The Euros and Copa America are in full swing! I thought I’d try to treat you guys with a bit of a look at International Management, so let’s dive in!
Scouting the National Pool
The tricky thing about international management is keeping track of your players while they’re away at their parent club. Also knowing who is coming through that you should pay attention to. Obviously, the player search functions come in handy here and you can make sure you have all the senior and academy prospects added to your national pool. Usually the national pool is fairly well stocked when you start, but it’s good practice to do some searching and make sure you’re aware of all the players you could potentially call up.
The player’s season statistics are very handy, and you can get a gauge on how well they’re doing overall. You’ll also want to attend some of their key matches, especially when you’ve got multiple players playing with or against one another. You can really focus in on potential partnerships and individual strengths and weaknesses in the match engine.
The Under 21s
The under 21s are always a bit mouth-watering, dreaming about the new crop of players coming through the ranks. You can choose to manage an under 21 team if you wish or just keep an eye on them while managing the seniors. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the potential prospects in your ranks, but you’ve got to find ways to identify these players and give them opportunities.
Obviously there is a school of thought that tournament experience at the youth levels are very important. You’ll want to be congizant of calling some of these players up when there are youth tournaments happening that they could be involved with. If they win at their youth level, they will carry that experience forward into the Senior National Team.
Tactics in international management can often be a juggling act of trying to fit in all your best players into your starting 11. This can be a tricky task, and oftentimes you will not be able to fit everyone you want into every game. I would focus on your true leaders and absolute best players and put them in their natural positions. This will immediately bring balance to your squad. Then maybe focus on the weaker areas of the squad, maybe you need extra cover in defence? I would focus there and make sure it’s well balanced and supported. Then fill in the gaps as best you can, and make sure you have a balanced formation that gives you the best chances of winning. International management is all about results. More on that later.
Partnerships are tricky just because it can be rare that you have multiple players in your squad who are all familiar with one another and play at the same club. Maybe with smaller nations this is common, but with bigger ones maybe you only have two or three players who share the same parent club. These partnerships are key though if you can connect them, it will bring familiarity to your team and the cohesion will be higher and more fluid as you watch the games.
Playing in Major Tournaments
The billion dollar question, how do you win major tournaments? There is a school of thought that states that pragmatism is paramount in knockout football. I would say that’s probably true, but you also need to play to your strengths. If you have a weak defence and excellent attacking options, it’s probably not the best idea to focus on playing a very defensive system and under-utilizing your attack. Put your best players in their best positions and fill in the gaps around them. Maybe you don’t need to worry too much about your defenders, if your midfielders will boss the ball in possession and create tons of chances. It’s all about identifying your strengths, playing to those, and filling out your squad in a balanced fashion to make sure you have cover in all areas.
Good luck in those major tournaments, they are difficult to win, and injury-luck and disciplinary-luck is definitely a factor. Those who stay the healthiest, have a balanced squad and put together a nice run of form in the tournament tend to win.
Surviving the Sack
International management is all about results. That is really the only way to survive the sack. Do well when the board expects you to do well and you will survive. Try not to alienate your key players, deal with the media as best you can. Manage expectations with the fans and the media and play the type of football that’s expected of you, and you’ll probably do alright.
If you have any more tips for International Management, please post in the comments. As always follow me @JonnyGamesFM and @DictateTheGame on Twitter and check back to the site for more great articles from our many writers. If you’re interested in writing for Dictate the Game you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check me out on Youtube for weekly Football Manager videos! Until next time, best of luck in your next World Cup!
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