Every player has a current ability and a potential ability that, in simple terms, reflect how good he supposedly is now and how good he may supposedly become in the future.
A player’s current ability indicates to a large extent how well he will perform. It will generally increase for a player as he develops before falling later in his career after he passes his natural peak. A player's potential ability, on the other hand, is static and represents the maximum that his current ability can theoretically reach, although the level it actually reaches will depend on his personal development.
Player development is discussed in more detail in the Player Development guide.
The true values of current ability and potential ability are hidden, but your coaches and scouts will provide you with ability star ratings for each player that reflect their own opinions of what the player's current ability and potential ability may be.
However, a player's current ability does not take into account all the factors that may affect his performances in matches, while there are also various factors that affect how likely he is to reach his potential ability that are not taken into account by your staff. In addition the accuracy of your staff's ability star ratings in reflecting both current and potential ability can vary. Therefore, you should use your own judgement of a player, combined with his ability star ratings, to properly assess him.
To help you with this, the factors that determine a player's current ability, the factors that influence how much of his potential ability he fulfils and the factors that affect his performance are explained below. Ability star ratings are also discussed in detail to help you understand how accurate they are likely to be and how they work.
A player’s current ability is determined by the following factors:
- His attribute ratings – only including the visible attributes, shown on a player's Profile screen, but not including Aggression, Determination, Flair and Natural Fitness (and also Eccentricity, Free Kicks, Penalty Taking, Rushing Out, Tendency To Punch and Off The Ball for goalkeepers).
- The strength of his weaker foot – this can be viewed on the Information section of his Overview tab.
When a player improves one of the above factors (for example, in training) it will cost him some of his current ability. Therefore, unless his current ability has also improved as part of his development, it will need to be redistributed and so he will lose ratings in other attributes.
Each attribute, as well as weaker foot strength, is given a different weighting in the current ability calculation for a player according to its supposed importance for the player's natural position. In particular, Acceleration and Pace are weighted heavily for all outfield positions, while weaker foot strength is also weighted fairly heavily.
Therefore, an improvement in an attribute considered more important for his position will cost a player more of his current ability than an improvement in an attribute considered less important. An improvement in any of the attributes that are not included in the current ability calculation, as detailed above, will not cost a player any current ability.
It is important not to assume that a player's currrent ability will definitely reach his potential ability. How much of his potential ability a player actually fulfils depends on his development, which is affected by factors such as:
- his match experience;
- his personality;
- his training;
- the club facilities he uses;
- his tutoring; and
- his fitness.
These factors are discussed in more detail in the Player Development guide.
A player's match performances are affected by more than just the attribute ratings and weaker foot strength that determine his current ability. Understanding the different influences on match performances will enable you to more efficiently assess the suitability of a player for your squad and tactics, and help you to get the best out of your individual players and your team as a whole in every match.
The factors that affect a player’s match performances include:
- His (visible) attribute ratings – effectively weighted in favour of those most important for his position and player instructions, in the context of your overall tactical style. Those attributes which affect a player's mental and physical abilities, as discussed in the Attribute Combinations guide, are important for general player performance.
- The strength of his weaker foot.
- His hidden attribute ratings – these attributes are Adaptability, Consistency, Dirtiness, Important Matches, Injury Proneness and Versatility.
- His preferred moves – these should be appropriate for his attributes, and also his position and player instructions.
- His familiarity with the position he is played in.
- His player instructions (as set by your team instructions, his role and duty, and any selected specific player instructions) – these should be suitable for his attributes and be part of a balanced and effective tactic.
- His personality attribute ratings - specifically his ratings in the Pressure, Professionalism, Sportsmanship and Temperament personality attributes.
- His mental state - for example, how motivated, complacent or nervous he is. This is determined in the first instance by his age, experience and personality, the team’s form, the importance of the match and the quality of the opposition, and then influenced by your chosen team talk.
- Any communication problems he has – these are detailed in the Pre-Match section of your assistant manager's feedback, accessed from the Analysis tab before or during a match.
- His fitness – this includes his condition, match fitness, level of jadedness and any injuries he is carrying.
In addition to the above factors that affect the performances of individual players, the performances of your team as a whole will be affected by factors such as:
- your players' tactic familiarity;
- your players' team cohesion on the pitch; and
- how you adapt your tactics during the match.
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