International management has always been a love of mine on Football Manager. Of course, it does not have as much detail as the club side of the game, but it can make for a fun addition to a regular save or even a save in its own right.
Today, we are going to be looking at how to set up your game for an international save. This will be especially useful if you want to manage a minnow nation or a nation that does not have a league in the game.
I am not using any add-on leagues for the purposes of this guide but will make a video about additional files and other files from the Steam Workshop once our editor friends have worked their magic.
We are going to look at three key features in setting up your game for international management, especially for the minnow nations, and those are:
As ever, if you have any comments, ideas, or suggestions of your own, drop them down below.
How to Perfect The Setup of Your Next International Management Save
1. Database Options
As I’m sure you are aware, FM gives you the option to have small, medium, or large database when first setting up your game. For the purposes of this guide, however, we are going to take a look at the advanced settings.
When we open this up, you can see a whole plethora of options, and there are a few we want to hone in on. Under ‘Nations’ select your desired nation.
First up is the option to load all current international players. This does exactly what it says – it will load any and all players in the database who are current internationals for their nation.
A few alternative options here – you could load all current internationals for the whole world, but bear in mind that will result in a lot of players being loaded so check your PC performance before starting the game.
We can now even go a bit further than that and load players from the top division, likely to be where your candidates for internationals are, or all players based in nation, and all players of that particular nationality – that way you will have any players outside their domestic leagues loaded in.
This is a way to make sure your national pool is as full as possible when the game starts. However, to keep it that way, you are going to need some leagues active and that’s what we are looking at next.
2. Leagues to Load
If you are going for one of the big nations, this is not so big an issue. Even if you only load European leagues, odds are there will be enough players generated from places like Brazil to keep that national team going for many years.
For smaller nations, however, loading the right leagues is key otherwise you will find your national pool shrinking year on year as players retire. And I don’t just mean players hanging up their boots in their mid-late 30s. You will find players much younger who get released, fail to find a new club and call it a day at 23.
This point may seem unnecessary to say at first but, as someone who has worked in education for the last 20 years, I know sometimes even the most obvious things need to be said.
Simply put, if the nation you want to play as has a league in the game, LOAD THAT LEAGUE! If you want to play as Canada, load the Canadian Premier League. If you want to manage Indonesia or Singapore, load those leagues as well!
So far, so obvious, but what about those nations whose leagues are not featured in the game?
Well, here you need to apply your knowledge of world football, geography, and history.
Let’s take a nation like Congo. If you know your history, you will know that this region of Africa was colonised by both Belgium and France and as a result, there are players in the database who hold dual nationality. Those leagues also represent the most likely destinations for any Congolese players who venture abroad.
Geography comes into play when we consider nearby nations. The closest one to Congo with an active league in the game is South Africa so make sure that is loaded.
And footballing knowledge, or a little research at least, helps out when you discover that Congolese players currently do, or recently have, played for clubs in Germany, China, Turkey, and England – worth adding to your game set-up as well.
The same applies elsewhere in the world. Fancy managing a Caribbean nation? Check the history books, or the pages of Wikipedia at least, to see if it is a former English, French, Dutch, or Spanish territory. Load up MLS or maybe a South American league or two, and find out where those players end up going – household names or not.
And always load those leagues down to the lowest level – when you’re managing minnows, it doesn’t matter if your players are at Chelsea or Chorley – you are going to want all of them.
3. Manager Profile
And finally we come to a sometimes overlooked part of being an international manager – the manager profile.
Now, I’m not 100% sure if this has an effect but it’s worth thinking about the nationality you choose. Match your nationality (or second nationality) to your chosen nation and you will have that little bit more respect from the players early on.
Of course, you could set your nationality to any major footballing nation and max out your experience and coaching badges and simply demand respect and awe wherever you go – ultimately, the experience and coaching level you set yourself is up to you but it’s worth thinking about starting attributes as well.
Certain skills take lesser importance when managing a national side – working with youngsters and youngster knowledge for example (assuming you don’t have plans to manage an U21 or U19 side).
Training attributes like fitness, attacking, defending and all the goalkeeper options are other ones you probably don’t need as there is STILL no training for international squads in FM!
Considering that you will be working with a group of players from different clubs and possibly playing from far flung corners of the world, you should consider looking at the mental side of coaching and upping stats like man management and motivation and throw in a bit of discipline to deal with those unruly players who moan when they don’t get picked for a squad even though they are only just about recovered from an injury – appeal to the inner souls of those players to make them put it all on the line for their country!
Tactical knowledge is probably another area you want to look at – you will need a good understanding of how to get a team of players to adapt to your style (or how to adapt your style to them). Technical training will help here as well.
So, it’s now time to start the game in charge of your chosen minnow nation. We’ve got coaches and scouts to hire, a national pool to fill, dual nationality players to hunt down, and fixtures to prepare for – but those are all topics for future posts in the series.
For now, thank you for reading and do let me know if there’s anything you found particularly useful or something you feel I’ve missed out down in the comments. Enjoy managing your minnows!