouting Assignments without being responsible for assigning scouts
Did you know you can still create scouting assignments despite not being responsible for assigning scouts?! Yes, that’s right! You can still take advantage of some of the more advanced scouting methods despite not being totally under the control of scouting and/or recruiting. I know it somehow contradicts myself, but I feel it’s important to share this approach to scouting, as it will definitely come in handy whilst using a general focus.
How to do it?
Earlier I talked about the importance of analyzing your squad to identify positions you may lack depth in. In my Benfica save, I suddenly lost Alex Grimaldo with a broken leg. Suddenly one of my most creative players (leading the assist chart in my team) was out for nearly the rest of the season. I needed to get a better picture of which players able to play in the left wingback role and whether I need to delve into the transfer market. By heading to the Squad Depth and clicking on the Defenders (Left) I got a better picture. With Nuno Tavares injured as well, and Thierry Correia, my right wingback the only player left, it becomes clear I need to find a replacement for Grimaldo, either via loan or transfer.
From here I can click the Scout button which enables me to set up a scouting assignment despite not being in charge of assigning scouts. This will open up a similar ‘Create assignment’ screen as if you were in charge of scouting yourself. You can then assign the particular scout you want to use, the scope, duration, and specifying attributes of your preference if you wish to do so.
P.S. This option to set up scouting assignments directly from the Squad Depth screen is also available when you’re in charge of assigning scouts.
You can learn more about what the different areas within creating scouting assignments means here.
2.2 Scouting for specific roles
Scouting for specific player roles ensures you find players that perfectly fit your tactics. It can be a great way to identify players with the right attributes and positional abilities to perform in a specific player role. The scout will then prioritize looking for players with attributes important for that role. All key attributes and other preferable attributes will then be taken into account.
For the wing-back role, the scout will focus his attention on 19(!) player attributes, whilst scouting for a poacher will put attention to 10 attributes – both primary and secondary attributes are weighted equally. This will provide you with a more limited amount of players, but where all are perfectly suited to play in the wingback role and DL position, or ST position and poacher role.
What’s important to clarify in this case is that the scout will simply look for players with those attributes according to your condition.
2.3 How to use the ‘Find Similar Players’ to identify future world-class players?
Whether you are trying to build a competitive squad or improve the squad depth there are several different ways to approach this. One neat Football Manager feature is the ability to find a similar player as any other in the database by taking into account his most recognizable skills. The find similar players opportunity will take into account a player’s positional abilities, best role suitability, and significant player attributes.
In fact, there are two different directions to take when trying to find a similar player to another. We can divide it up by finding similar players to player’s within your team or other players outside your club. The main difference is that you utilize the player search for the first method, while you set up a scouting assignment for the latter.
A. Find Similar Players with ‘Player Search’
In the case of finding Alex Grimaldo’s successor, a more suitable approach may be to use the feature of finding similar players to him.
To conduct a player search to identify players with a similar profile to Alex Grimaldo and his skills, I need to go to his player profile and move my mouse cursor over ‘Comparison‘. This opens up a drop-down menu where I can find similar players to him. The search filter will include his position and best role suitability in addition to key attributes that are significant within his profile. In the case of Grimaldo, the filter will put attention to Technique, First touch, Composure, Passing and Bravery, setting the minimum attributes to approximately the same level as his highest levels.
Conducting such a player search is great when you want to replace an aging player who is close to retirement or when one of your star players might leave in the near future, as you can find a player with a similar profile, both in terms of skills and overall abilities, but also in regard to similar traits and mentalities, if adding additional general conditions.
Note! When using this feature, the attributes highlighted may not take into account necessary player attributes for the role or his duties. For instance, I might wish to put more emphasis on his off the ball and crossing than bravery.
B) Find Similar Players To X
What if you want to build a team of a cheaper variant of some of the best players in Football Manager? Then the ‘Find Similar Player To‘ can be a valuable feature to take advantage of. When you create a new assignment you can quickly search for any player within the database. Perhaps you want to identify a cheaper version of Mohamed Salah or look for an identical player as Cristiano Ronaldo before he retires.
