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30 Years of Full Detail: Analysis of Long-Term Player and Squad Development


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The competitiveness and balance of long-term saves is one of the most frequently discussed topics on this forum, but as much as we argue about it, I rarely see much actual data to provide a clear foundation for the debate. To remedy this, I decided to run a long-term holiday save with a large database, 11 playable countries and all five of the top European leagues (as well as the Champions League and Europa League) on full detail. Over the next two weeks, I will be posting and analyzing data gathered from these saves in order to identify areas where FM13 has improved long-term game world development as well as areas where it remains weak. Below, I will begin by looking at player quality in the most general terms (i.e., current ability). Later this week, I will examine the game world in further detail by looking at player diversity and the availability of specific player roles, the distribution of player personalities and the frequency of players with major personality flaws, overall league competitiveness and AI tactics. Finally, next week, I will analyze whether, as FM13 advertised in the previews, long-term AI squads actually fit AI managers' tactical preferences.

But before all that, five questions answered:

1) Why full detail?

Normally, when a league is simulated without a human-controlled manager, it uses a "quick match engine" to reduce processing time. The "quick match engine" does not calculate results down to each individual touch but instead relies more on overall player CA and club reputation. This likely leads to more "stable" league results over time, so to prevent this influencing the development of the game world and potentially concealing any problems the full match engine might introduce, I ran the top 5 European leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1) on full detail.

2) Why 30 years?

Basically, 30 years ensures that all real players and nearly all real staff have long since retired. This means that at least one full generation of regens has emerged and retired themselves while the current generation of regens has been completely removed from all real players, even youngsters. Essentially, 30 years was the nearest likely "equilibrium point" that reflects what an ongoing save (40 year, 50 year, etc.) would look like. Of course, there are a few perennial issues with the brief period where the real players collide with the first generation of regens (namely, older real players playing past their peak based on reputation), but these quirks appear to be fairly isolated overall and don't appear to have any permanent impact on the nature of the game world.

3) Was the game patched while you were running this save?

No. I did not want any ME changes influencing the game world, so I actually restarted this project when 13.2.1 was introduced. This save was simulated entirely with the latest patch installed.

4) What about the influence of human players?

Obviously, skilled human players will "imbalance" the game world in ways that won't be reflected in a holiday save, but since the main issues concerning long-term saves are AI player development and squad-building, I wanted to look at how the AI performs on its own terms without data that partially reflected a human player's ability to develop youngsters. Additionally, part of the reason I started this project was to identify possible bugs well before the final patch is expected to be released. Unfortunately, I do not have time to play 30 seasons between the release of 13.2.1 and mid-February.

5) Can I download the save to use for an all-regen future save?

Unfortunately, the save file is over 700mb in size, and I do not have any means of making a file that size available at the moment.

Now, onto the data:

General Save Information

Database Size: Large, 53k players, No Custom Editor Files Used

Playable Nations: England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil

Full Detail Competitions: English Premier Division, Ligue 1, German First Division, Serie A, Liga BBVA, Champions League, Europa League, Super Cup, World Cup, European Championships

Actual Player Population

2012: 56,510

2042: 56,408

As you can see, the game does a good job regulating the size of the player population, and purely in terms of CA, the game does a good job of repopulating the top leagues with comparably skilled players. Below, you will find a comparison of squads from 2012 and 2042. I've grouped the clubs from each league by overall ability level into four groups of five and averaged the CA range and median CA of their senior players (age 21+).

AVERAGE SQUAD ABILITY

Premier League 2012

Top 5 - 21 players age 21+, Range 124 - 172, Median 152

Upper Mid-Table - 20 players age 21+, Range 116 - 159, Median 138

Lower Mid-Table - 23 players age 21+, Range 111 - 149, Median 133

Bottom 5 - 22 players age 21+, Range 104 -142, Median 128

Premier League 2042

Top 5 - 21 players age 21+, Range 126-182, Median 161

Upper Mid-Table - 20 players age 21+, Range 130-166, Median 150

Lower Mid-Table - 22 players age 21+, Range 119-157, Median 139

Bottom 5 - 20 players age 21+, Range 107-144, Median 129

In the case of the Premier League, most teams actually improved in terms of overall CA with senior squad size remaining very consistent. The exceptions are the relegation candidate teams which remained at about the same ability level, though looking at clubs in the Championship, there were several promotion candidates who fell into the "lower mid-table" ability range of the Premier League, so it's not all just mediocrity below the top division's bottom 15.

La Liga 2012

Top 5 - 21 players age 21+, Range 115 - 175, Median 152

Upper Mid-Table - 22 players age 21+, Range 88 - 151, Median 134

Lower Mid-Table - 22 players age 21+, Range 109 - 143, Median 131

Bottom 5 - 22 players age 21+, Range 79 - 140, Median 124

La Liga 2042

Top 5 - 23 players age 21+, Range 124 - 176, Median 149

Upper Mid-Table - 23 players age 21+, Range 99 - 157, Median 137

Lower Mid-Table - 24 players age 21+, Range 110 - 146, Median 128

Bottom 5 - 26 players age 21+, Range 92 - 136, Median 117

Now, unlike the Premier League, overall ability in la Liga remained mostly consistent with 2042. Though median CA dropped for the bottom 5, this appears to be a result of senior squad size growing somewhat. With Serie A and the Bundesliga, on the other hand, there did appear to be a very slight decline of the overall quality of the smallest clubs while other areas of the table maintained their original ability level:

Serie A 2012

Top 5 - 21 players age 21+, Range 116 - 166, Median 144

Upper Mid-Table - 21 players age 21+, Range 112 - 153, Median 133

Lower Mid-Table - 22 players age 21+, Range 105 - 144, Median 129

Bottom 5 - 21 players age 21+, Range 107 - 138, Median 124

Serie A 2042

Top 5 - 24 players age 21+, Range 120 - 162, Median 141

Upper Mid-Table - 23 players age 21+, Range 109 - 156, Median 134

Lower Mid-Table - 23 players age 21+, Range 106 - 145, Median 127

Bottom 5 - 19 players age 21+, Range 96 - 140, Median 116

Bundesliga 2012

Top 5 - 22 players age 21+, Range 93 - 161, Median 140

Upper Mid-Table - 25 players age 21+, Range 87 - 153, Median 130

Lower Mid-Table - 23 players age 21+, Range 85 - 140, Median 126

Bottom 3 - 25 players age 21+, Range 74 - 133, Median 124

Bundesliga 2042

Top 5 - 26 players age 21+, Range 118 - 167, Median 146

Upper Mid-Table - 24 players age 21+, Range 108 - 151, Median 132

Lower Mid-Table - 23 players age 21+, Range 104 - 142, Median 123

Bottom 3 - 19 players age 21+, Range 99 - 132, Median 117

Essentially, purely in terms of CA, FM does not have a noticeable problem with repopulating the top divisions. But is this a result of the leagues simply importing foreign talent originating from smaller leagues? To some extent, yes, but the drop in homegrown talent wasn't particularly precipitous. In the Premier League, where overall squad ability increased, the proportion of English players only dropped from a plurality of 44% to a plurality of 32%. In Spain, the proportion of Spanish players dropped from a majority of 68% to a majority of 59%. Serie A, on the other hand, saw no change in the number of Italians playing in the league.

