Scouting in Football Manager: You get out of it what you put into it, Part 2

Your team can only have so many scouts, and each of those scouts can only be in so many places thru out the year. And no matter what they are looking for, the next wonderkid, the replacement for your second winger, a backup keeper, the player database can be large enough that you will miss players. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not good either.

That said, no matter the size of your club or the size of the country your club is in, there is one free scouting tool that you can use to try and get a jump on the competition.

However, setting it up can be one of the most time consuming, infuriating things to do, but at the end of the day, it is a very good tool that can help you get the jump on many of those players who may not be “Hall of Famers”, but are in the “Hall of Very Good”.

This tool is Screen Flow.

Screen Flow can be found thru the ‘Preferences’ screen, under the Advanced Tab.

Where to find the Screen Flow

The screen, when you first enter it, is blank. You want to ensure that the ‘Visit News Screens Automatically Box’ is ticked.

When you click on ‘Select Competition’, you’ll see a list of all seven continents and the world.

Now depending on how ‘In depth’ you want your scouting to be will determine what competitions you can scout. You can ALWAYS scout any ‘International’ competition, but where screenflow comes into play is Nation scouting, however there is a…minor drawback in that you can only scout competitions in countries you have loaded.

As an example, I have a test DB that has all the players enabled, giving me a playerbase of ~439,000 players.

In this particular test, I have one countries loaded, England. If I hover over England, you will see a list of every competition you can get reports from. As a note, despite the fact I only have England selected to play, in the following screenshot Italy is showing because it hosts the Italian Youth Club International, but if you were to click on Italy, you would not see any Italian League/competition options available for reports.

A list of all the Competitions you can get reports from.

Once you have the competition you want to receive reports from identified, select it, and it will be added the ‘Main’ screen. From here, you have even more options.

My suggestion would be to use the following: Stats|Player Overview in the ‘Screen Option’, your ‘Minimum Interval’ should be N/A, ‘Scope’ I would leave on ‘On Matchdays’, and Stop Game to ‘No’, then select Add Screen, where you can enter in the next competition you want results from. When you have all the competitions you want reports from, select ‘Confirm’ at the bottom. You will get the ‘Changing Skin’ window, and then it will be back to your game.

Now, during the course of playing, when a game for a competition you have loaded has been played, a new screen will pop up. This is from my current save with Crystal Palace:

Essentially, what this screen is a report comprised of the players statistical data collected from the games played in competition up to the present in game date. I like to think of it as a manager, coach or analyst sitting down in front of their laptop and pulling up statistics from one of the many websites out there that reports results and includes data on the players form, and the Screen Flow screen is additional filtering of the results.

One of the many nice things about this screen is that under Stats, you can change the report, and the options match the options on the screenflow. The other thing that you can look at are the boxes underneath the initial window. All of these are customizable, and the good news is you can add any game statistic that FM has data for. The bad news is that you only have 8 boxes to use.

The worse news is that sometimes when you are using a skin that is not the base skin, the data boxes change, even if you go back and reset them. I am not sure why, but on some skins they do not move, and on other skins they do. One of the cool things I have found is that there are a couple of skins out there that have modified the xml controlling this view, and have made some very cool changes:

I about fell out of my chair when I saw this.

This is that same competition report from the skin I am using, and you will notice that in Average rating, DET has been added, and in Goals, FIN has been added. In this competition, David Mafoso is leading with six goals, and has a finishing of 11-17, and if we click on his name, his player panel we see he is a 16 year old striker with at least 11 FIN, 15 JUMP, and decent TEC, OTB and ACC. He’s also been capped at the under 19 level.

Not a lot of information at first, but some intriguing numbers there.

From here, if you have the ability to scout him, scout him. If not, add him to a shortlist.

For every competition you add, you will get a screen. If you have a lot of countries loaded, you can get results from a lot of competitions. In My current save with Crystal Palace, I have added every Youth International Competition, and every countries U23 and U19 major competitions, but as an example of what you can add here are the options for Brazil, and you have to scroll down to get the rest. But seriously reports from U20 State Championships? That’s cool.

