Figuring out the number of playmakers you should have in a particular tactic in football manager can be a bit of a delicate balancing act.
Have too few players who can create chances, and you risk your playmaker being marked out of the game, leaving your team toothless, or on the other hand, have too many, and you won’t have enough runners to take advantage of the chances your playmakers should be creating.
This makes creating space in your tactic for an advanced playmaker challenging. Do it right, and he will likely end up with 15+ assists for the season, yet if you get it wrong, you will be stuck with consistent 6.5 and 6.8 ratings from the most creative player in your team.
Football manager describes the advanced playmaker role, as one which demands a player to drop into the holes between the opposition’s midfield and defence, making himself available for his teammates’ passes and aiming to turn defence into attack in an instant.
The role is available in central midfield, attacking midfield, and on the wide positions in the attacking midfield strata(AMR and AML). The advanced playmaker will perform similarly in all these positions, but with some variations.
Unlike the shadow striker, the advanced playmaker will rather play in his teammates than take a shot himself. However, he will still occasionally take shots from distance, especially if there is no teammate in a better position, or he has a player trait that encourages shooting from a long way out.
In real life, James Maddison at Leicester City and Jack Grealish at Manchester City perfectly shine in the advanced playmaker role.
Maddison plays more centrally in the attacking midfield(AMC) position, often dropping deep, picking up the ball then progressing it through midfield before playing in Jamie Vardy or Harvey Barnes who cuts in from the left wing.
He will still occasionally take long shots, although rarely, especially compared to players like Bruno Fernandes or Kai Havertz who occupy similar positions in their respective teams but are more goal-oriented in their shadow striker’s role.
Grealish on the other hand excels in this role from a wider position in the wing. He will still drive forward with the ball, frequently beating the fullback marking him, before pulling the ball back for a cutback or a low-driven cross for the likes of Mahrez and Foden to slot the ball home.
Unlike the winger or the inside forward, the advanced playmaker in the wider wing position has more freedom regarding his positioning, whether cutting inside with the ball or moving to the outside of the fullback for a cross. He will pick and choose his moments, often being influenced by his stronger foot in deciding whether to go inside or out.
Advanced Playmaker In The Attacking Midfield Position(AMC)
When deploying the advanced playmaker in this position, high up on the pitch, à la Maddison at Leicester, you have to surround him with willing runners so that they can take advantage of his passing and vision.
A winger(attack duty) with an inside forward(attack duty)on the other side of the wing together with an advanced forward or pressing forward ahead of the advanced playmaker will work well. You can also opt for a raumdeuter instead on one side of the wing if you have a striker that can play out wide
When playing in a narrow formation, have your lone striker or both of them if you are using a two-striker formation to be in roles that will prevent them from coming short to the ball. Therefore, roles like the deep lying forward, complete forward or the false 9 should be out of the question.
This is because these roles will occasionally make the strikers drop into spaces that the advanced playmaker should be operating from.
If your advanced playmaker is a good dribbler with high flair, you can have him on the attack duty, otherwise restrict him to the support duty where he can better take advantage of his passing and vision to unlock the defence, rather than forcing it by charging through the midfield.
Advanced Playmaker In Central Midfield (CM)
The advanced playmaker in central midfield plays similarly to one in the attacking midfield, the only difference being he needs to be slightly better in the defensive act of his game to deal with the demands that come with playing in the heart of the midfield.
Out of possession, he will drop back much deeper to receive the ball from the defensive midfielder before dribbling through the midfield or using his teammates to pass the ball into the attacking third.
I only ever use the advanced playmaker in this position if I have a defensive midfielder behind him to offer more protection to my backline. I find the advanced playmaker to be too passive out of possession in a two-man midfield for this setup to be viable, especially against strong opposition.
When using the advanced playmaker in central midfield, I also avoid having another playmaker in the attacking midfielder position, as this is the space he is most likely to end up in when the team is in the opposition’s final third.