NATIONALITY COMPOSITION OF TOP FOUR LEAGUES (PLAYERS AGE 21+)

PREMIER LEAGUE 2012: 44% English, 5% Scottish, 4% Welsh

PREMIER LEAGUE 2042: 32% English, 5% Scottish, 4% Welsh

LA LIGA 2012: 68% Spanish

LA LIGA 2042: 59% Spanish

SERIE A 2012: 59% Italian

SERIE A 2042: 59% Italian

BUNDESLIGA 2012: 53% German

BUNDESLIGA 2042: 46% German

So again, top divisions repopulate well in terms of CA and they do so without an unrealistic decline in homegrown talent, but what about lower divisions and smaller leagues? At a glance, squads in the Championship, Eredivisie, etc. look consistent with 2012, but to get a better idea of how lower leagues were doing, I examined the population of all players organized into nine categories from amateur (CA 0-39) to "legendary" (CA 180-200). This, IMO, reveals the main issues with long-term player development and game balance:

2012

Legendary Players (180-200): 6

World Class Players (160-179): 90

International-level Players (140-159): 711

Top Division-level Players (120-139): 4133

Second Division-level Players (100-119): 8404

Third Division-level Players (80-99): 14579

Fourth Division-level Players (60-79): 12853

Semi-Professional-level Players (40-59): 8585 (4078 or 48% age 21+)

Amateur-level Players (0-39): 7149 (1049 or 15% age 21+)

2042

Legendary Players (180-200): 14

World Class Players (160-179): 159

International-level Players (140-159): 1048

Top Division-level Players (120-139): 3760

Second Division-level Players (100-119): 5840

Third Division-level Players (80-99): 8921

Fourth Division-level Players (60-79): 9686

Semi-Professional-level Players (40-59): 9972 (3584 or 36% age 21+)

Amateur-level Players (0-39): 17009 (6114 or 36% age 21+)

As you can see, there is actually some slight "CA inflation" at the top level, though it appears to be much improved compared to FM12 where top division CA inflation was out of control on large databases (as "new Messis" would frequently emerge from obscure inactive nations in central Asia and east Africa).

However, the opposite is the case below the top division. Whereas the overall combined population of top division to legendary players remains consistent, there is a massive drop in the number of lower league professional and semi-professional-level players while the population of amateur-level players (CA 0-39) more than doubles. To ensure that this didn't just reflect an increase in the number of 15/16 year-old academy players, I looked at the age of amateur and semi-professional players, but while the proportion of semi-professional-level players age 21 or older dropped slightly from 48% to 36%, the proportion of amateur-level players age 21 or older more than doubled from 15% to 36%.

Essentially, while top division and larger second division-level clubs are doing a great job of repopulating themselves, lower leagues struggle to develop a sufficient number of players matching their initial ability level, and while the state of the lower leagues isn't terrible (there are, after all, still thousands of third and fourth division-level players developing), it appears player development still needs to be tweaked to ensure that about 10,000 more players develop beyond the amateur level (and without sending top division CA inflation out of control). [EDIT: See Riz's comment below for more details on why this happens]

Now, just to quickly examine where these players are failing to develop, I took a look at the number of English semi-professional and amateur-level players to see if this had something to do with the "playability" of a league.

2012

English Second Division-level Players: 410

English Third Division-level Players: 608

English Fourth Division-level Players: 788

English Semi-Professional-level Players: 1078

English Amateur-level Players: 1809

2042

English Second Division-level Players: 468

English Third Division-level Players: 833

English Fourth Division-level Players: 899

English Semi-Professional-level Players: 1000

English Amateur-level Players: 1313

Interesting and impressive! As you can see, the number of low-quality players from playable England actually drops. But what about the lower levels of nonplayable leagues? Looking at places like Switzerland and Ukraine in 2042, I didn't see any significant inconsistency with 2012 numbers, so I went back to look at the lower levels of other playable nations. Here's Germany:

2012

German Second Division-level Players: 493

German Third Division-level Players: 1143

German Fourth Division-level Players: 1049

German Semi-Professional-level Players: 262

German Amateur-level Players: 292

2042

German Second Division-level Players: 429

German Third Division-level Players: 708

German Fourth Division-level Players: 539

German Semi-Professional-level Players: 457

German Amateur-level Players: 1159

And there they are. In playable nations outside of England, there is a massive decline in lower league clubs' ability to repopulate themselves with players of comparable ability. The good news is that this doesn't appear to be a particularly difficult problem to address. After all, if England can be properly balanced, the same can be done for Germany and Portugal, and if it's just a matter of foreign lower league academies and training facilities being underrated, this can be corrected with a few adjustments to the database. [EDIT: In fact, it appears to be simply an issue of ensuring enough lower division leagues are active. With its third division and regional leagues active/playable, Germany should produce a much more stable distribution of ability.]

UP NEXT: CA inflation and player nationality...

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Great idea. I wish I'd had the time and a laptop fast enough to do this myself as its something I'm really interested in. Your data could well help editors when making custom databases too, to see what areas can be improved on (i.e. youth quality, attribute templates, and club infrastructure for example).

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This thread is an excellent look at long term games, great work The Hand of God, glad to see that there is an improvement from previous years, hopefully with the numbers there can be a look at the other playable leagues. Would be interesting to see if making a league like Sweden (or Smaller) playable makes a difference to their numbers as well.

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Thanks for the feedback. I have a bit more data ready right now, but since the game just patched again, there may be a bit of delay before I move on to looking at player roles and personalities.

But a quick update on why Germany fails to develop lower league players while England succeeds:

First, it doesn't look like it has anything to do with youth training. While it's a bit tricky to compare since the German league structure breaks down to a regional basis at the fourth tier, the quality of youth coaching and youth facilities at the German regional level is comparable to that you'll find in nPower League 2 and the Blue Square Premier League. It's also not an issue of national youth rating since Germany's youth rating is much higher than England's.

So I suspect that it may actually have something to do with inactive leagues in playable nations. Whereas I simulated England down to League 2 (the fourth division), only the first two divisions of the German league structure were active. So it may be the case that a league needs the league below it to be active to repopulate properly (at least down to the Fourth Division-level as there are enough regens generated at the Semi-Professional level to populate leagues without needing any further player development). This does not appear to be the case in nonplayable nations, though nonplayable nations also have a much smaller player population than playable ones.

