Best Midfielder Traits in Football Manager

Midfielders are the engine of any football team, responsible for dictating the tempo of play, creating attacking opportunities, and breaking up opposition attacks. 

And player traits play a huge part in crafting the perfect midfielder tailored to your tactics.

Whether you envision a midfield maestro dictating the tempo with pinpoint passing or a tireless engine breaking up plays and driving forward with relentless energy, choosing the right traits for your midfield generals can be the difference between floundering in mediocrity and conquering the footballing world.

Today, we’re going to highlight the traits that shape a midfielder’s approach to the game. We’ll focus solely on the midfield players who operate in the central areas of the pitch. 

That means we’ll focus on CM, DM, and AMC positions in the tactic.

With all that set, here are the best midfielder traits in Football Manager:

  • Dictates Tempo
  • Tries Long Range Passes
  • Likes To Switch Ball to Wide Areas
  • Tries Killer Balls Often
  • Plays Short Simple Passes
  • Get Forward Whenever Possible
  • Moves into Channel
  • Arrives Late into Opponent’s Area
  • Plays One-Twos
  • Comes Deep To Get Ball
  • Shoots from Distance
  • Look for Pass Rather Than Attempting to Score
  • Runs with the Ball Through the Center

Best Traits for Midfielders in Football Manager

There are a lot of traits to cover for the midfield role as this is a highly dynamic position in the game. 

I’ve picked 13 midfielder traits in FM that can help your midfielders take advantage of their skill sets in certain phases of the game. 

To make it easy to understand, I’ve presented them under 3 categories:

  • Playmaking traits
  • Movement traits
  • Shooting traits

Let’s get into it.

Playmaking Traits

These traits are focused on influencing the playmaking and buildup of the team. 

A majority of these traits rely on the passing prowess of the midfielder and their ability to find teammates in promising areas. 

Dictates Tempo

The Dictates Tempo player trait increases the chances of the player taking charge of predominantly midfield situations and using their attributes to influence the team’s performance.

Depending on his understanding of the game, the player will either slow down the tempo or amp it up in different phases of the match. 

This means that the player will oftentimes ignore the manager’s tactical instructions about the tempo and use his own judgments. 

Players who dictate tempo have great game intelligence and can read the game well. His ability to assess the opposition helps him fashion the game in the team’s favor using his abilities. 

They are considered the leader of the midfield and possess superior abilities in possession and distribution. 

Required AttributesComposure, Decisions, Anticipation, Off the Ball, Passing, Technique, Vision, Balance, Agility, Teamwork
Complementary AttributesConcentration, Leadership
Complementary traitsTries long range of passes, Likes To Switch Ball to Wide Areas
Contrasting traitsPlays no through balls, Plays short simple passes
Complementary Tactical InstructionsBe more expressive
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsBe more disciplined

Advantages

  • Helps the team to adapt to the opposition tactics
  • Adds elements of unpredictability to the play
  • Helps the player to take control of the midfield battle
An image of Tony Kroos and Luka Modric, both players tends to dictate the tempo of  a game.

Tries Long Range Passes

“The Tries Long Range Passes” trait increases the chances of a player attempting to pass the ball over long distances.

It’s a trait that suits midfielders playing in a long ball system with high passing ability. 

Long range passes help the player to vertically progress the ball and exploit spaces in the opposition’s defence. 

Playing it long also helps ease pressure from the defence. Quick, accurate long passes can be a potent weapon in counterattacking situations, catching the opposition off-guard as they transition from attack to defence.

It’s a great trait to possess against opposition who like to keep it tight at the back. Long-range passes force the opposition to break out of their formation to win the ball, opening up spaces to exploit. 

Required AttributesPassing, Technique, Vision, Decisions, Flair
Complementary AttributesTeamwork, Flair, Anticipation
Complementary traitsLikes To Switch Ball to Wide Areas
Contrasting traitsPlays short simple passes, Plays no through balls
Complementary Tactical InstructionsStandard/ Direct Passing
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsShorter passing directness
Effective AgainstHigh defensive lines, Narrow defensive shape

Advantages

  • Vertical progression
  • Counter Attack
  • Exploiting space
  • Breaking Pressure

Likes To Switch Ball to Wide Areas

‘Likes to switch ball to wide areas’ enhances the likelihood of players executing diagonal passes across the pitch. 