Should your tactic demand a player be in this position, have him in the attacking midfielder role or the shadow striker rather than trequartista or enganche.
A good balance in a three-man midfield when using the advanced playmaker in one of the CM positions is partnering him with a runner, either a box to box midfielder, a ball-winning midfielder, or a mezzala with a static defensive midfielder behind them like a half-back or the anchorman
Advanced Playmaker On The Wing (AMR and AML)
The advanced playmaker on the wing is a role that sits in the middle of an inside forward and a winger.
An ideal player for this position has good dribbling, flair, and acceleration without the finishing capabilities of an inside forward. He also lacks the searing pace of a winger who prefers going on the outside of the fullback to send in crosses for the strikers to attack.
The main difference between the inside forward and the advanced playmaker on the wing is the inside forward relies on his teammates, whether the deep-lying playmaker or the mezzala to get the ball to him, while the advanced playmaker is more willing to drift around, often dropping back to collect the ball then using his dribbling skills to break into open spaces before playing in the other winger or the striker.
When it comes to taking shots on goal, the advanced playmaker will pick and choose his moments, only going for goal when there is no teammate that can receive the ball in a more dangerous spot.
To prevent my creative players from getting in each other’s way, I tend to avoid having another advanced playmaker in the attacking midfield position if I am using one on the wing already.
You can still have a player in this position, but either as an attacking midfielder or a shadow striker, instead of the trequartista or the enganche which are still playmaking roles.
Attributes Required For An Advanced Playmaker
The crucial attributes for any playmaker in football manager have to be passing, technique, and vision. These three attributes will make or break your advanced playmaker. Have them too low, and he will most likely time and again fail in playing his teammates through on goal.
When using the attack duty, the importance of dribbling, agility, flair, and acceleration also go up. He does not need to be the fastest player on the pitch, but good acceleration is crucial for the advanced playmaker to gain a yard on the opponent before using the space to play a well-measured through ball for his striker.
He can get away with slightly poor physical attributes compared to other midfield roles like the regista, mezzala, or box-to-box midfielder, however, ensure you have a system that hides his lack of physicality in the heart of your midfield.
A few other attributes like finishing, long shots, corners, and free-kick taking are nice bonuses to have on your advanced playmaker, but they are not necessarily crucial in how he goes about his job.
Player Traits For An Advanced Playmaker In Football Manager
The following player traits will make your advanced playmaker more effective in his role;
- Tries killer balls often – As your creative outlet, the advanced playmaker should be encouraged to play low percentage passes that may put strikers through on goal.
- Comes deep to get ball – This player trait encourages the player to drop back, picking up the ball in deep positions and then using his passing range to pick up other attacking players
- Dictates tempo – Especially when playing in central midfield, the playmaker should be responsible for speeding up or slowing the game as he sees it fit.
- Runs with ball often – This applies to when he is on attack duty, encouraging the advanced playmaker to use his impressing dribbling skills to cut through the defence. On support duty, he mainly relies on his passing to progress the ball up the pitch.
- Looks for pass rather than attempting to score – The advanced playmaker will be more likely to pass to his teammates rather than going for goal by himself. However, I would only train this player trait on an advanced playmaker who has less than 10 in finishing.
Unsuitable Player Traits For An Advanced Playmaker In Football Manager
These player traits will prevent the advanced playmaker from going about his job in the most effective way;
- Plays short simple passes – Safe sideways passing will not unlock the opposition’s defence. This player trait is only useful on defensive midfielders and centre backs who have a limited passing range
- Likes to beat offside trap – The advanced playmaker should not be making runs in behind the defensive line. He is supposed to operate in the hole just in front of the opposition’s defence, attempting these kinds of passes to break the opposition’s offside trap.
- Dwells on ball – The advanced playmaker is responsible for keeping the team’s attacking play ticking, dwelling on the ball slows down the attack, often killing momentum.