Additionally, as you'll see when I update with the data on top division CA inflation, I've noticed that England has benefited from one of the largest increases of world class players, so it's also probably the case that an active third/fourth division causes a significant boost to top level player development. In that case, the key to improving player development outside of England may just be loading custom league structures down to the fourth division-level.

I'll investigate this further when I'm able, but first, I'll post the information on CA and nationality.

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  • SI Staff

We've done similar (albeit a bit more detailed) analysis constantly on the long term player progression for a number of years now. And like you've noted above, overall the newgens and progression work quite well in the long run to keep the game world balanced.

There are a few problems with keeping the CA spread over the different ranges 100% constant with the starting DB spread and one of the main things is the spread of players loaded in for each nation when starting a new game. Typically the game loads in older players in their prime aged from earli 20's to the mid 30's (especially for the inactive nations and inactive leagues in active nations) so the starting data is a bit skewed in that regard. Most of these players are already at or near their peak when it comes to CA, so when the newgens start replacing these players, the overall average age across the DB tends to drop (because the players loaded in the starting DB are weighed towards the older players) and this naturally also means that the average CA goes down as the younger players start with a low CA naturally.

One other factor that contributes to the mid-to-lower CA ranges being a bit "off" in the long term when comparing against starting data is the fact that the better clubs tend to produce quite a lot of newgens that would make up for the older "starting" players retiring from the lower leagues, but since the lower league teams are inactive, they won't be actively signing players to keep their squads as full as they are when just the starting data is loaded in. So there aren't as many former top league youngsters winding up in the lower inactive leagues since these players are likely to retire at a young age if they don't find a club. So a lot of the younger players end up retiring before closing in on their PA and they are replaced with new younger newgens who again start with a low CA.

Hence the increase in the very bottom CA ranges but a shortfall on the mid-to-low ranges just above the bottom two.

Good to hear you are seeing similar results as our soak tests :)

Edit: I meant to check if you had England active down to League 2 as that would explain why they English data was more "accurate" in the long run, as obviously having more lower league teams active will help keep the CA ranges better in line with the starting DB. And by default England is active to L2 whereas the other nations usually have less leagues active. I think you confirmed this in the above post already ?

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Yes, England is active down to League 2 whereas Germany is only active down to the Second Division. It's good to know that less active lower leagues is the reason for the disparity. Thank you for the information.

And generally, I agree with Kriss that the results are very pleasing and impressive. In FM12, there was the whole issue of inactive nations frequently producing Liberian Ronaldos and Uzbeki Messis, but FM13 looks to be vastly improved in that regard and just an amazingly well-balanced simulation altogether. Great work!

This thread is an excellent look at long term games, great work The Hand of God, glad to see that there is an improvement from previous years, hopefully with the numbers there can be a look at the other playable leagues. Would be interesting to see if making a league like Sweden (or Smaller) playable makes a difference to their numbers as well.

Though they're not exactly "small," I'll take a closer look at Russia, Turkey and the Netherlands when I'm able to get back into the data. With that said, I would imagine the issue with the third/fourth division English/German leagues probably applies to the smaller European leagues as well. That is, if you're playing in Superettan, you will want the Swedish Division 1 active/playable to feed players developing at the next lowest ability level into your league.

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PART II: CA INFLATION AND PLAYER NATIONALITY

As I noted in the opening post, the top playable leagues in my database had no problem repopulating themselves with players of comparable ability. In fact, the number of players classed "world class" and "legendary" (CA 160+) actually increased. In 2012, there were 96 players with a CA of 160 or greater. In 2042, this number had inflated to 173. International-level players (i.e., likely internationals and players suitable for Champions League squads) also increased from 711 to 1048.

Overall, however, the number of players with ability in a range suitable for a top division squad did not significantly increase. In 2012, the number of "top division-level" to "legendary" players (CA 120+) was 4940. In 2042, the population of this ability range was 4981. So at the very top level, the suitable player population was remarkably stable, though as you can see in the Premier League numbers in the original post, there was a slight increase in average CA. So at first glance, it appears that the game world is doing a slightly better job of developing high quality players than the "real world" represented by the initial database.

But where are these top level players coming from? Anyone who had a long-term save on FM12 likely remembers the large number of world class players coming from obscure nations and inactive nations with high youth ratings (for example, Egypt, Iran, DR Congo, etc.). But in FM13, this does not happen. While the number of world class & legendary (CA 160+) players from inactive nations did increase, it increased in approximately the same proportion as the number from active nations:

World Class & Legendary (CA 160+) Players from Playable Nations 2012: 68 (71% of all)

World Class & Legendary (CA 160+) Players from Non-Playable Nations 2012: 28 (29% of all)

World Class & Legendary (CA 160+) Players from Playable Nations 2042: 117 (68% of all)

World Class & Legendary (CA 160+) Players from Non-Playable Nations 2042: 56 (32% of all)

Additionally, the increased number of world class & legendary players from non-playable nations are not disproportionately coming from obscure locations:

NATIONALITY OF WORLD CLASS & LEGENDARY PLAYERS (160+)

2012

96 Players with CA 160+

18% Spain (17)

9% Argentina (9)

9% France (9)

9% Germany (9)

8% England (8)

6% Brazil (6)

4% Italy (4)

4% Netherlands (4)

3% Belgium (3)

3% Portugal (3)

2% Chile (2)

2% Ivory Coast (2)

2% Senegal (2)

2% Uruguay (2)

1% Bulgaria (1)

1% Cameroon (1)

1% Colombia (1)

1% Croatia (1)

1% Czech Republic (1)

1% Ecuador (1)

1% Ghana (1)

1% Japan (1)

1% Peru (1)

1% Poland (1)

1% Serbia (1)

1% Slovakia (1)

1% Slovenia (1)

1% Sweden (1)

1% Togo (1)

1% Wales (1)

2042

173 players with CA 160+

10% England (17)

10% Italy (17)

9% Germany (16)

9% France (15)

8% Brazil (14)

8% Spain (14)

6% Argentina (11)

3% Belgium (6)

3% Colombia (5)

3% Croatia (5)

3% Netherlands (5)

3% Portugal (5)

2% Serbia (4)

2% Ukraine (4)

2% Turkey (3)

2% Uruguay (3)

1% Denmark (2)

1% South Africa (2)

1% Wales (2)

0.5% Austria (1)

0.5% Bolivia (1)

0.5% Cameroon (1)

0.5% Chile (1)

0.5% Costa Rica (1)

0.5% Czech Republic (1)

0.5% Estonia (1)

0.5% Ghana (1)

0.5% Greece (1)

0.5% Honduras (1)

0.5% Israel (1)

0.5% Ivory Coast (1)

0.5% Japan (1)

0.5% Peru (1)

0.5% Poland (1)

0.5% Romania (1)

0.5% Russia (1)

0.5% Scotland (1)

0.5% Slovakia (1)

0.5% Slovenia (1)

0.5% Sweden (1)

0.5% Switzerland (1)

0.5% Tunisia (1)

0.5% USA (1)

The only thing noteworthy here is how well England performs relative to 2012, but as discussed above, this appears to be a further knock-on effect of England having the most lower leagues active. Italy, France, Brazil and Germany (each with two leagues active) performed comparable to what you would expect given their youth rating. Turkey, Argentina, the Netherlands, Russia and Portugal also did fairly well in producing a comparable number of world class & legendary players despite each only having one league active. Spain (three leagues active), however, significantly underperformed the original database, and I think an argument can be made here that Spain's youth rating and personality template should be improved.

