The Unlikely Heroes

I’ve been meaning to write something on this subject for a while but I think with my choice of team in FM20 it gives me an opportunity to revisit this topic, using a few examples from previous FM saves but also look at a potential hero for the save i’m embarking on. I can then hopefully keep you updated on their progress and maybe make you think twice when first assessing your squad on Football Manager.

Now most managers out there tend to start their saves by assessing their squad. We use coach reports, star ratings and attributes to assess our players and itentify where we think we’ll need to recruit. How many of us start a new save, look at the squad and automatically write off anyone with poor attributes and poor star ratings? How many of us then recruit players purely based on attributes and our scout’s report? We’ve all done it, myself included.

Over the past few years though the types of saves I’ve been playing have forced me to rethink how I look at a player and this has led to the creation of some unlikely heroes. What I aim to do with this post his share a few of those heroes, both at the club initially and recruited at a later point, and give a brief overview of what they achieved. I’ll finish by looking at an individual in my current save who I hope to help also achieve cult status.

Former Heroes

David Wittredi – Debrecen – FM15

The first example I have of where i’ve looked past player attributes and rating (and been rewarded) came back on FM15 whilst managing Debrecen. I had in my squad a number 9 called David Wittredi and he intrigued me. He’d been given the number 9 shirt in real life so surely that meant there was something about him? Funds were limited and the squad was thin on the ground so I thought i’d give him a go.

He impressed me so much I actually wrote a post about Mr Wittredi back on the old FM Now forum which is no longer there, however I did manage to find my original word document with the article which you can read here (I’m unsure whether some of the links have expired or not)

Ricardo Andreutti – Caracas – FM16

My new outlook towards the non spectacular was quickly evident as FM16 saw me head back to South America to take over Venezuelan giants Caracas. One of the key members of that squad from the start was Ricardo Andreutti. I thought at the start of the save that he’d do a job for a bit before being replaced. In fact he only started to no longer be considered a regular as he approached his mid 30s. By this point he’d won back-to back Copa Libertadores, played in the World Cup and the semi final of the Copa America. Solid but unspectacular, he could always be relied on to provide a shield in front of the defence, allowing the rest of the team to flourish, especially Hugo Ojeda. A real unsung hero of the regime.

Solid but unspectacular, he could always be relied on to provide a shield in front of the defence, allowing the rest of the team to flourish, especially Hugo Ojeda. A real unsung hero of the regime.

Hamdan Al-Kamali – Al-Wahda – FM17

A player that had formerly spent time at Lyon in a youth, but known to be a bit hit and miss in real life. Part of my initial squad he started as playing out of necessity but went on to be so consistent he never lost his place. A classy ball playing defender for both club and Country, he established himself as one of the best defenders in Asia. A record number of appearances for the club, a trip to the World Cup, multiple league and Cup wins and back to back AFCL wins, made him a club legend.

A record number of appearances for the club, a trip to the World Cup, multiple league and Cup wins and back to back AFCL wins, made him a club legend.

Mohammed Al-Ghanodi – Al-Ahli (LBY) – FM18

A player who was transfer listed and shoved in the reserves when i arrived at the club. I would say 99% of FM players would have gotten rid of him in the same way i thought to at the start. Unfortunately no one wanted him other than Al Madina who offered to take him on loan for 50% of his wages. 14 goals in 6 months and a little bit of research led to rethink my opinion of him and i decided to recall him early and the rest they say is history.

The eventual club captain and legend won it all, leading my all conquering Al Ahli side to every piece of African silverware available as well as lifting 2 Club World Championship Trophies. He also scored over 100 goals for the club, 89 of them in the league and scored 11 goals in his 69 caps, including a couple of crucial goals in both of Libya’s AFCON appearances. Sadly he never had the opportunity to play in a World Cup but i’m sure he would have impressed had we ever made it there.

(Super) Lin Liangming – Zheijang Greenton – FM19

The most recent of the unlikely heroes was Super Lin, who arrived in my second season with Zheijang. I found him in the Real Madrid youth team and despite not looking particularly great attribute wise i thought he’d be worth a punt given where he was playing.

I was not disappointed as the speed demon captured the hearts of the Zheijang faithful and FM community alike as his raw pace and long distance shooting saw him give other defenders nightmares. Sadly one nasty injury saw him miss 3 months of his first season but there was still enough time for him to become my favourite player of FM19. He was largely responsible for us finishing second in our first season in the Chinese Super League and he was all set to take the Asian Champions League by storm. It wasn’t to be as he was cruelly taken from me and sold to Beijing behind my back. Thankfully for Super Lin he went on to become a star for them, scoring 13 goals and establishing himself in the Chinese national side but never got to play in the Champions League again.. If I’d kept him FM19 might have been different but for the one season I had him he became a hero.

Future Hero?

Dante Osorio – Potros UAEM – FM20

So this brings me onto who I see as having the potential to be an unlikely hero this year.

In my eyes to be an unlikely hero you need to be a player that isn’t going to set the world alight attribute wise on FM however they have something about them in real life that makes you think that maybe you should past the attributes in order to be rewarded.

Dante Osorio is no exception.

Potros born and bred, he started his career playing for Potros’ semi professional side in the Mexican fifth tier. He scored for fun in his two seasons for the club and was promoted to the first team. Since then he’s been instrumental in the rise of Potros to the Liga Ascenso, scoring an impressive 141 goals in 232 appearances (Wikipedia) and is only 26. On the face of it he’s nothing special from an FM point of view but that’s not stopped me in the past.

What makes an unlikely hero?

The way I normally go about looking at it is how I can get the best out of the player sat in front of me. His record tells me he can score goals so I need to give him the best opportunity to do that. It would be unrealistic to think he’s going to be an all around star of the side, I’ll have other players to do that. What i need to ensure is that he’s in the right place at the right time and give him the best opportunity I can, to do what he does best… score goals.

The first place to start is looking at my tactic the M-Anchor or currently known as “Riding my ponay all night long” and where I expect the goals to come from.

The obvious place for goals would be from my lone striker however as i know from experience, that part of the pitch tends to be particularly crowded and with him not being the biggest, could become anonymous when facing a deep and compact defence. The other area of my tactic that I expect goals to come from is my shadow striker. This would involve retraining him in this position however I think with his movement he’d have more opportunities at getting a shot at goal when operating between the fullback and centre back rather than between 2 centre backs. After all this is where Mohammed Al Ghanodi had a lot of joy on FM18 and I see a lot of similarities in Dante. I’ll have to assess this as I get further into the save and look at how Dante is doing, what he’s doing well and not so well.

The other important element required, in finding an unlikely hero is patience. There is no guarantee that Dante Osorio is going to score 30 goals in his first season, if he managed double figures in our first year I’d be pleased. Ultimately his success will be determined by others and as I improve our creative areas of the team I’d expect him to thrive. He will always have a ceiling and is unlikely to ever go on to represent Mexico but as the club progresses I hope to have him there, ready to come on with 20 mins to go and go out there and bag the winner for the club he loves.

You might call it putting heart over head but sometimes the best saves are made not by a wonderkid or record signing, but a player initially written off who ends up being an unlikely hero.

Whether Dante lives up to his FM predecessors only time will tell, he might also not be the only unlikely hero in the save, there are other Potros academy graduates in the squad that may well upstage him but on first look he is the most likely. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on their progress either way.

Thanks for reading and hopefully this article has made some people maybe rethink the way they look at certain players. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Slack for more live updates on how may save is getting on.

Diego

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