By carefully putting together a team with some of the similar skills of the best players in Football Manager 2021 you can create your own golden generation, just by focuses on cheaper variants in a similar mould.
Simply type in the player name you want to use as a foundation for your search. In my example, I will look for a similar player as Jordi Alba. His key attributes will be specified automatically, so basically there’s nothing I need to do apart from selecting the scout to take the mission and set the duration.
If you should look to find a cheaper version of Jordi Alba, or a future world-class player, I would lower the attribute values to a more appropriate level that fits the playing level or likely attribute threshold for that age group I’m looking for. In this case, I would reduce the attribute values from greater than or equal to 15, to 11. This ensures that great prospects will pop up.
Then, add an additional condition of looking for players that are 23 years or younger, or in FM terms; Age is at most 23.
To limit the number of results, you can include ‘Scouted Potential Ability‘ and set it to at least ‘Very Good’. This equals a three-and-a-half star potential ability rating.
If the case was that I wanted to look for youngsters and newgens, then I would set the age range between 15-18 and determined the attribute values to greater than 8. I would also limit the number of attributes taken into account focusing on key attributes for the position / role but that’s another story.
When setting up these types of scouting assignments you would like to select a scout with the highest Judging Player Potential. If you should look for a player above the age of 21, I would select Scouted Current Ability and select the scout with great Judging Player Ability and higher levels of JPP (e.g. at least 15 JPA and JPP).
NB! If you possess a squad of mostly average players you might want to increase the threshold to ‘Superb’.
2.4 Scouting by Specific Attributes
One of the main purposes of scouting is to find players that fit your tactic and football philosophy. Football Manager gives you the opportunity to specify attributes the scouts should emphasize out on assignments regardless of position, role or duty.
This method can be advantageous if you got a specific way of playing that you’d like to incorporate in the club, a specific type of players you target in your transfer policy or you’re playing style requires some specific traits and skills for all your players despite positional unit. Learn more about how to incorporate a club DNA statement and a certain football philosophy here.
In the following chapter, I’ll talk about some of the different ways of targetting specific attributes to find appropriate players.
PS! No matter how large your scouting network is, it’s nearly impossible to use their resources to scout for each individual player role of your tactics. Instead, it’s more beneficial and efficient to scout by specific attributes by using the player search feature. Here I’m talking about setting up or import search filters. More about this in chapter 3.
2.4.1 Favorable Attributes to the Match Engine
There is nothing as complicated to understand as the Football Manager match engine. With lots of factors that affect a player’s performance, it is difficult to precisely describe what matters the most. When we know certain player attributes are affected by each other to determine the end result it may be difficult to isolate player performances in the match engine into a few favorable attributes.
Still, this is what I’ll hereby try to do.
By looking at the best players in Football Manager, their level of attributes, and where they excel, I can describe some tendencies. On the other hand, I can also look at the demands of modern football to determine some important attributes for today’s crop of talents.
These favorable attributes are:
Acceleration (and pace)
Positioning – Defensive Players
Off the ball – Attacking Players
Apart from these key attributes within the match engine you might throw Work Rate and Stamina in the mix, as well as Vision.
You can learn more about the different player attributes, how they relate to each other, and which hidden attributes that exists in Football Manager in this guide.
2.4.2 Club DNA
If you want to make a mark on your club with a certain football philosophy and club DNA, you need players with the right qualities and characteristics. One way to conduct scouting is by searching for attributes relative to an overall club DNA or football philosophy.
The idea is basically simple. By looking at the club from a holistic approach, you target the recruitment of players to specific traits important with your tactics. In reality, you summarize your playing style and football philosophy into certain attributes that relate to its main features. You basically reduce the characteristics of your squad into a few necessary attributes that fit your overall ideology, regardless of their playing position and/or specific tactical instructions.