Now, when looking at the world's top ten players (in terms of current ability), 2042 looks quite bit like 2012:

World's Top Ten 2012

Argentina 2

England 1

Germany 1

Ivory Coast 1

Netherlands 1

Portugal 1

Spain 3

World's Top Ten 2042

Argentina 3

Austria 1

Brazil 1

England 1

Germany 1

Poland 1

Spain 2

And when looking at the overall population of world class & legendary players categorized by region, the proportions in 2042 are, again, close to 2012:

World Class & Legendary Players by Region 2012

96 Players with CA 160+

52% Central Europe (50)

23% South America (22)

9% UK & Ireland (9)

6% Western Africa (6)

5% Eastern Europe (5)

1% Central Africa (1)

1% East Asia (1)

1% Scandinavia (1)

1% South Europe (1)

World Class & Legendary Players by Region 2042

173 players with CA 160+

46% Central Europe (80)

21% South America (36)

12% UK & Ireland (20)

9% Eastern Europe (15)

5% South Europe (9)

2% Scandinavia (3)

1% Central America (2)

1% Southern Africa (2)

1% Western Africa (2)

0.5% Central Africa (1)

0.5% East Asia (1)

0.5% Middle East (1)

0.5% North America (1)

0.5% Northern Africa (1)

The only noticeable issue here is that west Africa seems to underperform, but the difference is marginal enough that this may just have been an issue with this individual save. Still, given west Africa's growing status as a source of great footballing talent, I would have expected to see growth here comparable to what I saw in eastern Europe. At first, I thought this might be an issue of players from Africa not being loaded in sufficient numbers, but when I looked at the 2012 save, the number of Senegalese players playing in Senegal and Ivorian players playing in the Ivory Coast was comparable to the number of Croatian players playing in Croatia (and Croatia, unlike Senegal and Ivory Coast, saw a sizable jump in the number of world class & legendary players produced). This suggests that the western African nations might be slightly underrated in terms of youth rating.

Finally, returning to the issue of top level CA "inflation," it's often claimed that long-term saves see a large number of high quality players out of contract and without a club. However, when I compared the number of out of contract top division quality players (CA 120 or higher) in 2012 with the number of out of contract top division quality players (CA 120 or higher) in 2042, there was only a slight increase.

Out of Contract Top Division Quality Players (CA 120+)

2012: 89 [2 with CA 140+, 0 with CA 150+]

2042: 98 [6 with CA 140+, 2 with CA 150+, 1 with CA 160+, 0 with CA 170+]

Up Next: Player Roles (or the Case of the Disappearing Attacking Fullback)

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good analysis. it seems from your data that the top players in the game have almost doubled, and this ive noticed in my game as well as i think there are a bit way too many good regens produced.

it would be interesting if you could look at the CA of the managers between 2012 and 2040. on the previous games pretty much all the regen managers where extremely bad.

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  • SI Staff

Going a bit off-topic on that one but I'm guessing there aren't enough good non-players from retired players available early on or the ones that are around are not interested in said jobs ? Could also be affected if there aren't enough lower leagues running, making it hard for players turning into non-players to gain enough experience first at lower league clubs to make them viable candidates for the bigger clubs. This ventures a bit on the side of non-player shortlisting which is not really my area to comment on.

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Regen managers (the non-players purely generated by the game) are generally of lower ability than the non-players that are created from retiring players.

how do retired regen players turned staff fit into this? I've never plaayed far enough into the game to see if that happens but I'd assume it would otherwise there would be a massive drop off in manager quality when all the ex players retire from management.

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Here are the numbers for lower league-quality players in all of the playable leagues.

