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How to get more points and improve team morale by selecting the right captain (FM2017 how-to guide + case study)

Today I’m going to show you my exact process for choosing the best captain.

Choosing the right leader of the team is one of the easiest ways to optimize your FM 2017 game.

On the field it will help you get more points, by having a leader that inspires the rest of the team.

And off the field, it will help improve team morale.

Which gives you a positive re-enforcement cycle which helps earn more points and…

… well you get the picture.

Oh, and there is one more thing…

It doesn’t cost anything and takes 5 minutes.

And in today’s post I’ll reveal the exact step-by-step process that I use to select and use my captain on Football Manager, which will lead to results like the team talk below.

Team talk FM2017

How to choose your captain

In choosing your captain there are 3 primary factors to and 6 supporting factors to consider.

The 3 primary factors are must haves for a good captain and the 6 supporting factors are nice to have.

My rule of thumb is that all three primary factors must be in place while I am satisfied with 3/6 supporting factors being there.

And don’t worry if it sounds a bit confusing – I’ll get to that in the case study when we select a Manchester United captain.

Primary factors

The three primary factors are:

  1. Attributes
  2. Squad status
  3. Personality

So naturally, we’ll take them in order and start of by analyzing the attributes.

Step #1: Analyze player attributes

The first step in analyzing player attributes is to understand, what the important attributes are.

The single most important attribute is a player’s leadership. And what does leadership do, you might ask? Well, it is actually pretty self-explanatory, so the higher the attribute the better the player is as a leader.

The second most important attribute is determination. Determination basically shows “how much a player wants to win”. A high rating thus ensures that the leader is inspirational and provides a good example to his teammates by always applying himself.

Finally, I’ll look at bravery, teamwork and work rate. These are far less important than leadership and determination but are nevertheless, nice to have.

Case study, step #1: Shortlist of potential Manchester United captains.

During this case study I will show you the exact process I use whenever I choose a captain.

I will show this through selecting a captain in my Manchester United FM17 save game.

First thing to do is select the mental overview by pressing 1, 2 and 3 as shown in the screenshot below from the squad overview screen (shortcut F3).

FM2017: Select mental overview

This will bring up the following overview.

FM17: Leadership

In this overview, you press the “LDR” button to sort the players by leadership.

FM2017: Sort by leadership

Having sorted the players by leadership we see there are six players on our captain shortlist based on their attributes. How did I get there?

First off, we look at the most important attribute leadership (highlighted in red).

Bastian Schweinsteiger is the main candidate with a rating of 18, but Zlatan, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Romero also have fine ratings.

Secondarily, we look at determination (orange) where between these four the attribute ranges from 14-16 with Sergio Romero and again Bastian Schweinsteiger leading.

Finally, we look at the least important attributes bravery, teamwork and work rate (in green). In these attributes, Wayne Rooney is the main candidate with 2*18 and one 15 attribute. Both Sergio Romero and Zlatan falls behind in the “race for captaincy” due to their low ratings in team work and work rate.

I mentioned I had six captaincy candidates but have only highlighted four so far.

Looking across all five attributes, I also note that Daley Blind and Phil Jones score rather high on all attributes but leadership. So does Morgan Schneiderlin but a rating of 12 in leadership is simply too low for me.

So our shortlist at this point is:

Main candidates for captaincy:

  • Bastian Schweinsteiger
  • Wayne Rooney

Less likely, but still in the race:

  • Zlatan
  • Serio Romero
  • Daly Blind
  • Phil Jones

Step #2: Make sure the player is a starter

Your captain must be a regular starter for your team.

After all, he won’t do much good on the pitch if he’s warming the bench or sitting in the stands.

As such, his squad status needs to be either key player or first team. This will also ensure other players look up to him.

There are several ways to check this and we will again use our Manchester United case study to show you the easiest method.

Case study, step #2: Ensuring my captain is a star

From step #1 we had our players sorted by leadership.

Directly from this screen go to the contract screen as shown below.

FM17: Captain - go to squad status

Which will give you the squad status we are looking for.

FM2017: Squad status

Looking at our shortlist of six, it is clear that only Zlatan Ibrahimovic (key player) and Wayne Rooney (first team) has the necessary squad status.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, Daley Blind and Phil Jones are borderline choices with a rotation status.

And Sergio Romero drops out of the race at the virtue of being a backup player.

But that is not all…

You can see that I have already selected my expected lineup for the season, and of the now five candidates, only Zlatan is an expected starter.

I also know, that I had both Wayne Rooney and Daley Blind as someone who are very close to the starting line-up.