In this case, it may be a matter of focusing on a few player characteristics and mentalities in relation to specific hidden attributes and personalities that suit your style of play. Since you’re unable to use hidden attributes as a condition when setting up assignments we need to consider key attributes for the tactical style and then carefully examine scout reports and recommendations to consider ‘favorable’ hidden attributes and personality traits. Let me explain with a few examples.
For instance, if you’re replicating the football philosophy of Total Football or positional play, you may wish to target players with attributes of;
- Versatility (Hidden Attributes)
- ‘Off the ball Movement’
In regard to a specific player type, you’d like intelligent and technically gifted players.
Scouting for versatile players:
One way to set up an assignment for versatile players is to search for players who are capable of playing in multiple positions like illustrated in this image:
With Chile and Argentine, Marcelo Bielsa’s way of playing and vision about the game has made a major influence on the modern managers within the game. His 3-3-1-3 system and way of taking advantage of the transitions between attack and defence and how he aims to create positional superiority on the football pitch is something to admire. With his attacking-possession tactics and ideas about pressing, creating space and overloads played at a high tempo with much intensity, Bielsa-ball requires a lot of the players.
To summarize the Bielsa-ball club DNA, these attributes and skills are favored:
- Work Rate
- Off the ball
2.4.3 Tactical Style
Another method just as good as looking at key attributes related to your club DNA is to magnify the importance of a few attributes relating to the tactical style you’re adopting.
Whenever you create a tactic in Football Manager you can summarize your football philosophy into a few key attributes that aim to describe the club DNA, just like the two examples I’ve shown above. Another way of looking at key attributes for your playing style is to relate it to the different tactical styles in Football Manager.
In Football Manager 2021, there are 10 different tactical styles to choose from. All with different team instructions added by default. For some of them, the focus and how they want to approach the game are quite similar. For instance, the tactical style of control possession will require most of the same player attributes as Tiki-Taka, it’s just a difference in the use of tempo, risk-taking and creative freedom. Basically, we can divide it up into four different types of tactical styles: Possession, counter-attacking, defensive football (e.g parking the bus or Catenaccio), and route one.
Here’s my overview of key attributes for the different types of tactical styles.
Counter-attacking / Gegenpressing
– Off the ball
– Acceleration / Pace
– Work Rate
Catenaccio / Parking the bus
– Off the ball
– Acceleration / Pace
– Work Rate
You can use this information to create a spreadsheet of your squad and tactical DNA, or a custom view to find players that suit your tactics and football philosophy, or simply download JT’s FM21 player roles spreadsheet which is good for analyzing your squad or recruit appropriate players for your Club DNA.
2.5 Specifying Attribute Values
What you want to do when setting up scouting assignments that focus on specific attributes is to specify the minimum values. By highlighting the attributes of preference and clicking on the ‘Specify Attribute Values’ you can instruct the scouts to prioritize their focus on a few important areas of the game according to the football philosophy.
The scouts will then look for attributes equal to or greater than the value you set. To find players suitable for your playing level it might be an idea to set the value to approximately the average number within your squad, or the highest average within the league.
A great way to find this average value of attributes is to carefully examine the:
Team Report > Analyst Report > Comparison
Then you can browse the average attribute level for positions, or assess your squad’s average attribute levels in regard to Physical, Mental or Technical levels. This information will also be revealed in Jamie Taylor’s FM21 spreadsheet.
2.6 Scouting for Newgens – Specific Assignments
In the last scouting guide I published, I shared with you the different nations’ youth intake dates in Footbal Manager. Knowing when the newgens appear in FM is highly beneficial. It lets you set up the specific assignments, whether you want to focus on a specific nation or region, at certain intervals throughout the season.
For instance, since we know English clubs will start producing newgens from the middle of March and for the next four weeks we can set up a scouting assignment a week earlier to look for the future wonderkids.