This trait proves advantageous for central midfielders endowed with exceptional vision and passing capabilities on one side, complemented by an advancing teammate on the opposite wing. 

Wingers with traits to make forward runs especially get to benefit from this as they can find the pass in a more advantageous position. 

This strategic move capitalizes on less congested space, fostering effective offensive plays.

Rapidly shifting possession from a crowded area to a less populated one serves to unsettle the opponent. It can also help to stretch the attacking width in FM

This approach is particularly advantageous for players operating in half spaces or wide channels, allowing swift transitions to the other side of the pitch. This can be crucial in scenarios where the attack breaks down, space is limited, or passing options are highly restricted.

In my tactical approach, despite prioritizing possession, I encourage my advanced playmaker to adopt this trait

This deliberate choice aims to exploit the available space on the opposite side, where the complete wingback or attacking wingback can exploit opportunities. 

Required AttributesPassing, Technique, Vision, Decisions, Flair
Complementary AttributesFlair, Anticipation
Complementary traitsTries long-range passes
Contrasting traitsPlays short simple passes
Complementary Tactical InstructionsFocus Play Down the Left/ Right, Overlaps
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsFocus play through the middle
Effective AgainstNarrow defensive shape, Gegenpressing teams

Advantages

  • Eases pressure from high-pressing
  • Stretches the play
  • Exploits spaces in the wing
  • Faster ball progression

Tries Killer Balls Often

This increases the frequency with which a player will attempt through balls.

Midfielders with an exceptional eye for killer balls can find the forwards in dangerous positions with key, calculated passes. 

They tend to use the half spaces to make room for diagonal passes from near the penalty box to important areas.

Instead of just running with the ball, this strategy focuses on smart passes or passes from far away, aiming to create chances by going through the defence.

This means that the passes will be more direct, putting pressure on the opposition defenders. 

To make it work, you need pacey wingers and forwards who attack the opponent’s area or move into specific areas.

Players who try killer balls are willing to take more risks. It means trying passes that might not always work but could open up the other team’s defence. 

If executed poorly, this trait will lead your midfielder to lose the ball quite often. 

Required AttributesPassing, Vision, Technique, Anticipation, Flair, Decisions, Concentration
Complementary AttributesTeamwork
Complementary traitsTries long range passes
Contrasting traitsLikes ball played to feet(teammates), Plays short simple passes
Complementary Tactical InstructionsMore risky passing(Individual), Pass into Space
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsTake fewer risks(Individual)
Effective AgainstHigh defensive line, Slow opposition defenders

Advantages

  • More final-third key passes
  • Quick offensive transition
  • Exploits spaces
  • Breaks high defensive lines

Plays Short Simple Passes

The trait ‘Play Short Simple Passes’’ increases the tendency of the player to opt for short and ‘safe’ passes rather than playing them long. 

Doing so helps the team retain better possession and see less possession turnover. 

This trait suits players who are more defensive and careful with their passing. It also helps players to hide poor passing abilities. They want to keep the ball more than take risks.

The passes won’t challenge the opponents much because they’re not played into open areas. So it becomes a bit predictable but ensures the ball goes to a more creative player nearby who can use it better.

‘Anchor’ is one such role that looks to recycle possession with short simple passes.

It’s good to have one or two players like this on your team if you want to build up play carefully. They make sure the right player gets the ball at the right time and in the right part of the field.

Required AttributesPassing, First Touch, Technique, Vision, Composure, Agility
Complementary AttributesTeamwork, Concentration
Complementary traitsPlays no through balls
Contrasting traitsTries long-range passes, Tries killer balls often
Complementary Tactical InstructionsShorter passing directness, Be more disciplined, Takes fewer risks(Individual)
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsDirect passing directness, Be more expressive
Effective AgainstHigh pressing system

Advantages

  • High possession retention
  • Reduced turnover risk
  • Draws Opponents Out
  • Steady buildup

Movement Traits

These sets of traits focus specifically on the player’s movement on and off the ball.

Get Forward Whenever Possible

This player trait amps up the frequency of a player’s forward runs, adjusting for team mentality and the role they’re playing.

Such players will make frequent runs forward to help with the attack and provide an extra body of support near the final third. Depending on supporting traits, the player can move into channels or get inside the box to sniff out goalscoring opportunities. 

This also means that the player will leave gaps in his position which can leave the team vulnerable against counterattacks. 