Based on this I will update Daley Blind’s status to “First team” and my updated shortlist will be:

Main candidates:

  • Wayne Rooney
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Back-up candidate:

  • Daley Blind

Still a candidate, but unlikely:

  • Bastian Schweinsteiger
  • Phil Jones

Step #3: Find a captain with a strong and positive personality

A player with a strong and positive personality is a must when choosing your captain.

This ensures he will display a good attitude on the pitch and be a role model off the pitch. Generally, I go for players with the higher professionalism.

Secondarily, I make sure the rest of the players in the team have a similar personality.

Case study, step #3: Ensuring my captain has a star personality

In terms of player personality on FM you have to look at the information screen on each player. From the player screen go to the information tab as shown below.

FM 2017: Go to player information screen

Once in the information screen, find the personality of the player as highlighted below.

FM17: Player personality

We see that Zlatan’s personality is fairly ambitious. Being ambitious is of course good, but the “fairly” in front of it also means it could be better.

Below, the personality of all the candidates is listed:

Main candidates:

  • Wayne Rooney – Ambitious
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Fairly ambitious

Back-up candidate:

  • Daley Blind – Professional

Still a candidate, but unlikely:

  • Bastian Schweinsteiger – Light hearted
  • Phil Jones – Professional

For a personlity guide you can go here. Suffice to say, is that Wayne Rooney, Daley Blind and Phil Jones all have personalities very suited to being a captain, Zlatan is just behind, and the personality of Bastian Schweinsteiger is somewhat weak for a captain.

At this point, unless Wayne Rooney and Zlatan fail horribly on the supporting factors, I will choose one of these two as captain, and the other as vice captain.

Step #4: Ensuring the Supporting Factors are satisfactory

The factors already presented are key in ensuring that you choose the best possible captain. Having done this analysis, we will now move to the supporting factors which although less important, still play a significant role.

  • Age: Ideally, the captain should be one of the older members of the squad. As is the case in real life, people generally have more respect for people with more experience and this also holds true in FM.
  • Time at club: The longer the player has been at the club the better. Unless a new signing is a much, much better captain on the primary factors than the current captain, I always aim for a player to have been there for six months (if signed in January) or a year (if signed in the Summer transfer window).
  • Position: It is slightly better to have a midfielder as captain, than it is to have an attacker or defender, which again is better than having a goalkeeper. A midfielder will be “close to the action” and the other players all the time, whereas this is more limited for attackers and defenders, and even rarer for goalkeepers. However, this is not a high impact item and I have had goalkeepers as captain because they scored high on other parameters.
  • Reputation: It is generally better to have a player of high reputation as the captain. This is strongly linked to the ability of the player and will generally be closely related to the status of the player, which we checked in step #2.
  • Relationships: It is helpful if the captain is liked by the other team members, i.e. he shows up under their favored personnel. However, it is far more important to check that he is not disliked by the other players.
  • Language: Naturally, it becomes a bit hard for the player to communicate with others, if he speaks a different language. So a Captain in England should speak English, a captain in Spain should speak Spanish and so forth.

Step #4 case study: The easy way to quickly scan whether supporting factors are in place

Age, time at club and position can all be found in the overview or history screen of the player.

The three other parameters, reputation, relationships and language can all be found from the personal information. This is the same page on which we found the personality of the players.

FM17: Player personality

In the screenshot above, we have shown where to locate:

  1. The reputation of Zlatan is 4 star. This is very good and only the very best players in the game have a higher rating.
  2. It can easily be seen whether there are any current teammates with whom Zlatan has a great relationship – they will be listed as team mates. As can be seen, there are only a former teammate here.
  3. Here we are looking to see how he speaks the language of the country he is playing in. Zlatan is fluent in English.

The other factors not shown in the screenshot are the following:

  1. Zlatan is 34 so he is definitely old enough to be captain. My rule of thumb is that if the player is above 28, his age doesn’t make much of a difference.
  2. Zlatan has only just recently joined the club which brings down his ability as a captain somewhat.
  3. His position is attacker. It would be better if he was a midfielder but again, not a big negative.

Below, I have listed the values for Wayne Rooney.

  1. Wayne Rooney has a 2½ star reputation. Advantage Zlatan
  2. He doesn’t have any favored personnel in the team. Advantage no one
  3. Wayne Rooney is also fluent in English… Advantage no one
  4. Rooney is 30 years old. Both are well over 28 so again, advantage no one
  5. Wayne Rooney has been at the club for +10 years. Advantage Wayne Rooney
  6. While he started as an attacker, I will employ Wayne Rooney more in midfield. Advantage Rooney.

Based on this, Wayne Rooney has a slight advantage over Zlatan in the supporting factors.