2.6.1 How the Newgens Assignment might look?
By using a pretty simple scouting technique you can ask your scouts to go on assignment to find the best newgens. Since we know most of the newgens will arrive at the age of 15 years old, I filter the age by players who are 16 or younger, but you can also set it to 17 to catch some hidden talents that got great potential. Then I add the condition ‘Scouted Potential Ability’ and set it to at least Very Good.
Actually, the minimum Potential Ability depends on your squad and how good players you got. Since the star rating of CA and PA takes into account the average ability level for that position, you might want to lower the condition to Good or Fairly Good.
By setting it at Very Good, I ensure the scouts will only recommend and find the best newgens that have arrived. Whether they will fit my transfer budget and tactics is not something I’ll take into account at this point.
PS. A similar search filter is also made with player’s World Reputation added as a condition. In my filter, I look for Under-16 players with a higher reputation than Nominal. Since the Wonderkids term depends on a player’s level of Reputation and Current Ability, using World Reputation as a condition to track down the best newgens arriving from youth intakes is clever!
If you don’t want to limit the search result by using reputation, you can simply untick it.
2.6.2 Scouting for Newgens with great Ginga Ratings
Last year, Mikaelinho introduced me to the Ginga. In his ‘Santástico’ story where he aimed to produce the next Neymar he used a mix of attributes to find and develop Brazilian wonderkids with the Ginga ratings.
In plain terms, he looked for players with great Flair, Technique and Agility to find creative players who can unlock the opposition defense by being highly unpredictable and incredible with the ball at their feet. If you’re on the hunt for great creative outlets, most often attacking midfielders or inside forwards, who can use their creativity to create chances and goals just like Pele or Neymar, here’s an example of a scouting assignment to set up:
The Ginga Scouting Assignment takes into account the player attributes: Dribbling, Technique, Flair, Acceleration and Agility in addition to Age of 18 or less and Scouted Potential Ability ‘Very Good’. This assignment is recommended to use to look for South American newgens. This means that you’d like to schedule it for around the 8th of September with a duration of 3 months, since Brazil starts their youth intake 22nd of September whilst Argentina has theirs 18th of October.
If you should create a similar player search filter which tracks down Under-18 talents with high Ginga ratings, it could look like this:
3. Utilizing the Player Search & its Advanced Conditions
Scouting in Football Manager can frankly be split into two different areas. On one hand, you got the opportunity to set up scouting assignments to identify suitable signings. On the other hand, you got the player search and its utilities.
At the Player Search section, you can scout for all players within the database relevant to your Recruitment Package using search filters and advanced conditions similar to what you would do when setting up scouting assignments.
It let me find players that are perfect for my system without having to wait on scouting assignments to be finished, as well as not wasting resources and time to find a handful of players.
The number of players featured in the Players Found section is determined by the selected Recruitment Package and database size. It gives you a great way to quickly search for players throughout the world using filters and other conditions to find players that match your criteria.
3.1 Filtering by Player Availability
Football Manager enables you to filter the search result by players interested in a future move to your club; whether it’s a Transfer or a Loan. This is a great way to limit the search result by focusing on those who might like to join you, either immediately or in the future.
Who is interested may depend on;
- – the level of your league
- – your recent performance and current league position
- – the club’s reputation
- – your reputation within the world as the manager
- – player unhappiness or future plans
- – Favoured club or personnel
The higher reputation and the better performance within the league, the better players will be interested in joining your club. Whether you can afford to buy them or not, is a totally different matter!
The ‘Interested In’ tab gives you the chance to search for player’s similar to setting up short or long-term scouting assignments. If you’re in dire need of new signings ticking the Interested In Transfer (or loan) may be advantageous. Whether you tick Transfer or Loan will depend on your financial situation and your needs. Perhaps you simply would like to look for a short-term signing by looking for every player within the database that’s available for loan – either he’s put on the Transfer List, Loan List or wanted by other teams.
