The importance of strikers in the footballing world can never be understated. They are an integral part of almost every tactical system and can be the sole difference between a European-dominating team and another struggling to win games.
You may have heard of how defence wins titles, but the truth remains, no matter how tight the defence is and how many clean sheets they accumulate, there’s no going forward till they can successfully break the opposition’s defence. No team ever won the Champions League with only 0-0 draws; if you can’t score in football, you can’t win!
As expected, strikers are also very important for Football Managers. Most of your team’s goals will probably come from them, so it’s only fair that you know the attributes that enable their goal-scoring ability.
Here, I’ll show you why it’s important to know the striker’s attributes that will blend with your team’s tactical style and don’t worry; I’ll also tell you these attributes.
Why It’s Important To Know Striker Attributes In Football Manager
In Football Manager, there’s probably nothing more satisfying than seeing your striker win the Golden Boot, especially if the player was relatively unknown and a product of your elite scouting. There’s this confidence you have going into a game knowing you’ve got a 30-goal-a-season striker.
If you’re new to Football Manager or only manage super-rich clubs, there’s a chance that you don’t even bother scouting. You can search up famous FM strikers like Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, and Benjamin Sesko, submit a crazy high bid for them and call it a day.
However, if you coach the lower leagues or teams with average budgets, you’ll have to put extra effort into finding talented and inexpensive strikers that fit your tactical style. This is not to say that players who manage rich clubs don’t or can’t scout, but the truth remains that when you manage average clubs, the stakes are higher.
Imagine spending $5 million of your $12 million budget to sign a striker and you end up playing your U-23 striker over him simply because he doesn’t fit your play and drops stinkers every week. You’ve not only wasted a chunk of your budget without fixing the problem, but you’ve also placed your entire season in jeopardy and might even get fired!
That’s why it’s essential to know the important attributes of a striker in Football Manager. It’ll save you lots of cash and also allow you to recruit players that fit your playing style.
What Are Attributes Important for a Striker in Football Manager?
The striker has evolved beyond being the player that simply puts the ball into the net. Over the years, tactics have seen strikers change, and there are now multiple roles they can play.
In Football Manager, there are 8 roles that strikers can play in:
- Deep Lying Forwards
- Advanced Forwards
- Target Man
- Complete Forward
- Pressing Forward
- False Nine
Despite the diversities in the position, there are still basic attributes every striker must possess.
Here are some of the major attributes for strikers in Football Manager.
The ultimate goal of any striker in football is to score. After a good series of passes, defensive play, and through balls, a striker must have the ability to make the ball cross the goal line.
In Football Manager, players with Finishing ratings above 15 are likelier to score from anywhere inside the opponent’s 18-yard box. These players will also know the best type of finish to use in different instances. They know when to use a cheeky lob over a goalkeeper that’s way off his line, or when to go around an eccentric keeper, or place shots in positions outside the goalie’s reach.
Good Finishing ratings are important to any Football Manager striker, no matter their role. You don’t want your midfielders and wingers to orchestrate a beautiful offensive play only for your striker to get the ball and miss a sitter. It’s heartbreaking, to be honest, and can lead to the kind of poor team morale that comes with high Xg and no goals to show.
Composure and Finishing are two attributes that work together. Finishing is a measure of the striker’s ability to find the back of the net. Composure determines if he can stay calm enough to use those finishing abilities.
A world-class striker with low composure will constantly make mistakes and might even miss sitters because he can’t get his mind to calm down despite knowing what to do. Composure also goes well with another important attribute that didn’t make it to my list: Decisions.
I don’t think I need to highlight the importance of the Decisions attribute. It controls the choices your striker makes when he’s in front of a goal and is heavily influenced by the player’s level of composure.
A striker with good ratings for Finishing, Composure, and Decisions will know exactly what to do to outsmart the goalkeeper.
#3 Off the Ball
In football, what you do with the ball is just as important as what you do without it. The Off the Ball attribute measures the striker’s ability to find spaces to receive passes. Moreover, it dictates the level of the player’s movement to drag opposition defenders away from their position and create space for both themselves and their teammates.
You can find out the differences between chances created and key passes here.
This is especially important for strikers in the Deep Lying Forward, False Nine and Target Man roles. Their ability to make themself available to receive passes from the midfielders or wingers will determine the fluidity of your team. So it doesn’t matter how creative your supporting players are; strikers without good off-the-ball movements will frustrate their creativity.
A striker must be able to find spaces between or behind defenders to receive balls.
Timo Werner is an example of a real-life player with good Off The Ball movements. In his time at Chelsea, the German international suffered from poor Finishing, but he constantly made chances available through his elite off-the-ball movements.
His OTB movements played a significant role in Chelsea’s 2021 Champions League final goal and won them the title. For the goal, he dragged away Manchester City’s main defender, Rúben Dias, allowing Kai Havertz the freedom to receive the pass and score.
Anticipation measures how alert a player is to happenings on the pitch and how fast he can react to them. If you play with a Poacher or an Advanced Forward, this attribute is particularly important! These roles require your striker to exploit the tiniest of opportunities, and if he’s not anticipating it, how does he exploit it?
In my Chorley save, I had a talented Irish Regen, Scott Gilmour. He had the league’s highest finishing ratings; I got him on loan from Derby County. However, he had very poor anticipation ratings and found it difficult to capitalize on defender’s mistakes that were relatively common in lower leagues.
I had to pair him with a Deep Lying Forward who’d do all the dirty work and feed him with balls to finish. Those two, Adam Anderson and Scott Gilmour, made me a very happy manager for a long time. Sadly, I couldn’t afford to buy him permanently or get him on loan again, but at least I got to reach the Vanarama National League playoffs final!
In most football teams, the defenders are usually the most physical players. They mostly have good height and high attributes for physicality and strength. If you want your striker to stand a chance against them, he must have decent strength ratings.
When I say decent, I mean 10-12 at least, and why I say so is because attributes like pace, acceleration, and technique can serve as cover for strength at times.
Strikers like Romelu Lukaku and Erling Haaland have scored many goals where they wrestled with defenders and came out victorious.
Strikers like Kai Havertz and Gabriel Jesus will tell you that strength isn’t all that important, but if you like lower league saves where physicality is the most important attribute, strength in strikers becomes paramount.
You can check out this guide here on how the tactics you can use against top teams here.
The Bottom Line
The striker position is very important for Football Manager and the one you can’t do without. There are hundreds of strikers in the game, and it’s common for a player to get confused looking for the perfect one to sign.
When recruiting a striker, you have to ensure he fits your style of play because there are eight striker roles and buying one that doesn’t match your formation will only result in frustration.
Nevertheless, there are some attributes every good striker in FM is expected to have no matter their role: Finishing, Composure, Anticipation, Off the Ball, and Strength.
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