Top Division "Squad-quality" Player and Lower League-quality Player Populations

Argentine Players (1 Division Active) 2012 -> 2042

Top Division-level (120-139): 385 -> 361

Second Division-level (100-119): 834 -> 475

Third Division-level (80-99): 1348 -> 795

Fourth Division-level (60-79): 685 -> 830

Semi-Professional-level (40-59): 544 -> 721

Amateur-level (0-39): 84 -> 733

Brazilian Players (2 Divisions Active) 2012 -> 2042

Top Division-level (120-139): 749 -> 729

Second Division-level (100-119): 2036 -> 904

Third Division-level (80-99): 4325 -> 1284

Fourth Division-level (60-79): 2398 -> 1894

Semi-Professional-level (40-59): 329 -> 2286

Amateur-level (0-39): 488 -> 3247

Dutch Players (1 Division Active) 2012 -> 2042

Top Division-level (120-139): 111 -> 165

Second Division-level (100-119): 449 -> 335

Third Division-level (80-99): 706 -> 481

Fourth Division-level (60-79): 1406 -> 685

Semi-Professional-level (40-59): 1465 -> 667

Amateur-level (0-39): 223 -> 1760

English Players (4 Divisions Active) 2012 -> 2042

Top Division-level (120-139): 239 -> 254

Second Division-level (100-119): 410 -> 468

Third Division-level (80-99): 608 -> 833

Fourth Division-level (60-79): 788 -> 899

Semi-Professional-level (40-59): 1078 -> 1000

Amateur-level (0-39): 1809 -> 1313

French Players (2 Divisions Active) 2012 -> 2042

Top Division-level (120-139): 356 -> 315

Second Division-level (100-119): 907 -> 510

Third Division-level (80-99): 1751 -> 755

Fourth Division-level (60-79): 1443 -> 698

Semi-Professional-level (40-59): 124 -> 737

Amateur-level (0-39): 196 -> 1705

German Players (2 Divisions Active) 2012 -> 2042

Top Division-level (120-139): 250 -> 227

Second Division-level (100-119): 493 -> 429

Third Division-level (80-99): 1143 -> 708

Fourth Division-level (60-79): 1049 -> 539

Semi-Professional-level (40-59): 262 -> 457

Amateur-level (0-39): 292 -> 1159

Italian Players (2 Divisions Active) 2012 -> 2042

Top Division-level (120-139): 442 -> 294

Second Division-level (100-119): 680 -> 464

Third Division-level (80-99): 1268 -> 897

Fourth Division-level (60-79): 1156 -> 991

Semi-Professional-level (40-59): 1444 -> 1064

Amateur-level (0-39): 1195 -> 2127

Portuguese Players (1 Division Active) 2012 -> 2042

Top Division-level (120-139): 111 -> 140

Second Division-level (100-119): 277 -> 232

Third Division-level (80-99): 506 -> 528

Fourth Division-level (60-79): 1323 -> 641

Semi-Professional-level (40-59): 1548 -> 719

Amateur-level (0-39): 286 -> 1558

Russian Players (1 Division Active) 2012 -> 2042

Top Division-level (120-139): 89 -> 96

Second Division-level (100-119): 160 -> 148

Third Division-level (80-99): 383 -> 270

Fourth Division-level (60-79): 289 -> 321

Semi-Professional-level (40-59): 363 -> 299

Amateur-level (0-39): 474 -> 533

Spanish Players (3 Divisions Active) 2012 -> 2042

Top Division-level (120-139): 419 -> 297

Second Division-level (100-119): 669 -> 532

Third Division-level (80-99): 1265 -> 1004

Fourth Division-level (60-79): 1659 -> 1482

Semi-Professional-level (40-59): 898 -> 1655

Amateur-level (0-39): 1730 -> 2143

Turkish Players (1 Division Active) 2012 -> 2042

Top Division-level (120-139): 91 -> 124

Second Division-level (100-119): 318 -> 229

Third Division-level (80-99): 1112 -> 532

Fourth Division-level (60-79): 363 -> 397

Semi-Professional-level (40-59): 233 -> 341

Amateur-level (0-39): 367 -> 985

A few notes:

1) While the number of top level-quality players dropped for nearly all nations, the difference was made up by the increase in international-level and world class players.

2) As discussed above, in most cases, the nations with less lower divisions active saw a larger reduction in the number of third and fourth division-level players available as well as a corresponding increase in the number of amateur-level players.

3) Brazil and Argentina's numbers were very likely affected by the enormous number of Brazilian and Argentine players in lower level leagues in Europe in 2012.

So what does all of this tell us about how to set up a database for a long-term save?

Well, without running any more holiday saves, I would suggest the following guidelines:

1) If you want a consistent ability distribution in a nation where the top league is populated mostly by top division-quality (CA 120 - 139) or very nearly top division-quality (CA 110+) players, you should have a fourth division-level league (i.e., comparable to nPower League 2) playable to keep the lower league player population stable.

2) But... since lower leagues in top nations benefit from the large number of "high quality failures" being produced by top academies, this rule likely doesn't apply to smaller nations. For smaller nations, it may be necessary to have semi-professional or amateur-level leagues playable to maintain a consistent ability distribution.

So for the nations I had playable in my test save, I would recommend having the following leagues active if you plan on playing a save in that nation:

Argentina: Primera B Metropolitana/Torneo Argentino A (custom league file necessary)

Brazil: Serie D (custom league file necessary)

England: nPower League 2

France: French CFA

Germany: German Regional Divisions (custom league file necessary)

Italy: Serie C2

Netherlands: Dutch Topklasse (custom league file necessary)

Portugal: Portuguese Second Division

Russia: Russian Second Division (custom league file necessary)

Spain: Spanish Second Division B1-4

Turkey: Turkish Third Division (custom league file necessary)

However, if you just want a national "playable" because you want its top division clubs to be more active in the transfer market, it's not really necessary to load all of these lower divisions. While it will diminish overall player development in these nations a bit, their top teams will still be worthy Champions League competitors.

But if you're planning on playing in one of these nations, the above recommendations should ensure stronger domestic cup competition and better promoted sides coming into the top division each season.

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  • SI Staff

I ran some extended analysis on my latest soak test data yesterday and confirmed the fact that the average age of squads in inactive leagues is quite high in the starting DB, mainly because of the reasons I posted earlier (the game retaining mainly established players from the DB) and that over time the average ages of the inactive league clubs come down due to the recycling of newgens.

One of the things I noticed with some inactive nations is that in some nations there are more newgens created at the lower level clubs, because these clubs are set to be good developing clubs in the DB (high youth coaching/recruiting etc.) and whilst this is the way it has been designed and it works out nicely when the nation is active, it might be a bit of an issue when the nation is inactive. This is because the richer and higher reputed clubs in the top leagues of the inactive nation might not be actively shortlisting for players which means they aren't making transfers for these promising youngsters and they will remain longer at the small clubs where they were created. This in turn slows down their development and can reduce the number of players reaching the mid-level CA ranges. So I'll have a look into how we could improve this in the future to help the inactive nations develop more players into the mid-CA ranges.

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I can see that the balance of quality players stays about the same over the years. However:

What I think is the problem with the "squad building" AI, is that, after a couple seasons, and al throughout a long career save, there are no "top teams", apart from yourself.

Could you check in your save, or soap test or whatever:

The top (3/4) teams in the divisions (CA wise)/ rep wise

And compare those values to the top 3/4 teams after 30 years.

I have this feeling, that those values will have spread out throughout the entire league, so while on paper, there is the same number of quality in the leagues, there is no strong competition from a couple teams, which is slightly compensated by a little stronger mid table / bottom table teams.

Or maybe it's just too easy for human managers to get a squad with too high CA values, which will remove any challenge after a while due to a big gap with the competition, just cause scouting is too good and player development is too predictable / fast when done right.

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One stat i have always had a problem with, and would be great to know if was fixed is the number of players from the big four European countries(minus england) in other words Italy, Spain and Germany playing abroad. The English players stay at home for the most part, but the players from the other countries are spread out. Specially the stars. I have no problem with a Özil or Silva playing in big clubs, but for the most part players like Neuer prefer Bayern to United even if Uniteds worldwide reputation might be bigger.

If you could run a comparison here, and maybe also compare to other countries it would be great.

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I ran some extended analysis on my latest soak test data yesterday and confirmed the fact that the average age of squads in inactive leagues is quite high in the starting DB, mainly because of the reasons I posted earlier (the game retaining mainly established players from the DB) and that over time the average ages of the inactive league clubs come down due to the recycling of newgens.

One of the things I noticed with some inactive nations is that in some nations there are more newgens created at the lower level clubs, because these clubs are set to be good developing clubs in the DB (high youth coaching/recruiting etc.) and whilst this is the way it has been designed and it works out nicely when the nation is active, it might be a bit of an issue when the nation is inactive. This is because the richer and higher reputed clubs in the top leagues of the inactive nation might not be actively shortlisting for players which means they aren't making transfers for these promising youngsters and they will remain longer at the small clubs where they were created. This in turn slows down their development and can reduce the number of players reaching the mid-level CA ranges. So I'll have a look into how we could improve this in the future to help the inactive nations develop more players into the mid-CA ranges.

