Can Potential Ability Increase? A Guide to Current and Potential Ability in Football Manager

No, the potential ability of a player is fixed at the start of a new save game and will not change for the entirety of that save game.

But there are a myriad of circumstances that come into play in the save game that will influence whether a player realizes  his potential ability or will fall short of it. These circumstances are;

  1. Injuries – A player plagued by injuries over his career is less likely to realize his potential compared to one who stays relatively injury free.
  2. Game time – Especially important from age 18 onwards. You don’t want a player stagnating on the bench while he could be getting valuable game experience on loan somewhere else.
  3. Player Personality – Players with positive personalities like perfectionist or driven are more likely to improve themselves compared to those with negative personalities.
  4. Hidden attributes – hidden attributes like pressure, consistency and professionalism all play a role in how the player will approach training, matches etc. therefore directly contributing to his development.
  5. Age – A young player between the ages of 16 and 21 shows more significant development than players above the age of 24
  6. Club facilities – Clubs with good training facilities develop their players better than those with subpar facilities.
  7. Coaching staff – Highly rated staff will point the players in the right direction more consistently compared to those with low stats.
  8. Level of competition – A player in the lower divisions is less likely to develop more than one who is playing in a highly rated league like the Bundesliga or La liga.

The potential of a player is the ultimate best version of a player can be should all the stars align, and it makes sense that the value is fixed. 

However, when a player suffers a career threatening injury, his potential ability might take a hit, and you will be notified via a message that the injury has had a significant effect on his development and the player will never be as good as he was touted to be.

Visible attributes in football manager

It is important to note that Player A having a higher current ability than Player B does not necessarily mean Player A will always perform better. How the ability points are spread out over the attributes is much more important. 

If the ability points are spread out on attributes that are not important to the role, say a poacher having very good tackling and positioning, his ability points will be “wasted” and another poacher with a slightly lower current ability having his ability points spent in the right attributes for the role like finishing and anticipation, will perform better.

Dynamic Player Potential

The scope of football manager is too big, and the real life scouts simply can not accurately gauge the potential ability of all players in their database, especially those in the smaller nations and lower leagues.

To counter this, football manager assigns potential ranges to these players rather than a fixed value.

Therefore, at the start of every save game, these players will be assigned a fixed potential ability that is in line with the potential range they have.

By doing this, it guarantees that every save game you start in football manager will not be dominated by the same wonder kids over and over again, therefore adding to the thrill of scouting for the unknown potential world beaters.

In order to see the figures for potential ability (ranging from 0-200) and these dynamic potential ranges, you will need to buy the official editor for the Football Manager Game.

Star Rating vs Current and Potential Ability

The star rating system used by coaches and scouts in the game is how they rank players in your team and also the scouted ones depending on their perceived current and potential ability.

The scouts and coaches do not have access to the real values of a player’s current and potential ability, and thus depend on their staff rating of Judging Player Ability(JPA) and Judging Player Potential (JPP) to make an informed guess.

Therefore, staff with higher ratings in both judging player ability and judging player potential will give more accurate star ratings. 

But just as in real life, their reports will not always be accurate even if they have 20/20 rating in JPA and JPP.

You still have to make an informed decision as a manager whether you feel the scouted player will add value to your team.

It is therefore normal to see different coaches and scouts in your club giving slightly different reports on the player’s abilities.

Star Rating Decreased

The star ratings on current and potential ability provided by your scout or assistant manager are not fixed and will fluctuate depending on a number of factors, namely;

  1. Form of a player – If a player hits good form, and consistently performs well for a long duration, his stars on current ability will also be given a slight bump by the assistant manager
  2. New Signings brought to the club – Since the star ratings are also influenced by the level of perceived ability in your squad. Bringing in better players will push the ratings of the other players down. A 4 star rated player might be pushed down to 3.5 or 3 stars when better players join the club.
  3. Improvement in ability by another player – A young player showing improvements to his game will also see his star rating bumped up, and if he surpasses everyone and continues improving, the star ratings of the other players will also be reduced to properly show the gulf in quality.
  4. Promotion to a new league – On top of the star rating being influenced by the members of your squad, the level of the league you are playing at will also have an effect. A 3-star player in the Championship might be rated as 2-star or 1 in the Premier League since the opposition he is being compared to are so much  better.
  5. More Knowledge gained on the player – A scout might at first give a 4-star rating to a player, but after further scouting the player to 100%, he discovers the player is not as good as he initially thought he was. The scout will then subsequently change his rating to what he feels accurately reflects the player’s ability.

Difference Between Gold, White and Black Stars in Football Manager

  1. Black Stars – The black stars appear on youth players who the scout or coach has uncertainties on how good they are or can be in the future. With the coach or scout getting more information on the players, the black stars will gradually disappear until you are only left with gold or white stars. 
  2. White Stars – White stars are only used on the youth players to properly give you a representation of their ability compared to their youth teammates. Once they become good enough for the first team, they might first get half a gold star or a full one, depending on their level of progression.
  3. Gold Stars – Gold stars are given to all first team members.