A Goalkeeper will play more safely by holding his position when he does not have the ball and attempting safer passes when he is on the ball, although whether these are shorter or more direct passes depends on your team's mentality and his specific player instructions.
This role can be suitable if you are using a deeper defensive line, where the Goalkeeper is less likely to be exposed by the opposition attack breaking through the centre of your defence, and is instead more likely to be utilised to help defend crosses and long balls.
His more cautious passing will be appropriate if you want your deeper players to focus more on keeping possession and getting the ball forward in a controlled manner to your more advanced players, or if you want them to play direct to a strong attacker or simply to clear the danger.
1.2. Sweeper Keeper
A Sweeper Keeper will in contrast look to leave his position more and attempt to clear balls that arrive in front of or wide of his penalty area. When on the ball he will be more likely to attempt risky passes to teammates (when given a support or attack duty) and dribble with the ball (when given an attack duty), although again his passing range depends on your team's mentality and his specific player instructions.
This role can be useful if you are using a higher defensive line, especially if you are also using the offside trap, as the Sweeper Keeper can act as an outfield sweeper by running forward to beat any opposition attackers to balls played behind your defence. A Sweeper or Libero in the sweeper position is an alternative option, but this would allow for one less player in more advanced positions.
His riskier passing is suitable if you want more creative passing from deep, perhaps to help initiate counter attacks. However, you may instead want to use a Ball-Playing Defender, or a Goalkeeper with the More Risky Passes specific player instruction set, for this purpose, particularly when using a counter attacking style with a deeper defensive line.
2. Goalkeeper Specific Player Instructions
Your goalkeeper has his own GK Distribution specific player instructions that tell him how to distribute the ball from his hands and from goal kicks. You can also use the standard outfield player Distribution instructions to adjust his passing range and tendency to make creative, risky passes when he has the ball at his feet in open play, and the Defending instructions to tell him how to approach tackles when he is outside his penalty area.
The effects of each of these instructions are explained in the Specific Player Instructions guide.
3. Tactical Styles
It is important that your goalkeeper's role and instructions are suitable for your tactical style. Suggested below are an appropriate role and appropriate distribution instructions for your goalkeeper when using each of the attacking styles detailed earlier in the Tactical Styles guide.
Distribute Quickly can be useful for all styles unless you want to slow the game down and waste time when in the lead, in which case you can use Slow Pace Down.
Distribute to Specific can be used instead of the more generic options given below to specify a particular player for your goalkeeper to try to find with his distribution.
Your wide players will typically be in more space and under less pressure than your central players when your goalkeeper has the ball, making them safer options to distribute to and usually the most effective options when trying to counter attack. Therefore, if you want your goalkeeper to throw the ball long then this should ideally be down the flanks. If you want your goalkeeper to distribute down the middle then it is advisable to do this by instructing short kicks or roll outs that go no further than to your centre backs (which can itself be risky) or long, high kicks aimed either to a strong attacker with good aerial ability or over the top of the opposition defence.
3.1. Counter Attacking
Distribution: More Direct Passes and Fewer Risky Passes (when using a strong attacker to hold up the ball), or More Direct Passes and possibly More Risky Passes (when team passing is focused to quick, wide attackers). Alternatively, you could instruct shorter, safer passes and use a Ball-Playing Defender, deep playmaker or other deeper outfield players with good creativity or passing ability to make more direct passes, especially if your goalkeeper has poor Kicking, Decisions and Vision.
GK Distribution: Take Long Kicks and Distribute To Target Man (when using a strong attacker in a target man role), or Throw It Long and Distribute To Flanks (if you want him to distribute directly to quick, wide attackers), or Distribute Over Opposition Defence (if you want him to distribute balls for quick central attackers to chase). If your goalkeeper has poor Throwing then you could use Take Long Kicks instead of Throw It Long. Alternatively, you could instruct shorter distribution and use deeper outfield players with good creativity or passing ability to make more direct passes, especially if your goalkeeper has poor Kicking, Throwing, Decisions and Vision.
3.2. Passing Through The Defence / Attacking With Creative Wingers
Distribution: Pass It Shorter and Fewer Risky Passes.
GK Distribution: Roll It Out or Take Short Kicks and Distribute To Full Backs or Distribute To Centre Backs.
3.3. Playing To A Target Man
Distribution: More Direct Passes and Fewer Risky Passes (you will need to give your Sweeper Keeper a defend duty to use the latter instruction). Alternatively, you could instruct shorter, safer passes and use one or more deeper outfield players with good creativity or passing ability to make more direct passes, especially if your goalkeeper has poor Kicking, Decisions and Vision.
GK Distribution: Take Long Kicks and Distribute To Target Man. Alternatively, you could instruct shorter distribution and use one or more deeper outfield players with good creativity or passing ability to make more direct passes, especially if your goalkeeper has poor Kicking, Decisions and Vision.
3.4. Running At The Defence / Attacking The Flanks
Distribution: Pass It Shorter.
GK Distribution: Roll It Out or Take Short Kicks and Distribute To Full Backs, Distribute To Centre Backs or Distribute To Playmaker (to distribute to a deeper playmaker only, but this can be very risky if the playmaker is in a central position). Alternatively, if your goalkeeper has good Throwing then you may want to use Throw It Long and Distribute To Flanks, especially if you are using the Attacking The Flanks style.