There is no such thing as to many competitions to scout…

The other thing that is cool is that you can add a country, set it to view only, and then in the Screen Flow you will be able to load competitions from that country. So even if you are playing with a small database, it’s possible to add every country and set it to view only, and you can get reports from them. What this does to the player size of the database as you progress into the save I am not sure, but if like me, you are into scouting, this is a good tool to use.

Just one country playable, the rest on ‘View Only’
From the Screenflow of that save, all the countries on ‘View Only’ are eligible for reports.

While the Screen Flow doesn’t show you everything, if you set it up they way you want, and see the same name popping up in multiple categories, its a sign they may be a good player. It could also be a sign they are a mediocre player in a bad league, but you don’t know until you look.

As an example, this is Jair, one of the many Brazilian Newgens with potential. However, as good as he is Attribute wise, he was never capped at the U20 or U19 level, and has only 1 U23 Cap. However, when he was a youth player at FLA, I first saw him on a screenflow for the Brazilian U20 Cup. Then I saw him on the screenflow for the U23 National Competitions screenflow, and while he wasn’t top in any category, he was top 5. I scouted him for two weeks, liked what I saw, and put him on a shortlist, and then when the FLA U20’s won the National Championship, I scouted him fully, and liked what I saw. I made an offer for him, I was the only team at the time interested in him, and got him for 7.25M. A Good loan spell at Coventry, and then a starter this current season, he now has 5 star potential, and is valued at 22-29M.

Found him thru screenflow reports

In addition to being a scouting tool, Screenflow can also be used as a transfer tool as well. Here I am in Brazil, and have selected the Brazilian First National Division, because I don’t have the real name fix installed on this save. Once selected, you have a variety of reports you can get, and in this case I am going to select ‘News|Transfer Rumors’. Then under ‘Scope’ I am going to change the option to ‘During Transfer Window’, and the ‘Minimum Interval’ to ‘Every Three Days’. Click add screen, confirm, the skin will reload, and now, during the Brazilian transfer window, you will get various rumors and which team they are associated with. It literally is a free tool you can use to get a jump on the competition, if your willing to spend the time an energy and go down a rabbit hole or three.

As good as Screen Flow is, there is some bad news, and for some people it may be a dealbreaker.

What’s not cool is that screenflow is not a view. It cannot be saved/exported, so every time you start a new save, you have to re-enter EVERYTHING you want results for. It’s a lot of clicking, and if you are adding a lot off competitions, you will want to click ‘Confirm’ every once and a while.

And if for some reason you hit Reset, it will remove everything you have entered. EVERYTHING. which means if your like me and your wanting reports from every country and International Youth competition, you can get a bad case of cramps, if not carpal tunnel.

However, having used it in multiple saves over multiple version of FM now, I can say that it is a very good arrow in the quiver that is scouting. You get reports from competitions in regions you are not scouting, or may even have zero knowledge in. You can build and add to shortlists that will help you in the future, and while to computer is out there searching for every potential wonderkid, even though you are in League One, getting ready to join the Championship, you got a screenflow report from the Korean League, and saw the same name pop up consistently, and when the board gave you enough transfer money to make some purchases, you bought the young D(C) who will never be more than 4 stars, but was a defensive stalwart for your team for 12 years, helping you win the Prem, the Euro Cup, and the Champions League before he retired, at the bargain price of 3.5 million pounds.

I hope this was helpful, and if there are any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, or you can tag me on twitter @FM_Jellico.

Thanks for reading, and good luck in your future scouting!

Scouting in Football Manager: You get out of it what you put into it

Part One: Setup

There are a lot of guides out there on scouting and how to do it well, but this is not going to be as in depth and as detailed as some of those. Rather it is more of a tips guide that I use with my teams to help me find those hidden Newgens that appear after the first season. I tend to play a lot of single club, Road to Glory type saves, but I use these methods/tips in all my saves in one fashion or another.

