There’s nothing more exciting in Football Manager than finding a player in your scouting pool or your youth team with a crazy-high stat.
20 Pace? Defences will never be able to push up their defensive line against your promising Usain Bolt wannabe.
19 Tackling? Looks like you’ve got clean sheets sorted for the rest of the season!
But what if there’s an attribute that you can’t always trust? Something that’s a bit more of a roll of the dice.
Well, that’s exactly how eccentricity works. Luckily, it’s an attribute only given to goalkeepers, so you don’t need to worry about it all the time, but who’s more important to your success than your man between the sticks?
Here we’re going to take a look at this unique attribute and how you can protect yourself from getting burnt whilst making the most of its benefits.
Inside the War Room: Best Football ...Inside the War Room: Best Football General Managers EverWhat is eccentricity in Football Manager?
Someone who’s eccentric is zany, whacky or a bit of a wildcard. In real life, as in football, this can turn out for better or worse. Batman probably doesn’t enjoy how eccentric the Joker is, but it worked out pretty well for fans of David Bowie’s music.
Now, great music and defending Gotham might be imporstant, but they’re nothing compared to achieving success on your Football Manager save. You need to know if you can afford such quirky behaviour in your pursuit of glory.
Some of the zaniest players in history are goalkeepers! Despite the fact that they’re meant to be a safe pair of hands, some people make it to the world’s best clubs and still can’t resist toying with everyone’s emotions.
In Football Manager this translates to goalkeepers being brave (or possibly stupid) with the ball at their feet, attempting audacious saves, and enthusiastically coming out of the box to both tackle the opposition and provide an option in possession.
Not sure if these are the sorts of things you want your goalie to do? Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of having an eccentric player between the sticks.
Pros of the eccentricity stat
If your goalie has the ability to handle it, then eccentricity can be a valuable asset!
#1 In possession
Sweeper keepers come in and out of fashion, but there’s no disputing there are times when it’s helpful to have an extra player to help your outfielders.
Most matches are played as 10 against 10, with the goalies being in a position of their own for most of the game. If your goalie is eccentric enough to come and help out his teammates in the transitional phases of play, then you can potentially dominate possession much better.
Naturally, you need a keeper who’s good enough with their feet to contribute constructively for this to pay off, but if they can offer a passing option in defence, it gives other players in your team the chance to push up and pin the opposition back.
This is especially valuable for teams that like to play out from the back. If your defence usually hoofs it clear at the first opportunity, then your keep won’t get the chance to showcase their eccentricity in this regard.
If your team does utilise a patient build-up though, then an eccentric goalie with high scores in first touch, passing, and composure can play an important role in possession.
#2 Pressuring strikers
All goalies should feel confident diving at a striker’s feet, but this is normally done as a last resort when the defence has been breached.
An eccentric goalie is more likely to stray outside of his box to get stuck in. This can be a very risky tactic of course, but if your goalie has the skills to pull it off then opposition forwards can be caught out and your defensive line might appreciate the extra support.
For this to be pulled off effectively, your goalie must have high anticipation, rushing out, and positioning.
#3 Wild saves
Your goalie is there to make saves, no matter what. But sometimes their technique might be a bit more audacious than needs be.
A high eccentricity stat will see your goalie pull out all the stops to reach the ball, even when other keepers would have left a little juice in reserve.
This can help your keeper pull off very impressive saves but might mean they don’t always react in the most efficient manner to more simple stops.
Having a goalie who can stop screamers is clearly a great comfort to a manager, but sometimes you might not be so pleased about their tendency towards eccentricity, so let’s have a look at how this can go wrong.
Cons of the eccentricity stat
#1 In possession
However, composed your defenders are, if your eccentric goalie insists on getting involved when he doesn’t have the skills to justify it, you’re going to get caught out.
If the opposition like to press high, then your keeper could easily end up losing the ball in a dangerous position or put defenders under pressure to clear into row-z when they could otherwise continue their build-up.
If your keeper is more eccentric than they are talented in possession, your team will be forced to play it long from the back or suffer sporadic errors from a goalie who shouldn’t really be getting involved.
#2 Rushing out
A proactive approach to goalkeeping is all well and good, but if someone can’t read the game well enough to be so forward-thinking then the opposition will end up with a few open-goal opportunities.
Even the most skilled goalies can get this wrong sometimes, so if you have a very eccentric goalie without the right stats for rushing out, be prepared to adjust your tactics to compensate for the weak points in his game.
#3 Wild Saves
If your goalie is pulling off theatrics for the camera when he doesn’t need to, you can expect to concede a few more corners and rebounds than would otherwise be necessary.
Expect him to win some plaudits for making the game’s highlights look even better, but also be ready to roll your eyes as a shot that should be an easy catch suddenly becomes something for you to worry about.
This attribute is almost by definition hit and miss.
Eccentricity is something that a goalie needs the talent to justify or you’re going to end up with a lot of mistakes made and goals conceded!
If you can set up a team to be patient in possession and play a high defensive line, then a talented eccentric goalkeeper can be a valuable asset that gives you the edge over an opponent.
However well you’re set up to make the most of your keeper’s zaniness though, be prepared to have a few heart-in-mouth moments, even if it’s worth it for the impressive theatrics.
If your team doesn’t need that kind of contribution from the goalie and their eccentricity outstrips their ability, you better start looking for a replacement soon.
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