For the Twitter users among you, I’m sure you’ll know that for the past two weeks Sports Interactive have been heavily plugging Football Manager 2014 as they begin to announce new features publically. Quite frankly, their series of ‘feature roulette’ tweets has become tedious and mundane as incredibly irrelevant “features” are announced.
However, today they revealed something that had the potential to be just a bit interesting. And that’s the new tactical roles they’ll be introducing into FM14. There are eight all-in-all; half back, target flank man, limited full back, complete wing back, enganche, regista, false nine and shadow striker.
Initially I got excited that there were changes to the current roles. There’s still so much to be done and I thought FM14 could go some way to addressing this. I think I was wrong. And I’ll try to explain why, role by role.
The first role is ‘half back’. An archaic term coined for the wing-backs in the infamous W-M and 2-3-5 formations from the early 20th century. However, it’s completely gone from the game due to the emergence of the wing-back and full-back, with two [CB, CB] and three [LB, CB, RB] man defenses now being a thing of the past. So why have SI brought it in? I’ll delay judgement on all of these roles until I’ve seen it in FM14 itself, and the half-back even moreso because I have no idea what to expect. However, I’d like to think of it as a WB/DM hybrid, positionally. This could be more than handy in creating the Inverse Wing Back again next year.
Next up was the ‘target flank man’, a perhaps even more ambiguous term than the previous. From what I can gather it’ll be appropriate for wingers who are particularly proficient aerially. Long diagonal cross-field balls would allow for knock downs from wide and chance creation for a striker who would play off the tall wide man. The best real-life example I could think of was actually Cristiano Ronaldo. Whilst he’s certainly got other strengths, aerially he is also excellent, and he’s adept at holding onto the ball and creating chances for others. However, much like the half back, it’s not common in modern football. I’m sure you can think of a better example. Let me know.
Another dull role was next in the ‘limited full back’. Let’s hope they started with the boring roles because this is perhaps the worst of the lot. I can’t see how this would be too much different from a Full Back – Defend, nor do I see the need for it. Next.
‘Complete wing back’ is another role that I’d consider unnecessary. However, it may simply be a question of semantics so I won’t completely dismiss it. How this will differ from the normal wing back I’m not sure. If they were really keen to add in another role for full backs or wing backs, I’d have liked to have seen them add in the Inverse Wing Back. Shame.
Now it starts to get interesting, with the ‘engache’. Initially I was led to believe that this was simply an alternate phrasing of ‘trequarista’. However, upon further discussion from Twitter’s footballing gurus, it had been decided that an engache would be less mobile then a trequarista; more of a Juan Roman Riquelme than a Francesco Totti. It’s definitely a good addition but one wonders whether there are already enough roles for CAMs. We shall see.
Following that is perhaps my favourite of the bunch, in the ‘regista’. I’ve always thought that the most defensive midfielder has really been lacking in tactical roles on Football Manager. The regista acts in a similar way to the deep-lying playmaker, however, will often be the deepest midfielder. Much like Andrea Pirlo in Juventus’ three-man midfield, he will often be less mobile and play a slightly more direct passing style. Hopefully this reflects within FM14. Defensively, I have no idea whether the regista would be expected to contribute more than the DLP. Pirlo and Scholes famously contribute very little without the ball despite often being the side’s deepest midfielder.
Then comes the addition of the ‘false nine’. I assume the false nine will be to the deep-lying forward as the regista is to the deep-lying playmaker. With the emergence of Pep Guardiola’s infamous Barcelona side and Lionel Messi’s initial role as a false striker in that side, the false nine really has become a bit of a necessity within FM. There’s been countless articles across the scene on replicating the false nine within FM, suggesting it’s a vital addition. Good work.
And finally we’re left with the ‘shadow striker’ which Miles Jacobson referred to as a false ten, on his personal Twitter account. I can’t say I know much about this one, so I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. How this’ll act differently from a deep-lying forward or a false nine, I don’t know.
However, whilst I was initially elated, and then disappointed, I do feel slightly content. We can only assume that the guys over at SI are not complete morons, and the sliders will be different enough between the likes of regista and deep lying playmaker to merit the introduction of the new roles. What we’re seeing is an increase in the control we’re being given over how we want our players to play. There’s lots more work to do for FM15 and beyond, and I’d certainly like to see more roles for the DM in particular, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction of increasing the user’s tactical control.