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Throughout a match a player uses his attributes to perform various actions. These include attacking actions, which are intended to help his team keep possession or score a goal, and defensive actions, which are intended to prevent the opposition team from keeping possession or scoring a goal.

A player's attributes work together in different combinations to give him particular abilities. Each ability affects how well he performs particular actions.

A player's abilities can be grouped into the following categories:

  • Mental abilities – used by a player to choose an action to perform or to put effort into an action. Mental abilities are therefore greatly important as they influence how effective all of a player's actions are.
  • Physical abilities – used by a player in combination with his attacking and defensive abilities to perform particular attacking and defensive actions. Physical abilities are therefore also very important as they influence how effective many of a player's actions are.
  • Attacking abilities - used by a player to perform attacking actions only. Each attacking ability affects how well he performs a particular attacking action type.
  • Defensive abilities – used by a player to perform defensive actions only. Each defensive ability affects how well he performs a particular defensive action type.
  • Set piece abilities – used by a player to take set pieces (related attributes are given in the Set Pieces guide).

All of the main abilities used by players (except set piece abilities) are listed below. For each of the physical, attacking and defensive abilities primary attributes, key mental attributes and related physical abilities for the ability are given where relevant.

Primary attributes are the main attributes that affect how well a player technically performs an action related to the ability. For example, Passing is a primary attribute for passing ability because a player with good Passing will be more likely to make an accurate pass.

Key mental attributes are the most important mental attributes that directly influence the effectiveness of an action related to the ability. For example, Vision is a key mental attribute for passing ability because a player with good Vision will tend to see more available passing options and so his passing will generally be more effective. However, the effectiveness of any action is also indirectly influenced by the intelligence and focus attributes (detailed below), as these affect how well a player chooses between different action types (actions that use different abilities).

Related physical abilities are those physical abilities that comprise additional primary attributes and key mental attributes relevant to the ability.

1. Mental Abilities

Intelligence – How well a player can choose an action to perform.

  • Mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision.

Focus – How consistently a player can use his intelligence well.

  • Mental attributes: Composure and Concentration.

Endeavour – How likely a player is to perform an action that requires particular effort or to put effort into an action.

  • Mental attributes: Aggression, Bravery, Determination and Work Rate.

1.1. Types of Intelligence

Creativity – A player's intelligence when he is on the ball.

  • Mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision (all of the intelligence attributes).

Movement – A player's intelligence when he is off the ball.

  • Mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions and Teamwork.
  • Related primary attributes: Off The Ball (for off the ball movement) and Positioning (for defensive positioning).

Off The Ball and Positioning are primary attributes because they affect the technical performance of movement and positioning, rather than affecting a player's choices or effort.

Awareness – How well a player can understand a situation.

  • Mental attributes (on the ball): Anticipation, Teamwork and Vision.
  • Mental attributes (off the ball): Anticipation and Teamwork.

Decision making – How well a player can choose an action based on his understanding.

  • Mental attributes (on the ball): Decisions, Flair and Teamwork.
  • Mental attributes (off the ball): Decisions and Teamwork.

Teamwork is included in both awareness and decision making because it affects both a player's awareness of his teammates and his tendency to follow his tactical instructions.

2. Physical Abilities

Physical presence – How well a player can compete in a physical encounter with an opposition player.

  • Primary attributes: Balance and Strength.
  • Key mental attributes: Aggression, Bravery, Determination and Work Rate (endeavour).

Since Work Rate affects how much physical effort a player puts into his actions it is included as a key mental attribute for the physical abilities only. However, it is still used for many of the attacking and defensive abilities when they combine with a physical ability (along with the physical ability's other relevant primary attributes and key mental attributes). Similarly, Aggression and Bravery are generally only used when an attacking or defensive ability is combined with the physical presence ability.

Aerial presence – How well a player can reach an aerial ball coming towards him.

  • Primary attributes: Jumping Reach.
  • Key mental attributes: Determination and Work Rate (endeavour).
  • Related physical abilities: physical presence (a player attempting to connect with an aerial ball will often be involved in a physical tussle with another player, both when stood on the ground and when jumping).
  • Other physical qualities: Height

Although Jumping Reach is the primary attribute that affects how high a player can reach in the air, height is also an important quality. A taller player will be able to utilise his jumping capabilities more easily, with less endeavour and physical presence needed. Good height can be a particular advantage for a player when he is tired or involved in a physical tussle.

Mobility – How quickly and nimbly a player can move.

  • Primary attributes: Acceleration, Agility and Pace.
  • Key mental attributes: Determination and Work Rate (endeavour).

3. Attacking Abilities

Off the ball movement – How well a player can move into useful positions off the ball to either receive a pass or create space for teammates to exploit.

  • Primary attributes: Off The Ball and Composure.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions and Teamwork (movement), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).
  • Related physical abilities: mobility (for moving more easily) and physical presence (for physical tussles when competing with an opposition player for the ball).

Composure is included as both a primary attribute and a key mental attribute for all attacking and defensive abilities as it affects both a player's choices and his technical performance. However, it is only relevant when a player is under mental pressure.

Control - How well a player can receive the ball and set it up for his next action.

  • Primary attributes: First Touch, Technique and Composure.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision (creativity), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).
  • Related physical abilities: aerial presence (for controlling an aerial ball), physical presence (for shielding the ball from an opposition player who is attempting to tackle).

Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision will help a player to decide how to set the ball up for his next action before he receives it.

Technique is a primary attribute for all on the ball attacking abilities as it affects how well a player can perform more challenging technical actions when he is on the ball.

Passing ability – How well a player can pass the ball to a teammate.

  • Primary attributes: Passing, Technique and Composure.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision (creativity), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).

Crossing ability – How well a player can cross the ball from wide into the opposition penalty area.

  • Primary attributes: Crossing, Passing, Technique and Composure.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision (creativity), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).

Dribbling ability – How well a player can run with the ball.

  • Primary attributes: Dribbling, Technique and Composure.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation and Vision (awareness), Decisions and Flair (decision making), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).
  • Related physical abilities: mobility (for running with the ball quickly and nimbly) and physical presence (for shielding the ball from an opposition player who is attempting to tackle).

Shooting ability – How well a player can shoot at the opposition goal.

  • Primary attributes: Finishing, Long Shots (for long range shooting), Technique and Composure (particularly for close range shooting).
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation and Vision (awareness), Decisions and Flair (decision making), Composure (particularly for close range) and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).

Heading ability - How well a player can make a headed pass or shot.

  • Primary attributes: Heading, Technique and Composure (particularly for shots).
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions, Flair, Teamwork and Vision (creativity), Composure (particularly for shots) and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).
  • Related physical abilities: aerial presence (for reaching the ball) and physical presence (for competing with an opposition player to reach the ball).

Hold-up play - How well a player can hold up the ball by keeping it stationery or moving it slowly to allow teammates to move into better positions.

  • Primary attributes: Composure.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation and Teamwork (awareness), Decisions (decision making), and Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).
  • Related physical abilities: physical presence (for shielding the ball from an opposition player who is attempting to tackle).

4. Defensive Abilities

Marking ability – How well a player can retain a position close to an opposition player that makes him a less viable passing option.

  • Primary attributes: Marking, Composure and Positioning.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions and Teamwork (movement), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).
  • Related physical abilities: mobility (for tracking a player he is marking) and physical presence (for physical tussles with a player he is marking).

Defensive positioning - How well a player can retain a protective position that blocks a route to goal.

  • Primary attributes: Composure and Positioning
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions and Teamwork (movement), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).
  • Related physical abilities: mobility (for moving his protective position as necessary according to the movements of opposition players) and physical presence (for physical tussles when holding up an opposition player).

Closing down ability – How well a player can move towards the opposition player on the ball in order to restrict his options and put him under pressure.

  • Primary attributes: Composure and Positioning.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions and Teamwork (movement), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Aggression, Bravery and Determination (endeavour).
  • Related physical abilities: mobility (for closing down quickly).

Tackling ability – How well a player can take the ball from an opposition player.

  • Primary attributes: Tackling and Composure.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation (awareness), Decisions (decision making), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).
  • Related physical abilities: physical presence (for tackling forcefully).

Intercepting ability - How well a player can move to intercept a pass made by the opposition.

  • Primary attributes: Composure.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions and Teamwork (movement), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).
  • Key mental attributes: mobility (to move towards the ball), physical presence (for physical tussles when competing with an opposition player to get to the ball) and aerial presence (for reaching an aerial ball).

Tracking back ability - How well a player can run back from an advanced position to take up a defensive position.

  • Primary attributes: Composure.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation, Decisions and Teamwork (movement), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).
  • Related physical abilities: mobility.

Clearing ability – How well a player can kick or head the ball away from danger.

  • Primary attributes: Heading (for heading the ball clear), Technique and Composure.
  • Key mental attributes: Anticipation and Teamwork (awareness), Decisions (decision making), Composure and Concentration (focus), and Determination (endeavour).

5. Player Fitness

A player's fitness affects how well he performs all abilities throughout a match.

The effects of Stamina, Natural Fitness and other fitness related attributes are discussed in the Player Fitness guide.

In particular, a player would benefit from greater fitness, and therefore higher Natural Fitness and Stamina, if he has better endeavour (particularly Aggression and Work Rate).

6. Assessing Player Ability

Using the above information you should be able to determine a player's best abilities, and therefore assess how he might be used most effectively on the pitch, although you should also take into account how his preferred moves will affect the way he plays.

Such an assessment of your players is necessary in order to choose an appropriate tactical style for your team and suitable roles and duties for each player. You can also obtain a general idea of whether a player is suited to a role by using the Highlight key attributes for role drop-down on a player's Profile screen.

Useful attributes for different tactical instructions are discussed throughout the Tactics guide.

It is not advisable to rely on your coaches' opinions of a player's most suitable roles as these are automatically generated by averaging the key attributes for roles and do not take into account preferred moves.

However, assessing a player's general ability relative to that of other players in your league division is more difficult. To do this you can use your coaches' current ability ratings as guidance, and also look at the overall team ratings in different attributes on the Comparison tab of the Team Report screen. In addition, you can undertake a more detailed assessment by looking at individual players at other clubs in your division.

6.1. Player Abilities in Lower Divisions

In lower reputation league divisions players are likely to have poorer intelligence, focus and technical attributes. Therefore, the endeavour attributes (Aggression, Bravery, Determination and Work Rate) and the physical attributes can be particularly useful.

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