Recognise him? No, I didn’t either. That is one time Championship Manager legend Cherno Samba, a player whom Eidos believed would go on to become a future England international and world-class striker. Today’s game is littered with players who “could be the next big thing”, who had all the potential in the world at 16, 17 and 18 but went on to… well FC Haka and Panetolikos F.C.
This article will focus on the impact of tutoring and how it can help you make the most of those precocious young stars that can turn your club from also-rans to perennial champs. To many, myself included, there is nothing more satisfying than developing a home-grown talent into a regular international and indispensable member of your team. It’s all well and good spending £30million on Cavani but wouldn’t you rather sign him at 16 for pennies and watch him blossom at your own club?
The problem is turning that Potential Ability (PA) into Current Ability (CA). What affects how well a player develops? What separates your Rooney’s from your Cadamarteri’s? Your Messi’s from your Burchill’s?
The first thing I will point out is that player development, i.e. transferring PA into CA, is governed, in the main, by the following:
- Game time
- Professionalism attribute
- Ambition attribute
- Injury proneness attribute
To prove this, I will simply point you in the direction of a couple of items from The Dugout – my own Player Development and Tutoring Guide and Maestro Ugo’s Youngsters Reaching Their Potential. To borrow a graph from my old guide, the figure below shows the varied increase in a player’s attributes where 4 identical players were created with every attribute set to 10 except for professionalism which was set to 1, 8, 14 and 20 for Pupils A to D respectively.
Clear evidence of professionalism’s importance in driving how likely a player is to reach his CA.
You will notice that my own article is originally from FM10 where the tutoring options were very different. In that experiment, each option could affect large changes to the tutor’s personality attributes including, crucially, professionalism and ambition. However, in FM12 there are only two options now: help X improve his game and take X under your wing and mentor him off the pitch. Being obsessed with tutoring as I am, I wanted to find out what the difference was.
To do so, I edited in 3 identical tutors with all attributes (including hidden attributes) set to 14 ; and 3 identical pupils, all with attributes set to 10 or 11. I also gave the 3 tutors the following PPM’s: gets into opposition area (movement), plays short simple passes (technical) and argues with officials (mental). I set up Tutor A to help Pupil A improve his game, whilst Tutor B was asked to take Pupil B under his wing and mentor him off the pitch. Pupil C was left untutored as a control. I then saved the game and ran the game through 10 holidays and recorded the results.
Whilst I don’t think 10 saves are enough to give a comprehensive answer, they do provide a fairly rough indication and have allowed me to draw some conclusions. The graph below shows the average increase in each attribute area for each pupil, i.e. the 10 Pupil C’s showed an average increase in CA of just under 5 points.
For info, the splits in attributes are as follows:
Personality: Adaptability, Ambition, Loyalty, Pressure, Professionalism, Sportsmanship, Temperament, Controversy
Hidden: Consistency, Dirtiness, Important Matches, Versatility
Physical: Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Jumping, Natural fitness, Pace, Stamina, Strength, Injury Proneness
Mental: Aggression, Anticipation, Bravery, Composure, Concentration, Creativity, Decisions, Determination, Flair, Influence, Off the Ball, Positioning, Team Work, Work Rate
Technical: Crossing, Dribbling, Finishing, Heading, Long Shots, Marking, Passing, Tackling, First Touch, Technique, Penalty, Corners, Free Kicks, Long Throws
The first thing to notice is that CA increases in both tutored pupils at a greater rate than the untutored pupil. This seems consistent from my research into FM10 and is the basic premise behind tutoring, that learning from an experienced player is beneficial to the youngster.
The second thing that stood out is that PPM’s were only ever passed on between Tutor A and Pupil A, i.e. where the improve his game option was selected. This is a change in approach from the old system where PPM’s could be passed on using any option. Whilst I can’t be 100% certain with the relatively small sample size, it would seem to me that mentoring a player off the pitch will preclude any transference of PPM’s. As an interesting aside, it’s worth noting that the only PPM to be transferred during the experiment was “argues with officials”, i.e. the mental PPM. This could be worth some more investigation in future.
As with the FM10 experiment, the biggest impact can be seen in the change to personality attributes. These attributes are hidden in-game but are hinted at by a player’s personality, shown on their Information tab. This guide over at the SI forums is a great resource in identifying what each of the personalities indicate and it is also worth keeping an eye on what your coach’s report tells you for a little further information.
In this experiment, both Pupils A and B gained an average of over 20 personality “points”, with a negligible difference between the two. This can be of massive assistance in assuring that your high potential youngster goes on to become more of an Aguero than a Jeffers. By clever use of tutoring you can raise your youngsters’ professionalism and ambition attributes to give them the best chance of reaching the potential which your coaches insist they have. To do so, you need to pick tutors whose own personalities indicate a high level of these attributes so ideally you’re looking for Model Professionals, Model Citizens, Perfectionists and the other personalities in the link above which indicate high levels of these key attributes.
Playing attributes also increased during tutoring in all three disciplines: physical, mental and technical. Of all those attributes, only one showed a consistent impact from the tutoring and that was determination. The others increased randomly or, more accurately, in line with a player’s training. Determination on the other hand is directly influenced by the corresponding attribute of the tutor and can increase or drop but never higher than or lower than that of the tutor. The other playing attributes will not drop if the tutor’s is inferior to that of the pupil and I would argue that they are completely unaffected by tutoring other than the potential increase that is made possible by the increased CA.
Similar to determination, all of the personality attributes can either increase or decrease in the pupil to match that of the tutor. This just highlights how important it is to choose the right tutor. Asking a very unprofessional but experienced player to tutor your bright young star might result in a short-term increase in CA but the corresponding drop in the latter’s professionalism attribute could scupper his development for life. This also applies to attributes which don’t affect development, such as sportsmanship and loyalty, so it is worth considering which of these you value in your players before implementing the tutoring.
The only attributes which were completely unaffected during all of the experiments were the hidden attributes which don’t impact personality: consistency, dirtiness, important matches and versatility.
So in short, for the current tutoring options in FM12, I would recommend using help X improve his game. I wouldn’t usually say that one option is better than the other but this option allows the transference of PPM’s and has only a negligibly smaller impact on the variation in personality attributes. For me, the only time I would use take X player under your wing and mentor him off the pitch is where the tutor has an undesirable PPM that I want to ensure doesn’t get passed on.
As it is, I cannot recommend targeted tutoring enough. It is a fantastic tool to ensure you make the most of your high-potential newgens and, combined with proper training and early game time, could save you millions by buying young and cheap to develop your very own Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Cesc Fabregas.