Players require a high level of stamina, work rate, and determination to keep the intensity of the forward runs consistent throughout the match. 

Midfielder roles like Center Midfielder(Attack), Segundo Volante, Mezzala, and Shadow Striker can use the trait to their advantage and exploit the opposition completely unmarked. 

Required AttributesAcceleration, Pace, Off the Ball, Anticipation, Stamina, Work Rate
Complementary traitsMoves into Channel
Contrasting traitsStays back at all times, Comes Deep to Get Ball
Complementary Tactical InstructionsGet Further Forward(Individual)
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsHold Position(Individual)
Effective AgainstOutnumbered Defence

Advantages

  • Supports the attack
  • Hard to mark and defend
  • Applies pressure to the opposition
  • Adds a goalscoring threat

Moves into Channel

We mostly notice the presence of this trait predominantly amongst advanced midfielders. 

Moves into Channel is a trait in FM that increases the frequency with which central players will move into space between their position and wide attacking position, which is also known as the half-space. 

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne is a perfect Mezzala who tends to operate in the half spaces and regularly moves into the channel. 

This adds a whole new dimension to the midfielder’s game as he has a lot of space to execute his next move. It also forces the defenders to break their defensive shape to close down the midfielder, creating gaps to exploit.

For that, the midfielder needs a lot of awareness of his surroundings, with good anticipation, decisions, and off the ball movement.

Required AttributesAcceleration, Pace, Off the Ball, Decisions, Anticipation
Contrasting traitsStays back at all times
Complementary Tactical InstructionsMove into channels(Individual), Stay wide(Individual)
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsHold Position(Individual)
Effective AgainstA low block defence 

Advantages

  • Opens room for killer balls
  • Exploits opposition openings
  • Hard to mark and defend
  • Stretches the play

Arrives Late into Opponent’s Area

Players possessing this trait will hold their run for the last second before arriving in the box late to receive crosses.

They make well-timed runs from deeper spots to avoid being noticed too early. Instead, they wait for the right moment to attack a specific space that might have opened up in the box.

Such tendencies make them difficult to mark and can leave them uncontested in the box.

For example, it could be a cross from the side aimed at the center, where the attacking players move forward. Meanwhile, a player like an advanced playmaker, roaming playmaker, box-to-box midfielder, or deep-lying playmaker arrives late in the opponent’s area.

To make this work, the player must read the game well, and decide precisely when to move forward based on the ball’s path and available space. 

This strategy is better suited for a supporting midfielder.

Required AttributesDecisions, Off the Ball, Anticipation, Composure, Flair
Complementary AttributesWork Rate
Complementary traitsGets Forward Whenever Possible
Contrasting traitsStays back at all times, Gets Into The Opposition Area Whenever Possible
Complementary Tactical InstructionsBe More Expressive
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsHold Position(Individual), Be More Disciplined
Effective AgainstTightly marking defences

Advantages

  • Tough to mark
  • Exploits gaps inside the box
  • Adds an extra crossing option

Plays One-Twos

Play One-Twos increases the likeliness of the player to make a pass and immediately want it back in a better, advantageous position

In Football Manager, players who tend to “Plays one-twos” can easily break up strict marking and defensive blocks by performing some quick tempo passing with teammates to receive the ball in a better position. 

Doing so opens up spaces in the midfield, creating openings for a killer ball, or goalcoring opportunities. 

It’s a powerful move, especially in a style of play that involves short passes and a fast pace.

When a midfielder plays one-twos, they can quickly create chances for themselves or their teammates, putting them in better positions on the field. These quick movements are tricky for the other team to predict and respond to.

Required AttributesFirst Touch, Passing, Anticipation, Off the Ball, Decisions, Flair, Agility, Balance
Complementary AttributesTeamwork, Pace, Acceleration
Complementary traitsDictates Tempo, Get forward whenever possible
Contrasting traitsStays Back at all times
Complementary Tactical InstructionsHigher tempo
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsLow tempo
Effective AgainstHigh pressing systems

Advantages

  • Increases the tempo of the game
  • Can beat man-marking
  • Create openings inside the final third

Runs with the Ball Through the Center

Similar to how players capable of playing down the wings have the “run with ball down the flanks” trait, there’s a counterpart known as “Runs With Ball Through Center” for those who navigate the central areas. 

This trait increases the player’s frequency of deciding to dribble through the middle.