Scouting in FM seems to go one of two ways: the computer does everything, or the player does everything. My experience is that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground between the two. I tend to be the latter sort of manager. I like scouting, there’s something to be said about finding that hidden player/newgen that noone else has found. Honestly the time spent on the 1 start current 4 star potential player who tops out as 2 stars may seem like its been wasted, but the feelings you get when you miss on a player are set aside when you hit on a player who does turn into something, be it a solid contributor for your team or a club/world legend.

First up, we have to talk about scope, and what I mean by that is “Does your clubs setup scouting match or exceed your clubs stature?” My current save is with Crystal Palace, an English Premier League team. While not as recognized as Manchester or Liverpool, it has the ability and funds to have a Worldwide scouting package. Likewise, if you are starting out as say, Ebbsfleet, a Worldwide scouting package is going to be to expensive to maintain, but even if you could afford it your board may limit where you can and cannot scout. That said, there are still some tips and tricks you can use to set yourself up for the future should you start at an Ebbsfleet, and I’ll go thru both scenarios.

Regardless of club size, the most important step in setting up scouting is making sure you have the best backroom staff you can afford. Even at Palace there are scouts I could not sign because they either:

  1. Thought the Club wasn’t big enough in stature
  2. They had just signed a new contract with their current club
  3. I could not meet their wage demands due to the board limitations and/or my available wages.

That said the type of scout you should be looking for depends on your clubs current Recruitment Focus in Club Culture, of which there are 8 options:

  • Sign Players of “X” Nationality, ie sign players from Ivory Coast, or Basque players for Athletico Bilbao
  • Sign Players Based in Nation, ie sign homegrown players who are currently based in Germany
  • Sign players from the lower levels of the Domestic game. This can be harder if you are starting out in one of those lower levels, but what it means is the club is looking for a good percentage of the player you recruit should come from divisions lower than the one you are in. To be honest I am not sure if they mean domestically or Internationally here.
  • Sign High Reputation Players
  • Sign players under the age of “X” for the first team, ie under the age of 23
  • Sign players under the age of “X” for the future, ie under the age of 19
  • Sign players from Domestic Rivals
  • Don’t sign players over the age of “X”, ie, don’t sign players over the age of 30

There are four major attributes you are looking for in a good scout, but which ones are the most important depend on the scouting assignment you are creating.

Judging Player Potential – Most useful when scouting younger players/newgens

Judging Player Ability – Most useful when scouting those player’s who aren’t younger players

Determination – How well a scout looks for players in his assignment. The higher the Determination, the more work your scout will do in trying to find players that fit his assignment.

Adaptability – There are 211 nations with FIFA affiliation. With the right database, you can download almost all of them. SI has further broken the world into 16 different regions, and Adaptability reflects how well a Scout can ‘learn’ a new nation, or nations within a region.

The last consideration for me is Age. I prefer to sign a younger scout, because their attributes can also improve over time.

With Palace and their desire to sign players under the age of 23, I am leaning towards younger scouts with a high Potential Ability, and good Adaptability. One of the things I do to help me when creating assignments is edit the scouts name via the nickname option, to add their Current PA, PP, and Country/Region they are knowledgeable in, like this:

Scouts as shown on the Staff screen

This is from the Assignment Screen, if you hover over the scouts name their full profile name including added information is displayed

This is from the scouting assignments screen, hovering over the name will display all the additional information as well.

With Palace, because I am looking to sign players under the age of 23 the majority of my scouts I am looking to hire will have high PA and Adaptability. This is because almost all of assignments are going to be by region, and the scout I assign to a region will be familiar with at least one of the countries in that region. The high adaptability means the scout should learn the other countries in the region faster. Younger scout’s also have the potential to increase their attributes as well. I am 18 months into my save, and several of my scouts have improved their PA and PP in that time. Usually what I do is when I resign a scout, I will update their nickname as well to reflect their increased attributes.