:thup:

Thinking more about the effects of having lower leagues active (and wondering why Spain saw less top level benefits than England), I'm wondering if there's any way to get that benefit without overloading day-to-day fixture processing. For example, if you could set lower leagues to "view-only" within a playable nation, would that help? Or do view-only fixtures essentially have no effect on development in an inactive nation?

I have this feeling, that those values will have spread out throughout the entire league, so while on paper, there is the same number of quality in the leagues, there is no strong competition from a couple teams, which is slightly compensated by a little stronger mid table / bottom table teams.

Or maybe it's just too easy for human managers to get a squad with too high CA values, which will remove any challenge after a while due to a big gap with the competition, just cause scouting is too good and player development is too predictable / fast when done right.

The very top teams do actually improve quite a bit. I am going to look a bit more closely at overall league competitiveness later on, but to give you an idea, in 2042, Arsenal (the current powerhouse) has 15 players with a CA exceeding 160. United has 14. Liverpool has 10. Barcelona has 10. Real Madrid has 11. Lyon has 12. PSG has 13.

By comparison, in 2012, Barcelona has 12. Real has 11. And the next best clubs all have less than 10.

In 2042, the top clubs from the smaller playable leagues also improved substantially, so the Champions League looks much more competitive overall. For example, despite the improvement of the top English clubs, 3 of the last 8 CL finalists were Dutch clubs and another was Turkish.

I agree that it still seems too easy for a human player to scout and keep 20 world class players happy with 11 spots on the team sheet, but purely in terms of ability, the AI does a good job of keeping the very top teams reasonably competitive.

One stat i have always had a problem with, and would be great to know if was fixed is the number of players from the big four European countries(minus england) in other words Italy, Spain and Germany playing abroad. The English players stay at home for the most part, but the players from the other countries are spread out. Specially the stars. I have no problem with a Özil or Silva playing in big clubs, but for the most part players like Neuer prefer Bayern to United even if Uniteds worldwide reputation might be bigger.

If you could run a comparison here, and maybe also compare to other countries it would be great.

I will take a look at this later today.

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Fantastically brilliant read THOG, thank you! You've made the day a bit more interesting than the normal 8-5. Shall defo be following the post, even if I can't contribute with data and analysis due to not having as much time these days!

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One stat i have always had a problem with, and would be great to know if was fixed is the number of players from the big four European countries(minus england) in other words Italy, Spain and Germany playing abroad. The English players stay at home for the most part, but the players from the other countries are spread out. Specially the stars. I have no problem with a Özil or Silva playing in big clubs, but for the most part players like Neuer prefer Bayern to United even if Uniteds worldwide reputation might be bigger.

If you could run a comparison here, and maybe also compare to other countries it would be great.

International-quality (CA 140+) Argentine Players Abroad in 2012: 61 (90% of all)

International-quality (CA 140+) Argentine Players Abroad in 2042: 65 (88% of all)

0 of the top 10 Argentine players are playing in Argentina in 2012

0 of the top 10 Argentine players are playing in Argentina in 2042

International-quality (CA 140+) Brazilian Players Abroad in 2012: 70 (66% of all)

International-quality (CA 140+) Brazilian Players Abroad in 2042: 81 (51% of all)

2 of the top 10 Brazilian players are playing in Brazil in 2012

9 of the top 10 Brazilian players are playing in Brazil in 2042

International-quality (CA 140+) Dutch Players Abroad in 2012: 20 (83% of all)

International-quality (CA 140+) Dutch Players Abroad in 2042: 26 (51% of all)

0 of the top 10 Dutch players are playing in the Netherlands in 2012

3 of the top 10 Dutch players are playing in the Netherlands in 2042

International-quality (CA 140+) English Players Abroad in 2012: 0 (0% of all)

International-quality (CA 140+) English Players Abroad in 2042: 3 (4% of all)

10 of the top 10 English players are playing in England in 2012

10 of the top 10 English players are playing in England in 2042

International-quality (CA 140+) French Players Abroad in 2012: 34 (53% of all)

International-quality (CA 140+) French Players Abroad in 2042: 53 (70% of all)

1 of the top 10 French Players are playing in France in 2012

4 of the top 10 French players are playing in France in 2042

International-quality (CA 140+) German Players Abroad in 2012: 10 (20% of all)

International-quality (CA 140+) German Players Abroad in 2042: 28 (44% of all)

9 of the top 10 German players are playing in Germany in 2012

3 of the top 10 German players are playing in Germany in 2042

International-quality (CA 140+) Italian Players Abroad in 2012: 10 (17% of all)

International-quality (CA 140+) Italian Players Abroad in 2042: 38 (41% of all)

9 of the top 10 Italian players are playing in Italy in 2012

2 of the top 10 Italian players are playing in Italy in 2042

International-quality (CA 140+) Portuguese Players Abroad in 2012: 14 (82% of all)

International-quality (CA 140+) Portuguese Players Abroad in 2042: 16 (55% of all)

1 of the top 10 Portuguese players are playing in Portugal in 2012

5 of the top 10 Portuguese players are playing in Portugal in 2042

International-quality (CA 140+) Russian Players Abroad in 2012: 2 (22% of all)

International-quality (CA 140+) Russian Players Abroad in 2042: 2 (13% of all)

8 of the top 10 Russian players are playing in Russia in 2012

9 of the top 10 Russian players are playing in Russia in 2042

International-quality (CA 140+) Spanish Players Abroad in 2012: 20 (23% of all)

International-quality (CA 140+) Spanish Players Abroad in 2042: 32 (35% of all)

9 of the top 10 Spanish players are playing in Spain in 2012

6 of the top 10 Spanish players are playing in Spain in 2042

International-quality (CA 140+) Turkish Players Abroad in 2012: 3 (33% of all)

International-quality (CA 140+) Turkish Players Abroad in 2042: 5 (19% of all)

6 of the top 10 Turkish players are playing in Turkey in 2012

7 of the top 10 Turkish players are playing in Turkey in 2042

So there is a fairly significant increase in the number of "star" players who leave Spain, Italy and Germany to play abroad. On the other hand, the Netherlands, Portugal and Brazil see more of their stars playing in their domestic leagues whereas Argentina and England look fairly consistent with 2012.

To some extent, you could make the argument that this reflects likely further internationalization of club football, and it's also worth noting that this probably also partially reflects the overall increase in the number of very high quality players... but otherwise, yes, it does seem that clubs like Barcelona, Real, Bayern, Juventus, etc. should have a slightly greater representation of their home nations' very best talent.