3.2 Quick Searches
Football Manager also comes with a number of default search conditions that enable you to find players in a special ‘situation’ more easily. The ‘Quick Search’ section lets you take advantage of some preset conditions. You’re able to select from a few but handy filters relating to both players ‘Availability’ and ‘Status’ relating to where they have been produced, their current transfer situation and happiness as well as which positional unit they belong to.
In short, the quick searches gives you the ability to find players who are;
- – Transfer Listed
- – Loan Listed
- – Contract Expired
- – Contract Expiring
- – Home Grown Players (Players trained in the same nation as your club)
- – Unhappy (Player’s General happiness )
- – All Players By Positional Unit (Goalkeepers, Defenders, Midfielders, Attackers)
- – Full Knowledge (e.g. players with 100% scouting knowledge)
All these come with the eligibility to edit the search result by modifying the condition even further. For instance, in regard to the Contract Expiring, you’ll able to search for players that have their contract expiring in the next months (1, 3, 6 or 12 months. In fact, you’ll have a number of contract statuses available to select from once the condition is set.
Similarly, you can use the ‘Full Knowledge’ and decrease the threshold to players with over 75% scouting knowledge instead of only taking into account only the players with full knowledge.
3.3 Additional Conditions
My approach to scouting in Football Manager tends to surround utilizing the player search by using specific search filters and adding additional conditions to filter players within the database. It’s a question of specificity for me. By using a mix of additional conditions and basic search terms I can find specific types of players quicker and more effectively than setting up a scouting assignment. I also save resources and money by searching for players that I could ask my scouts to look closer at, instead of roaming regions or nations for a specific type of player.
In Football Manager 2021, there are thirteen different types of conditions – everyone with additional conditions underneath each section. Instead of looking closer at all the different additional conditions, I’d like to share the ones I find most valuable to use. The most useful ones and which I tend to use the most are;
- Club: Player’s based in a specific Nation or Division.
- Contract: let you look for players according to specific contract information or with specific release clauses like ‘Contract Expiry’, Wages and ‘Minimum Fee Release Clause’.
- General: includes more basic information about the player such as Personality, Nation of Birth, Player Traits, Preferred Foot, Second Nationality and World Reputation.
- International: focus on appearances and goals for the National Team, whether it’s from the Seniors or the Juniors (U21, U18).
- Scouting: let you sort players according to the current knowledge the scout has over the players within the database. Sorting players with a minimum Ability or Potential alongside ‘Scout’s opinion of this player’s player style, minimum asking price or best tactical role and position can be one way to find suitable players for your tactics.
- General Stats: includes information about the player’s career and other general statistics and data gathered throughout the season. Here you’ll find the ability to search for players according to goals scored, assists recorded, xG and average ratings, alongside other important team and player data that helps you distinguish a mediocre player from a great performer.
- Stats (Chalkboard): goes deeper into the matter by looking closer at individual player statistics concerning how he performs in possession, for example with the ball at his feet; crossing, shooting, dribbling or passing, or out of possession. For instance, when it comes to aerial challenges, tackles, interceptions and saves (GK only). Additionally, you’ll find stats about movements and other mistakes he’s made on the pitch.
- Transfers: let you search for players with Asking Price or Work Permit chances and requirements which is more useful to English clubs after the Brexit.
In order to take a methodical approach to scouting, you need to mix and match different conditions to find the right players for the position and roles. In the following chapter, I’ll share and explain my different player search filters and scouting methods relating to utilizing the player search feature in FM.
4. Passion4FM’s Different Player Search Filters
To help you find great players in Football Manager, the best newgens, future wonderkids or cheap players who can add depth to your squad, an approach to scouting is to take advantage of a number of player search filters. This approach to scouting means limiting the pool of players found within the player search section and then ask scouts to go on individual scouting trips to gain full knowledge about him.
Whenever I use these search filters I tend to analyze the player’s skills using custom views featuring additional information and statistical data that might help me to judge his ability and potential even further, before deciding to scout the player even further by asking a scout to acquire full knowledge about him.
