In Football Manager 2019 training undergoes its biggest overhaul in the history of the series.
Over the years we’ve been lucky to enjoy extensive access to training sessions at a host of clubs. More recently, we’ve expanded the studio’s knowledge through a series of internal ‘FootTalks’, where people working within football, including managers (both club and international), directors of football and others have imparted their knowledge to help us improve the game.
This knowledge sharing – adding to the fact that we already have a group of qualified coaches working at the studio – has helped us to create a revamped training module that is a realistic representation of how real clubs develop younger players and prepare established players for both a full season and individual fixtures.
Training is now split into three sessions per day that allow you to customise your programme to suit your team’s needs across the season. When you click on a session you are presented with a pop-out window that lists the 10 different training areas that you can choose to focus on. Within those 10 areas you have a variety of training sessions to choose from that emphasise different areas of your team’s development from attacking play right down to team bonding and community outreach sessions.
Previously, you were only able to choose from sessions that trained your team in one general aspect of football – attacking or defending, for example. Those options are still available to you under the General option, but with the increased depth available to training in FM19 you’re able to fine-tune your approach to get the best out of your squad.
For example, instead of giving your players a general defensive session you may want to choose a session such as Aerial Defence which can be a good area to focus on if your upcoming opponent likes to launch long balls into the box. When you select a session you’re also given an overview of the impact of each session on your squad in terms of their attributes, sharpness, injury risk and overall condition.
The different sessions across the weeks and months of the season make up your training schedule. You can adjust the preset schedules or even create your own bespoke programme from scratch via the Schedules tab. You’ll see that there are several preset schedules for pre-season as well as in-season training and there are even schedules that allow you to work on your tactical style of play with your players.
The variety of preset schedules lets you cater for your team’s needs across the season such as when you need to prepare for a big match or when you have a period of fixture congestion. Even travelling to and from away matches is factored into your team’s routine. You can combine these week-long schedules to fit around your team’s fixtures for the weeks ahead or work on something more long-term, such as ingraining your footballing philosophy into the minds of your players.
Pre-season is now a distinct part of your training calendar. With the increased detail and depth to training in FM19 there are more opportunities to maximise your pre-season training to give you the best chance of success in the upcoming season. A properly organised pre-season can not only get your players into shape for the start of the season but can also help to keep them fitter for longer.
Another change for FM19 is the way that tutoring works under the new Mentoring system. You can now form mentoring groups of at least three players where senior players will work closely with younger players. Mentoring affects the younger players’ personality and player traits so it’s worth pairing those younger players with senior players that have the type of personality you want to grow throughout the squad.
Your squad now trains in units that are determined by playing position. Clicking on the Units tab not only shows you your team’s current units, but also allows you to drag and drop players between units. You can ask any of your players to train in a new position and role from this screen and bring reserve or youth team players into first-team training by using the dropdown menu in the top-right corner of the screen.
Each training session has a different impact on each unit. For example, selecting a Chance Creation session sees your Offensive Unit attempt to create chances against your Defensive Unit, who in turn are trying to prevent them from doing so. The effect of the session on each unit’s attributes, condition, injury risk and sharpness will also be different.
Players can’t train all the time though or they won’t have any energy left for playing matches – so you’ll also need to use the rest tab. Here you can automatically set training intensity and rest periods based on player condition. You can do this for the whole team using the dropdown menus for each condition level at the top of the screen or set it for individuals on the main panel in the centre of the screen. Included on this screen are recommendations from your physio as to which players should be training at certain intensities and your upcoming fixtures so you can account for when you might want your squad rest and when you might want them up their training intensity.
The Training Overview screen offers lots of insightful information. For example, you can now see the Training Performance panel that highlights which players have performed well in recent training sessions as well as those that have been underwhelming, alongside their respective training ratings – which make their debut to the series and prove a very useful tool for changing players individual training where you can train them towards positions or roles and set the intensity of this accordingly per player.
You’ll be regularly updated on your team’s training, receiving information about your squad’s performance in training via the inbox. You’ll also receive information about the other squads at the club too if you’re set to look after those.
Of course, if you prefer to take a hands-off approach to training then you still have the option to delegate some or all of the training elements to a member of your backroom team via the Responsibilities screen. They’ll keep you in touch with what’s going on around your first team so that you can still make changes occasionally should you want to.
Training is an area of the game which a number of FM fans have been asking us to look at for some time. We wanted to make sure that when we did deliver a revamp it would be in-depth, engaging and fun. We’re confident that the new training module in FM19 delivers all three.