Early on in the game your selection of scouts may not be the best, so you are going to have to compromise. Probably the best example of this for me is this scout here:

At this stage in my save Franck Minvielle is one of the few scouts available in the Central African Region. That said, his PA and PP are adequate, and at 30 years old there is a good possibility the will improve. His Adaptability of 20 means he will learn other countries easier, but his low determination means he won’t be as aggressive about that learning as he could be. He’s on contract until 2026, by which time he will know most, if not all of the countries in Central Africa really well, and while he may not find a lot of players for me, the person I hire to replace him should be able too, using the knwledge base Franck helped build.

I currently have 14 scouts and a Chief Scout on hand, and at the beginning of each season I’ll request and increase in the number of scouts allowed. Sometimes it works, other times it won’t.

Most of my scouts are currently on Region scouting assignments, my Chief Scout is researching my next opponent because not only does he he have good PA and PP, he had a decent Tactical skill as well. Two scouts I have unassigned, they have good PA and PP, and are available to go look at those players who show up in the scouting report, or agent enquiries. Because we have a worldwide scouting package, I try and prioritize those regions that have a reputation for producing quality young players:

Central Europe – The Regional reorganization SI has done for FM22 means Central Europe isn’t the talent factory it is in previous versions of FM, but with Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland it is still very capable of producing talent.

South America (South) – Includes Brazil and Argentina, and even if you don’t find a wonderkid, you can still find very good players for very good prices.

UK & Ireland – Very good youth players can be found here, but you will pay a premium for them.

Western Europe – The Region reorganization SI has done for FM22 means France, Spain, and Portugal are now in this region, and all are capable of producing multiple wonderkids every year.

Eastern Europe – As with Western Europe, the reorganization means Serbia, Romania Hungary and Bulgaria are here, and worth a scout looking for youngsters.

If you have the availability, the two other regions I would scout for youth players are South Europe, which includes Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovinia, and my personal dark horse, Western Africa. Countries like Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal have Youth Ratings from 80 to 120, and with the introduction of Dynamic Youth Ratings to this years version of FM, it’s quite probable their youth ratings will improve, producing talent that is not only has the potential to be very good, but is also available quite cheap. See Issahaku Abdul Fatawu and Clinton Opuku as players who if they aren’t breaking the wonderkid barrier in your save, are still going to be very good players. Fatawu went to Dnipro for 15K in my current Palace save…curse you Work Permit Requiremennts!!!

When you are at a smaller club, your options are going to be more limited, but you can still work within them to find some quality players. Your first restriction is going to be what level recruitment package you have. Depending on what level of competition you are coaching at, this will look different for some teams.

As an example, this is my Recruitment Package and availability at Palace:

This is what the Scouting packages available to Ebbsfleet in the Vanarama South are:

Ebbfsleet is limited to scouting UK & Ireland as their highest tier package at this point. Being in the Vanarama South they do not have the money to Scout Europe. .

So, the question is what level of scouting is appropriate for you? The answer, and it is ambiguous, is that it depends. What are you trying to do with your save? Just have fun? A Journeyman? A Road to Glory? A Youth only? And most importantly, what are your clubs finances? Taking all these into account should give you a good idea of what your backroom scouting staff should look like.

My guideline on this is that if you can afford it, try and scout one level higher than your current level, and if going even another level higher is affordable, do that.

These are the options available to Rad, a team in the Serbian First League, the 2nd Division of Serbia. Scouting their 3rd Tier Recruitment package is going to cost them a lot less than either Palace or Ebbsfleet would pay, and if they can afford to use that package, they should.

That said, scouting is also one of those places where you can save some money. A Chief Scout for next opponents, a scout to look at Agent offers and anything else that comes across, and maybe a Recruitment Analyst, a Performance Analyst, and your set. At Ebbsfleet You get a Scout and a Chief Scout, which will cost you about 2.5K a month in wages. Additionally, if needed you can allocate money from your transfer budget to your scouting budget, which can come in handy during the last month of a season and the transfer windows.

There are plenty of other tools out there you can use to help you find players, even when you have no scouting budget to speak of. It just takes some time, energy, and perhaps a mild case of Carpal Tunnel syndrome to set up. And we will go over that in the next post.

As always, any constructive feedback is appreciated. Thanks for Reading!