Guide To The Complete Forward In Football Manager

The complete forward as indicated by his name is truly a striker who is complete in his game. There is nothing that he is incapable of doing, whether being at the end of crosses, running after through balls, holding up play for other attackers, or creating chances for his teammates.

The complete forward is basically a combination of a creative attacking midfielder and a lethal striker.

Football manager describes the complete forward as a player who possesses the technical attributes of a Deep Lying Forward, the goal scoring ability of a Poacher, and the strength and power of a Target Man.

A complete forward in football manager

By this definition, the role becomes extremely demanding attributes wise and as a result, not many strikers in FM can pull off the role effectively.

You might have a good finisher in your hands, but his ability to bring others into play is poor, or on the hand, you might have a player who is comfortable bringing others into play, but his finishing ability is questionable making the player suitable for a more withdrawn role like the false 9, deep lying forward or the target man. The selfish striker should then be assigned as a poacher or an advanced forward if he is capable of leading the line.

Coming back to the complete forward, FM adds the description that he is so good that he transcends tactical instruction and should simply be allowed to do his own thing.

This little addition in the complete forward’s description has always nudged me to primarily use the complete forward in systems that have only one striker. 

I basically put him up front, and let him do his own thing. He rarely scores as many goals as the advanced forward or poacher, but he will always get more assists than the aforementioned two. 

I also never add any personal instructions that might tweak the way he goes about his business. However, I always make sure that he has enough runners from the wings and central midfield so that he can always have players offering him support in and around the 18-yard box.

In real-world football, Karim Benzema truly encompasses the spirit of a complete forward. Benzema has the flair, trickery, and dribbling ability of a silky winger, the vision and passing ability of an advanced playmaker, and the heading and finishing ability, on either foot no less, of the lethal striker that he is. 

Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski might be more prolific than Benzema, but the Frenchman’s better dribbling ability and close control in tight spaces make him a more complete player in my eyes.

Often dropping deep into Real Madrid’s midfield, Benzema creates space for Vinicius Junior to run into from the wing, from where the Brazilian can be found with accurate long balls from Modric and Co.

In true complete forward’s fashion, Benzema is equally comfortable hanging around the 18-yard box waiting for crosses to be delivered by their wing backs, Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal, or playing the through balls himself to Vinicius Junior, or Rodrygo.

Attributes Required For A Complete Forward In Football Manager

As already touched on, the complete forward is basically a playmaker and a striker in one role. Therefore, he will need attributes that cover the two roles. 

In addition to this, he will also need exceptional mental attributes since he will be making most decisions on his own. Good mental attributes translate to the striker often making decisions that aid the team.

Starting with physical attributes, your complete forward will need a good strength rating to be able to hold up the ball, this should then be supplemented with equally good pace and acceleration for the times he will be running after through balls and also a good balance and jumping reach for the aerial balls. 

The mental attributes are equally demanding with a good attribute rating needed in anticipation, composure, decisions, off the ball, teamwork, vision, and work rate. If you want your complete forward to be dribbling past people, a good flair rating is also needed.

On the technical side, dribbling, finishing, first touch, heading, long shots, passing, and technique all need to be on the higher side.

Depending on your tactical style, some attributes will hold more weight than others, for instance, pace and acceleration being more important in counter-attacking systems than pure strength. 

Therefore, you do not need all the highlighted attributes to be 15s and 16s. You can get away with a few of them being lower, especially if they are not central to your attacking play.

Player Traits Suitable For A Complete Forward In Football Manager

The following player traits will aid the movement and overall play of the complete forward. To take a look at those player traits that help strikers find the back of the net, head over here.

  1. Likes to switch ball to other flank – the complete forward should be comfortable switching play to the other side of the field if that is where the space is available
  2. Moves into channels – Moving into channels makes it difficult for the complete forward to be marked by the central defenders and might pull them out of position, creating space for inside forwards or inverted wingers to take advantage of.
  3. Plays with back to goal – This is particularly useful if you have runners from central midfield that can then be played in by the complete forward
  4. Tries killer balls often – As he is expected to create chances for others, this player trait increases the frequency in which he tries these defence-splitting passes.
  5. Plays one-twos – Playing one-twos with his other attacking partners increases the speed the team is playing at, which might unsettle the opposition defence. 
  6. Dictates tempo – Normally a player trait I train on deep lying playmakers and the regista, it encourages the player to dictate the speed the team is playing at, increasing or decreasing it as he sees it fit.

It goes without saying that it is borderline impossible to have a player possess all the above player traits. Therefore, consider your tactic before starting your complete forward training on one of them.

Complete Forward Tactic In Football Manager

In the counter-attacking tactic below, The complete forward should take charge of his striker position while also retaining a presence in the AMC position.

twoplaymakers.com Segundo Volante Tactic FM20

The two inverted wingers, the Advanced playmaker in the CM strata as well as the Segundo Volante starting from the DM position should all link up well with the complete forward as they move into the final third. 

The ball winning midfielder with the defend duty will, however, hold his position to offer protection to the backline when the rest of the team’s midfield join the forward players in attack.

This particular system is suited for teams that do not expect to overwhelmingly dominate possession, but they still carry a sizeable threat on the counterattack.

The two wide players can also be assigned inside forward roles to add more bite to the attack at the cost of some defensive stability.

In possession, the two fullbacks in their support duties will not venture too far, but they might occasionally find themselves in crossing positions from where they will oblige and send in crosses for the complete forward to get at the end of. 

The central defender should keep things nice and simple, while the ball-playing defender at his side will occasionally launch long balls to the forwards. 

The goalkeeper in the defend duty will also keep things nice and tidy, never leaving his 18-yard box to take part in building attacks from the back.