The information important for me to assess whilst browsing the player search list is information concerning his age, level of ability (e.g. player attributes levels), suitability for the position and/or player role, contract status and transfer cost, and his level of performance. Secondly might world reputation, media description and past career history be interesting.
NB! The following player search filters described below could also be used as scouting assignments but instead of sharing the same method twice, I’ve decided to cover them only once, in this section.
One way to keep tabs on emerging newgens and potential future wonderkids is by looking for under-18 talents who have received their international debut for the Under-19s (or U20s). Scouting these potential wonderkids can be a great way to spot incredible talents who can be sold with lots of profit in 5 years’ time.
4.2 More Advanced Search Filters
Finding Players In Form
Some players in Football Manager just have the little extra to perform at the highest level week in and week out. Tracking players who are in form and who perform great can let you find players who can take your club to the next level.
My method in searching for players in form looks to sort by players Average rating in the last 5 First-Team Matches along with Morale. Adding the Average Rating over the Last 5 Games in your search view will help you to compare the player’s performances. In fact, my new Basic Skills search view can help you to analyze players before acquiring further scout reports.
Best Performers Newgens
It’s not only great players that can be found by using a mix of Average Ratings over the Last 5 Games and other statistics like goals and assists. Since Central Europe and clubs within the top 6 leagues is a powerhouse in producing the best newgens it’s only natural to keep tabs on Under-17 talents who perform greatly. My search filter includes players under the age of 17 from Spanish La Liga, Portuguese Liga Nos, German Bundesliga, English Premier League, French Ligue 1 and Dutch Eredivisie. A similar search filter could be used to track down players within your own region or at your own level by selecting leagues with a similar reputation as yours. Also, you might want to create a similar filter for players within South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay).
These are just a few examples of more advanced search filters. In part 2 I’ll examine additional scouting methods that take into account assessing statistics and data to find great players for your team. Stay tuned for the upcoming guide!
5. Individual Scouting Trips
Once you’ve found a player you’re interested in, it’s time to find out whether he fit your tactics and playing style and whether he’s a great player to sign. To increase the knowledge of the player and reveal more of his strengths and weaknesses you need to assign a scout on an individual scouting trip. All these individual trips come with a scouting cost relating to expenditures for the travel and accommodation.
Acquiring Scout Reports
There are different ways to generate a scout report of the player:
- 1. Click ‘Scout Player’ in the Player Profile. The scout will then fulfill the task according to his scouting responsibilities set in
Staff > Responsibilities > Scouting > When you scout a player, watch him for:, or what’s set in the Scouting Centre under Preferences. Personally, I have set this to 1 week just to get a brief knowledge of the player. I can then decide what to do with him once the preliminary report has arrived – whether I watch him until Full Knowledge, watch him for 2 to three matches or track him for another month. This is all up to my interest level and how much faith I got in his abilities.
- 2. Click ‘Get Scout Report’. This button is found in the player’s profile under the Reports tab, or by right-clicking the mouse button on a player and move the cursor over Report which gives you a number of options along with acquiring a Scout Report.
- 3. Assign a specific scout to watch the player for a specific time period, for a number of matches, or until full knowledge. Watching a player in matches will generate a viewable Highlight Package where you get the chance to assess his performances. This highlight package can be found at
Reports > Scout Reportalong with a Scouting Team Verdict that may help to decide what to do with the player next.
Why you should increase knowledge level?
The main objectives of scouting players are to increase their knowledge level. With minimal knowledge level the attributes are not specified but displayed in attribute ranges (e.g passing 8-16), or not viewable at all. This is the case if you have Attribute Masking turned on and with little scouting knowledge of a certain country or region.