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As far as where the expatriates are going (though without putting together the exact numbers), the Italians mostly go to England and, to a lesser extent, the Netherlands. With that in mind and looking at club transfer budgets, I suspect some tycoons may be in the process of turning the Eredivisie into one of the top leagues in Europe.

The Germans abroad are a bit more spread out between England, Spain, the Netherlands and France.

The Spaniards abroad are mostly going to England and France.

And the European competition reputation standings in 2042:

1) Premier League

2) Bundesliga

3) Liga BBVA

4) Eredivisie

5) Serie A

6) Ligue 1

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I understead, but that wasn't really my question. Many it was a bit vague.

What I mean:

You have your game, one of 2012, one of 2042. You need data from both games, such as all the nationalitys of the players, CA of the players, etc. How did he extract that from the save games.

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Thanks for all of this data.

My one comment would be that change is not necessarily a bad thing. Consider the 2012 football world and how different it appears compared to the 1982 football world. Nations, players, leagues, playing styles, etc. all evolve over time. Couple this evolution of the sport with the changing population dynamics of the world (a shrinking Japan, exponential African growth, etc.) and 2042 could look very different. Spain might be a bad team, for all we know.

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Thanks for all of this data.

My one comment would be that change is not necessarily a bad thing. Consider the 2012 football world and how different it appears compared to the 1982 football world. Nations, players, leagues, playing styles, etc. all evolve over time. Couple this evolution of the sport with the changing population dynamics of the world (a shrinking Japan, exponential African growth, etc.) and 2042 could look very different. Spain might be a bad team, for all we know.

I agree with that. The problem with the change is however that the world develop in pretty much the same way every time. If the game world is changing it needs to be dynamic. I am pretty sure that if he holidayed 40 more years the change would be much smaller. In any case i think the statistic for my question (ty btw) showed exactly what i expected. English players stayed home, while the rest of the big leagues went abroad. I cant see England being the only country where nationality matters.

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PART III: PLAYER ROLES AND DIVERSITY

Having looked at the long-term player population in terms of general ability level, I will now examine the player population in more detail. First, I will begin by looking at how well the world repopulates top-level players suitable for specific roles. Given the scope of this part, I will be breaking it up into individual posts for each position over the next several days.

After some consideration over how to approach this, the somewhat arbitrary method I chose was to simply look at the number of players who had a rating of 12 or higher in each of the "important attributes" listed for the role in the tactics creator. While this will omit some players who almost fit my defined criteria for role suitability, I felt that, for top level teams, any player with a rating of 11 or less in an "important attribute" shouldn't be considered an adequate fit for a specific role.

Now, onto the goalkeeper roles (all two of them):

Goalkeeper

Important Attributes: Aerial Ability, Command of Area, Handling, One on Ones, Reflexes, Composure, Concentration, Decisions, Positioning, Agility

All Important Attributes 12+ (2012 -> 2042): 72 -> 212

Sweeper Keeper

Important Attributes: Aerial Ability, Command of Area, Communication, Eccentricity, Handling, Reflexes, Rushing Out, Composure, Concentration, Creativity, Decisions, Positioning, Acceleration, Agility, Pace

All Important Attributes 12+ (2012 -> 2042): 0 -> 0

Unsurprisingly given the overall increase in very high quality players, the number of well-balanced generic goalkeepers jumps considerably, but somewhat surprisingly, there was no change in sweeper keepers. Rather, there are no sweeper keepers at any point who had a rating of 12 or higher in each of the role's important attributes.

This, however, is a result of keepers generally not having very high ratings in acceleration, creativity and pace. So next, I looked at the number of keepers with 12+ in all important sweeper keepers attributes except acceleration, creativity and pace altogether:

Sweeper Keepers Excluding Acceleration, Creativity and Pace (2012 -> 2042): 5 -> 15

So the number of sweeper keepers actually tripled... or did it?

Next, rather than look at the population of sweeper keepers specifically, I looked at the population of "fast" keepers generally:

Keepers with Acceleration and Pace 10+ (2012 -> 2042): 1216 -> 41

Keepers with Acceleration and Pace 12+ (2012 -> 2042): 305 -> 2

Keepers with Acceleration and Pace 14+ (2012 -> 2042): 32 -> 0

Keepers with Acceleration and Pace 16+ (2012 -> 2042): 2 -> 0

And here we see that, in the entire keeper population, the number of keepers with acceleration and pace exceeding 10+ plummets. Looking at pace and acceleration separately, the numbers are not much different. In 2042, there are no keepers with either acceleration or pace exceeding 14.

As for creativity:

Keepers with Creativity 8+ (2012 -> 2042): 790 -> 0

Keepers with Creativity 10+ (2012 -> 2042): 394 -> 0

Keepers with Creativity 12+ (2012 -> 2042): 124 -> 0

Keepers with Creativity 14+ (2012 -> 2042): 23 -> 0

The highest Creativity for a goalkeeper in 2042 is 7 (and there are 3 of them in total).

Now, as I see it, there are two possible arguments to be made here:

1) Fast and creative keepers simply disappear in long-term games.

2) In the initial database, there are far too many keepers who have been vastly overrated for speed and creativity, and in fact, no keepers are really much faster or more creative than those generated in a long-term game.

If we accept argument (1), player generation should be tweaked to increase the number of fast and creative keepers, preferably linking them in some way to attributes like eccentricity and rushing out.

But if we accept argument (2), I'm led to wonder if creativity, acceleration and pace should even be considered as important attributes for sweeper keepers given that virtually no regen keepers have much to offer in the way of creativity or speed. Moreover, though I have no idea how the AI selects roles for its tactics, I wonder if this affects its tactical decision-making in any way.

Next: The poor, forgotten sweeper...

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I agree with that. The problem with the change is however that the world develop in pretty much the same way every time. If the game world is changing it needs to be dynamic. I am pretty sure that if he holidayed 40 more years the change would be much smaller. In any case i think the statistic for my question (ty btw) showed exactly what i expected. English players stayed home, while the rest of the big leagues went abroad. I cant see England being the only country where nationality matters.

German players tend to be just as poorly adaptive and more loyal than English players, so I suspect it's simply an issue of Premier League clubs having the most money. To some extent, this reflects a real trend in European football (Lewis Holtby being the most recent example), but I agree that it does seem a bit too static over longer periods. Right now, tycoon takeovers obviously can affect individual clubs' ability to retain homegrown talent (with a secondary effect on the league and nation), but I would like to see things like dynamic TV deals making entire leagues become more or less competitive over time.

I slightly miss some of the old experiments I used to do and I was wondering how easy the tools are to use these days. I stopped as the features and qualities of the scouting programs all seemed to go downhill.

Genie and the almighty calc.exe work well enough for me.