Let’s now combine this with our primary factors to choose a captain:

Let’s recap attributes, squad status and personality:

  • Zlatan has 16 in leadership where Rooney has 15. Otherwise, Wayne Rooney has the best stats. Advantage Rooney
  • Zlatan will be a sure starter in every game, whereas Rooney is closer to being a rotation player. Clear advantage Zlatan
  • The Swede has a personality of fairly ambitious, while Wayne Rooney is ambitious. Slight advantage Wayne Rooney

It is a close contest who to pick, and you can well argue for one or the other. You cannot say one will absolutely without a doubt be better than the other.

With that out of the way, I will make a case for Wayne Rooney. His attributes are better suited for a captain, he has the better personality and he has been at the club for a long time.

And that is it. We have appointed a strong captain for our team. In the next section, we will focus on how to get the most out of our new, strong leader.

Getting the most out of your captain through using captain responsibilities

As mentioned in the beginning, there are two ways the captain helps the team. The first is his leadership on the field and the second is ambassadorial duties (as it has so eloquently been named by the developers of FM, SI).

Luckily, leadership on the field happens automatically every time your captain plays and is established the minute he is selected. So, lean back and watch your team get more points with your new, strong captain.

However, if you stop here you have really only used half the power of the captain.

From my experience, his leadership of the field is just as important as leadership on it and in the following we will show you how on when, to use the captain’s ambassadorial duties.

Using ambassadorial duties for love, peace and harmony

Well, I might have overstated the headline but you get the idea. The off-pitch duties can be incredibly important for your success in Football Manager.

There are four distinct ambassadorial conversations you can have with your captain (and vice-captain).

They are:

  1. Opinion on team morale, which is important in assessing the mood of the team before holding a team meeting
  2. He can talk to an unhappy teammate
  3. Resolve a conflict that has occurred between two teammates
  4. Welcome new signings

We will now jump back to our newly appointed Manchester United captain to show you how and when to use these options.

#1, #2 and #3 can be handled from the ambassadorial duties screen shown below. The options will only be available if they are relevant at the moment.

To ask for the captain’s opinion on team morale go to the following screen.

FM2017: Go to team morale

This will bring up the following screen.

I usually just
press the top button in a calm way and you will get an update on team morale.

FM2017: Captain - team morale

Awesome. The lads are happy.

To use this information now go hold a team meeting.

FM17: Team meeting

This will bring you to team meeting screen.

Team meeting screen

Here I will most often use a passionate team talk and based on what Rooney said I will select 2 and 3, as these options fit with the individual talk I had with Rooney.

Team meeting what to select

I select the optio highlighted with the number 3. Everyone reacted favourably and I will end the team talk pressing 1 in a calm way.

Team talk FM2017

Voila, everyone is happy. 7 players improved in morale and the remainder stayed at the same level.

Positive effects of the team talk

Several good things happened here.

  1. Improved relationship with my captain, Wayne Rooney by having a good pre-team talk with him
  2. Improved relationship with all players by having a good team talk
  3. Improved morale of 7 players which will help me win more games

What’s not to like?

Using the captain to resolve conflicts

In terms of #2 and #3 (unhappy teammates and conflicts) there is a greater risk in using the captain as he can get unsettled by talking to these players.

Therefore I only use him of high priority players are unhappy or involved in a conflict. As a rule of thumb, the player has to be in the starting 11 for me to use the captain in regards to an unhappy player

Using the captain to welcome new players

The fourth thing you can utilize your captain for is to welcome new players. I always, always use this feature.

FM 2017: Captain welcome new signing

You can access the menu from your inbox by doing the following:

Press “Speak to Rooney”.

The following menu will be brought up.

FM17: Captain welcome new signing

From here press “As captain it would be great if you could take the time out to welcome new player to the club.

This will help the new player settle quicker and further, it improves team morale and team cohesion.

Now it’s Your turn

Now that you’ve seen my how to do it, I’d like to hear from you.

What do you think of my guide to selecting a captain?

Too long, too short or, just right?

Or maybe you have a question about a step in the process.

Either way, leave a comment below.

I’ll be around to reply to comments and answer questions.

So if you have a question or thought, leave a comment right now.

David - May 5, 2017

Rooney: He doesn’t have any favored personnel in the team. Advantage no one
I think Z.Ibrah have a advantage at this factor.

    GuidoSteve - May 10, 2017

    In the original DB at the start of the season none of them have any (might have changed in Winter update), but Zlatan is definitely more likely to get some during the season than Rooney.

Idris - August 1, 2017

Rooney sucks at captain. He mostly doesn’t agree to talk to teammate, welcome players to club or tutor players. If you try to remove him, he’ll get angry. If you are using 4231, Mata and Zlatan start ahead of him.

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