There are some roles in FM which are more difficult to get working properly than others, the roaming playmaker is one of them.
Football manager describes the roaming playmaker as the heartbeat of the team, driving forward with the ball to spearhead attacks as well as tracking back to cover defensively. Always offering a passing option to teammates.
From the definition, the roaming playmaker is a combination of the box-to-box midfielder and the advanced playmaker.
Unlike the box-to-box midfielder’s movement which is more linear from defence to attack depending on where the ball is, the roaming playmaker will move in different directions covering the whole pitch, moving into areas where he feels he will be most effective.
This movement all over the pitch makes it sensible to partner the roaming playmaker with a midfield partner who is more disciplined to reduce the chances of your team getting exposed in midfield when the roaming playmaker goes about his roaming business, vacating his position.
I personally only play the roaming playmaker in a three-man midfield, or in a narrow diamond formation that has a defensive midfielder, two central midfielders, an attacking midfielder like the shadow striker who will concentrate on scoring goals rather than creating chances.
The movement of the roaming playmaker in turn demands physically strong players with good stamina, work rate, and natural fitness who will be able to keep up the intensity of running around the pitch for 90 minutes for the entirety of a demanding season.
Since the role is a playmaking one, the roaming playmaker’s teammates will consistently look for him to kickstart and orchestrate their attacking moves.
This means in addition to being a solid athlete that can run for days, the roaming playmaker should also possess the vision, flair, and trickery of an advanced playmaker to create chances for the team’s attackers.
Examples of players who can play the roaming playmaker’s role include;
- Paul Pogba – Man United, France
- Bruno Fernandes – Man United, Portugal
- Thiago – Liverpool, Spain
- Bernardo Silva – Man City, Portugal
- Mason Mount – Chelsea, England
- Conor Gallagher – Chelsea, England
- Toni Kroos – Real Madrid, Germany
The main difference between the roaming playmaker and the deep-lying playmaker is that the roaming playmaker has more freedom in his movement both in the attacking and defensive phase of the game while what separates the roaming playmaker from the advanced playmaker is that the roaming playmaker has more defensive duties, unlike the advanced playmaker who will cover his designated area without dropping too deep to help out the defence.
Attributes Required For A Roaming Playmaker In FM
From what we have seen, the roaming playmaker should be a good athlete who can keep up the intensity for the whole 90 minutes, therefore stamina, natural fitness, pace, and acceleration are all crucial when looking for a playmaker who can successfully perform in this role.
As always, for a team playing in the top five leagues, aim for the required attributes to be at least 14 if you are lower in the table and 16 if you are fighting for a Champions League place or the title.
The mental attributes are equally important for a roaming playmaker. Work rate, vision, off-the-ball, and decisions are all required if the roaming playmaker is to give his all for the team.
The roaming playmaker role demands more mental attributes than most other FM roles, and finding a player that is all-rounded here should give a much-needed boost to his performance.
Dribbling, first touch, passing, and technique are all crucial while a good long shot rating is also needed as the roaming playmaker will occasionally find himself at the edge of the opposition’s 18-yard box from where he will take long shots should the opportunity arise.
Player Traits Suitable For A Roaming Playmaker In FM
Since the playmaker is a combination of the box-to-box midfielder and the advanced playmaker, he will need player traits that facilitate creating chances and also being a presence in defence.
The following player traits will aid a roaming playmaker to go about his business;
- Arrives late in opponent’s area – After progressing play from his own defensive third, the roaming playmaker should be encouraged to arrive late in the box to meet cutbacks from fullbacks or the wingers.
- Comes deep to get ball – Out of possession, the roaming playmaker should be comfortable dropping back, picking up the ball from the defensive players then actively progressing forward orchestrating the team’s attack.
- Runs with ball through centre – If he has good dribbling and flair, the roaming playmaker should be encouraged to use his trickery to charge through midfield and into the final third.
- Tries killer balls often – All playmakers should be encouraged to consistently use their superior passing and vision to create chances for the strikers
- Dictates tempo – Just like the regista and the mezzala, the roaming playmaker should be comfortable determining the pace at which his team plays the game, slowing it down or raising it as he sees it fit.
Note that the roaming playmaker does not need to have each of the above player traits for him to perform well. One or two should be sufficient as long as they complement your team’s play style.
Roaming Playmaker Tactic In FM
As I have already mentioned, I only ever use the roaming playmaker if he has other midfielders around to cover for him.
This limits situations where he goes forward, and gets dispossessed, creating counter-attacking opportunities for the opposition in case there is no sufficient cover at the back.
With this in mind, I have the roaming playmaker partnered with a carrilero and an anchorman behind them.
Despite the formation being narrow, the carrilero and the roaming playmaker should have some presence in the wider midfield areas while the wing backs will shoulder the most burden in providing the width as is expected of them.
The shadow striker in the AMC position will aid the roaming playmaker in creating some chances for the deep-lying forward and the advanced forward. Furthermore, he will also be played in by the deep-lying forward who excels in holding up play for those making runs from midfield into the opposition’s final third.
The advanced forward should spearhead the attack, often moving into the wide areas, and occasionally delivering crosses into the area for the deep lying forward and the shadow striker to head in.
This particular tactic can be tweaked from being possession-based into a counter-attacking one that takes advantage of the shadow striker’s and the roaming playmaker’s passing abilities to quickly transition the team from defence to attack in an instant.
You can change the role of the goalkeeper to a sweeper-keeper if you want him to be more active in taking part in developing play from the back.