Which areas within a player’s profile that become visible by improving the knowledge level is something I’ve written about before, but to summarize the most important areas to assess to determine whether the player is a great signing or not, are;
– Ability level (and Potential ability level) incl. Player Traits
– Positional Abilities (including the Hidden Attribute Versatility)
– Player Attributes relevant for position and role, and in the end on-pitch player performance
– Hidden Attributes (which can positively or negatively affect player performance and team morale in matches)
– Transfer Cost (Asking Price, Wage Demands and other Clauses)
– Injury Susceptibility incl. recurring injuries
Hiring a scout from the country you want to scout in automatically leads to increased knowledge of players from that country.
Apart from acquiring a scout report, you can also get more knowledge about the player by offering a trial to assess the player further, play matches against the opponent or attend a match personally. Acquiring players on trial, such as young newgens can be a great way to familiarize yourself with their overall abilities, strength and weaknesses, fast without any additional expenditures, such as scouting costs, comes in.
How long does it take to get full knowledge of a player’s abilities?
How long it takes to get full knowledge of a player’s abilities depends. It depends on how much you knew about him before – his starting knowledge level and which type of individual scouting trip you undertake. Every time you request a scout report on a player it will unlock a little more information about him – making his profile more and more detailed.
To make more informed decisions it’s wise to gain as much knowledge about the player as possible. Typically, it takes 3 to 4 full matches to gain 100% knowledge of a player. This means that it can take up to a month before you get a full understanding of a player’s abilities. Add in the scouting cost and the time factor before a complete report is ready for you and couple it to your needs to get a comprehensive knowledge of a certain player to decide whether it’s smart to keep scouting the player or discard your interest by removing the player off of your shortlist or scouting priorities list.
You can always keep an eye on the scouting process and the knowledge level of a player. I always have the knowledge level visible in my custom view in Shortlists and in Player Search. In a player’s profile, there’s also a tracker on the top of the Reports overview screen, which shows the current knowledge level and areas yet to assess.
The last areas a scout normally assesses concerns Hidden Attributes, such as Adaptability, Consistency, Important Matches and Injury Proneness, along with Competitive Streak, Happiness and Pre-Transfer Promises.
This means that you can perfectly move ahead with a transfer despite the knowledge level is below 100%. At 75% knowledge, the only thing missing within the player profile is information about his contracts, such as bonuses and clauses, long-term plans and Player Traits. Actually, you’ll need to balance the risk and reward of gaining comprehensive knowledge with the activities in the transfer market.
Sometimes, it may pay off to take a risk and make a move on the player early.
Which Scouts to Send out?
Whenever you have a player in your sight, or you wish to learn more about his weaknesses and strength it’s important to have a system in place to acquire that scout report. If you should simply click the ‘Scout Player’ or ‘Get Scout Report’ it will randomly select a scout within your Scouting Team. Once a scout is available he will go on an individual scouting trip to watch the player. These players on the waiting list to be watched will appear and be added to the Scouting Priorities list. This means that the more players you want to get a scout report of, the longer the waiting time.
To acquire these reports quicker I have set up my scouting network wisely. I have one to three scouts who just focus on scouting individual players. One scout will address scouting players over the age of 23 – meaning he has great levels of Judging Player Ability (above 15 for top clubs), and one to two, depending on my club vision and the size of my scouting team, who focus on players under the age of 23 – meaning they have great levels in Judging Player Potential. These two scouts will often have the final say in all matters relating to scouting players. I have confidence in their abilities to deliver accurate reports and the scout recommendation they provide.
Letting one scout be in charge of delivering reports of hundreds of players can be a time-consuming process. This is why I tend to take advantage of scouts who are assigned to a nation or region where the player is based to deliver the preliminary reports. By assigning a scout based in the same region as the player I’m interested in, I can increase the knowledge of several players quicker.
For instance, Mehdi Zerkane, an Algerian 21 yo attacking midfielder playing for Bordeaux has caught my interest. 6 goals and 12 assists in 27 appearances might make him a great replacement for an aging Pizzi. The scout, Mikaël Hanouna, is the one within the Scouting team who is responsible for scouting France. To learn more about Zerkane’s abilities I assign Hanouna to watch the player over 2 matches. This ensures I get close to full knowledge of his abilities as quickly as possible.