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Very interesting read ,I'm always interested in seeing stats. Quick question/request (although i have only skimed over it so sorry if i missed what im asking about) not sure how your getting all this info but is it possible to see attribute changes over the years, like maybe the average Technical, mental and physical attribute for the top players or what I'm even more curious about does the average Free kick and penalty stat go up from 2012 to 2042 as I always seem to find great looking players only to realise that they those nice high bright stats are only for Penalty taking and free kick taking, I dont know how many DMC I have found got super excited about thinking here is my next great DMC only on closer inspection he has great penos, freekicks and long throws.

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I agree with that. The problem with the change is however that the world develop in pretty much the same way every time. If the game world is changing it needs to be dynamic. I am pretty sure that if he holidayed 40 more years the change would be much smaller. In any case i think the statistic for my question (ty btw) showed exactly what i expected. English players stayed home, while the rest of the big leagues went abroad. I cant see England being the only country where nationality matters.

See this is where I actually think it is realistic to see English players stay at home as this seems to be the case irl and has been for quite a while. I think it is a British culture thing tbh.

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Really interesting results. I think these results show the effects of globalisation in some areas but not others but I think on the whole it's a good job (I have my theories on a few odd areas but it would turn into a large, rambling and not that relevant post if I did).

The sweeper keeper area took my interest since I think argument one is stronger and it's a sizeable problem on SI's part. For a start I see fast goalkeepers and creativity is actually a players awareness and ability to spot the options (in this case finding the right pass and finding if it's possible to sweep the ball up or not) and I see 'keepers like that in real life and creative 'keepers aren't that creative at all. I find that goalkeepers like this are increasing in number, not decreasing.

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See this is where I actually think it is realistic to see English players stay at home as this seems to be the case irl and has been for quite a while. I think it is a British culture thing tbh.

it is realistic, british hate changes, very conservative nation in one way... on the other hand, they play in the best league in the world, so there's no point for them to move abroad, unless to a really big club (Barca, Real, Inter etc)

Great thread, it has been said! This thing with comparing number of best players that "stayed" in their own country, and sweeper keeper... fascinating... preparing myself popcorn for future posts :D

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it is realistic, british hate changes, very conservative nation in one way... on the other hand, they play in the best league in the world, so there's no point for them to move abroad, unless to a really big club (Barca, Real, Inter etc)

Great thread, it has been said! This thing with comparing number of best players that "stayed" in their own country, and sweeper keeper... fascinating... preparing myself popcorn for future posts :D

brits staying in england has nothing to do with being conservative or them hating changes, it simply has to do with their clubs highly overrating them and giving them wages too good for their ability. most of them stay because they are well paid and no foreign team would pay them that much. for example, there is no way players like gareth barry and jordan henderson would be given their current wages by foreign teams. there is nothing wrong though with players from england, italy, and germany wanting to stay home and it is only natural and realistic considering they possess strong leagues.

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So what's the situation with sweepers in 2042? As in 2012, no one uses them and there are very few good ones around.

Sweeper

Important Attributes: Heading, Marking, Passing, Tackling, Anticipation, Composure, Concentration, Decisions, Positioning, Acceleration, Balance, Jumping

All Important Attributes 12+ (2012 -> 2042): 0 Natural (7 Accomplished) -> 0 Natural (1 Accomplished)

Still, I would have expected to see a few more accomplished sweepers among regens, so I excluded acceleration. The results were better for 2012 but unchanged for 2042:

Excluding Acceleration (2012 -> 2042): 1 Natural (23 Accomplished) -> 0 Natural (1 Accomplished)

Finally, if I remove passing as well, there are 7 more players in 2042 who have "accomplished" familiarity with the SW position and have at least a rating of 12 in all other important attributes.

And good liberos just don't exist at any pont:

Libero (Support)

Important Attributes: Dribbling, Heading, Marking, Passing, Tackling, Anticipation, Composure, Concentration, Creativity, Decisions, Positioning, Teamwork, Acceleration, Balance, Jumping

All Important Attributes 12+ (2012 -> 2042): 0 Natural (1 Accomplished) -> 0

Libero (Attack)

Important Attributes: Dribbling, Heading, Long Shots, Marking, Passing, Tackling, Anticipation, Composure, Concentration, Creativity, Decisions, Positioning, Teamwork, Acceleration, Balance, Jumping

All Important Attributes 12+ (2012 -> 2042): 0 Natural (1 Accomplished) -> 0

So unless you retrain a player, Jan Vertonghen appears to be history's last libero.

Finally, I decided just to see how many natural sweepers of any ability level were out there:

Natural Sweepers (2012 -> 2042): 131 (8 with CA 120+) -> 46 (0 with CA 120+)

So again, there just aren't that many sweepers and the few that do exist don't really fit the roles well, but since no one uses them, it's not much of an issue.

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Thanks for this, very interesting.

The roles analysis is something very interesting for sure, to know if the AI managers are properly filling their teams to their needs or just trying to keep the CA constant.

As extreme, a team could keep the average CA constant and to have only 25 goalkeepers, and of course it would be a disaster.

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See this is where I actually think it is realistic to see English players stay at home as this seems to be the case irl and has been for quite a while. I think it is a British culture thing tbh.

Thats realistic enough, but the problem is more that every other country differs. If you take Germany, you have Özil and Khedira at Real and half-english Holtby going to Tottenham. Every other high demand player from Germany ends up in Bayern og Dortmund.

In Italy you have Criscito and Bocchetti in Russia, some players in PSG and Balotelli and Santon in England. Only Santon is not in a club that pay extremly stupid wages, and every one of those players are linked with a move home every week. Spanish players are a bit different, because there is a lot of talent and a lack of money while it is the opposite in England.

In general, a player like Criscito should do more to get home to Italy, and a club like Juventus (that lacks a good LWB in game) should do a lot more to get him. And the dominating forces should move around more. The 2000 started with the Italian clubs on top (a club like Parma never ended up in the top 3 with players like Buffon, Cannavaro, Thuram, Veron, Crespo+++). Then the English teams dominated CL for a period, and now the Spanish teams are dominating Europe. And Germany is looking better and better and should be dominating in the next few years.

If England has a worse then great european season next year, they would be forced down to 3. place in the coefficient. In game England is usually on top all the time, making it the most attractive league. In the past, when the English league was less attractive, a lot of British stars (Keegan, Hoddle, Waddle, Hoddle, Lineker, Wilkins++) moved abroad. The English league will lose it status at some point, and players seeking money/status/trophys will seek elsewhere.

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Yes, they do. My point was that the footballing world is always changing. A lot of English football fans(fans of English football, not football fans from England) still think the English league is the best in the world because they dominated 5 years ago, but at the moment England is favorites to have 0 teams in the CL-quarter final.

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