6. Scouting for Newgens using Screen Flow
Screen flow is one of the advanced scouting methods. Basically, it’s a news screen which lets you get automatically information about certain competitions of your interest as they happen! You’ll be able to tailor the news item according to your preferences, whether you like to get statistics about teams or players.
With the ability to select from every competition around the globe, it’s a great source for tracking down hidden wonderkids and potential top performers without having to add any more workload to your scouts by setting up additional assignments. Instead, you can focus elsewhere as you’re certain detailed reports about the competition will be delivered regardless of scouts are sent out on those missions. This approach is great for anyone having a limited scouting pool or budget, as there’s no cost attached. It’s not until you decide to conduct an individual scouting trip a scouting cost is generated.
Screen flow comes to its force when scouting for future wonderkids and best newgens. By acquiring news items about the player statistics from different youth tournaments and Under-20 competitions, either regional or national, you’ll get notified about player statistics and performances as they happen!
- FIFA U20 World Cup (National Teams)
- CONMEBOL Sudamericano sub-20 (National Teams)
- UEFA U19 Championship & Qualifications (National Teams)
- Festival Espoirs de Toulon aka Toulon tournament (National Teams)
- European Elite League U20 (NationalHow to Scout for Players in Football Manager | Scouting Tips Part 1Teams)
- UEFA Youth League (Club)
- U20 Copa Libertadores Club)
- Viareggio Cup World Football Tournament Coppa Carnevale (Club)
For additional competitions, check out Dodgee Gamer’s International Competitions Megapack Incl. 21 competitions added to FM21
How to localize screen flow?
In order to be able to customize screen flow, head to;
Preferences > Advanced > Most Common > Screen Flow button
or search ‘screen flow‘ in the search bar of preferences.
Personally, I recommend to set up screen flow at the start of the save.
How to set up screen flow?
Setting up the screen flow is easy. Simply select the tournaments and competitions of interest. You can select as many as you want, but it helps to be strategic.
For instance, there’s no need to include competitions that you are either part of, or will have quick access to, to check statistics and player performance. Personally, I favor selecting competitions that are perhaps out of my scouting range, or other major youth tournaments that give me additional knowledge.
In terms of scouting for players, you want to select either the Player Detailed Screen or the Player Overview screen as they provide you with player statistics such as most goals, assists, shots, passes, tackles or dribbles made.
Then, it’s a matter of deciding on how often you want to receive the news ticker. If you should select the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which is scheduled between 23.04.2021 to 20.05.2021, you’d like to set the minimum interval to ‘Every two days’ ‘during competitions‘, as the time span is short. This will let you get reports as they happen but ‘At Completion‘ will do just fine as well. It all depends on how hands-on you’d like to be. For competitions or leagues that last for more than a month, you might like to set the scope to ‘On Matchdays‘, or ‘During Competition‘ at ‘Every Month‘ or ‘Every Fortnight‘.
P.S. You might need to change the Scope from ‘On Matchdays’ to ‘All the Time’ in order to set the minimum interval. By selecting any other option than ‘At Completion’ you’ll get the chance to change the scope to ‘During Competition’.
In this article I have looked closer at the different scouting methods and focuses in Football Manager 2021, and how to use these scouting tips when searching for players that fit your tactic and club vision. When scouting for players in Football Manager, there are pros and cons with every method, but I hope my scouting tips have been of value for you.
How you scout for players in Football Manager will be up to you and your objectives within a save, but this guide have let you get a deeper understanding of the different scouting methods and how you can identify the best players for your system by utilizing player search filters and other more advanced features.
By being more strategic when scouting for players and using filters and assignments to scout for players you’ll get more tools in your vocabulary to find the right players for your system and your team.