When facing a defensive block with man-marking and a compact shape, having a player who can speed through the center with the ball becomes highly advantageous. 

The opposing marker may become uncertain about whether to leave the player to the next marker, attempt a tackle and risk a free-kick in a dangerous position, or follow the player, thereby creating space for another teammate to exploit.

This trait is valuable for central midfielders, attacking midfielders, and defensive midfielders in support or attacking roles. 

While the advanced playmaker, trequartista, and shadow striker default to having this trait, it can also be assigned to the segundo volante, central midfielder, and box-to-box midfielder by selecting the “dribble more” option.

Required AttributesFirst Touch, Dribbling, Flair, Technique, Pace, Acceleration, Agility
Complementary AttributesComposure, Decisions
Complementary traitsBest opposition repeatedly, Bring ball out of defence
Contrasting traitsRuns With Ball Rarely, ‘Runs With Ball Down Right / Left Flank
Complementary Tactical InstructionsRun at defence, Dribble more(individual)
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsDribble less(individual & team)
Effective AgainstOpposition with poor decision making and defensive abilities

Advantages

  • Draws defenders out
  • Forces fouls
  • Focuses the play through the middle

Comes Deep To Get Ball

A player who “comes deep to get the ball” is more likely to drop into the midfield, creating an option for a pass, especially when facing a deep defensive line from the opponent. 

This movement can also support teammates in deeper positions during various phases, like building up from the back or circulating the ball in the final third.

The trait introduces a dynamic where one player moves forward while another comes deep, creating uncertainty for opposing defenders. 

Roles like half-back and deep-lying playmaker naturally exhibit this behavior. But you can also instill this trait in particular strikers playing as a DLF or a false 9.

Players with this trait must handle pressure well, adeptly controlling the ball in tight spaces and reading the game tactically. 

Positioned deeper, a playmaker can use their vision to attempt riskier passes between lines, challenging the opposition’s defensive setup.

For effective play, the player coming deep needs a teammate who makes forward runs and exploits spaces left behind, like a box-to-box midfielder, mezzala, segundo volante (attack), inside forward, inverted winger (attack), or an advanced forward.

Required AttributesTeamwork, Workrate, First Touch, Agility, Balance, Composure
Complementary AttributesDribbling, Anticipation
Contrasting traitsGet Forward Whenever Possible
Complementary Tactical InstructionsPlay the ball to the playmaker(Goalkeeper distribution)
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsGet further forward(Individual)
Effective AgainstTeams that sits deep to defend, low blocks

Advantages

  • Adds an extra passing option during the buildup
  • Unsettles opposition’s line of engagement
  • Forces the opposition to press and create gaps in defensive structure

Shooting Traits

Midfielders also have to play a part in the goalscoring, which can lead them to have a shot at goal directly. Some are good at it. Others struggle to find the back of the net.

To make sure your midfielders make the best use of their finishing ability, you should try implementing the following traits in their game:

Shoots from Distance

Player who tends to “Shoots from a distance” will try more shots from outside the penalty box.

If you’re pressing the play and pushing the opponent deep into their own half, having a player who can finish attacks with shots from outside the penalty box can prove crucial at times.

This trait is excellent for central midfielders or Defensive midfielders who like to hang around the edge of the penalty box. It suits various midfield roles like box-to-box midfielders, Roaming Playmaker, Advanced Playmaker, deep-lying playmaker, and even defensive midfielders who venture forward. These players can pose a goal-scoring threat from a distance.

To execute this trait well, the player needs to identify opportunities to take a shot. This requires not only good decision-making but also an assessment of the goalkeeper’s positioning and reach.

More composed players will take their time to slot the ball into the net from the distance, clearing out any obstacle in front of goal. Others will tend to shoot at the first opportunity.

In a possession game, shooting from a distance adds an unpredictable element. Opponents have to consider the long shot capabilities of your player, preventing them from dropping too deep and giving your player too much space.

However, having too many players shooting from a distance can harm your team’s ability to get good goal-scoring positions. It may lead to many off-target shots as accuracy decreases with the distance from the goal.

To enhance long shots, pairing “Shoots from Distance” with “Shoots With Power” can make these attempts more effective against keepers who are poor at handling the ball.

Required AttributesLong shot, Finishing, First Touch
Complementary AttributesDecisions, Flair, Technique, Strength
Complementary traitsTries first-time shots, Shoot with power
Contrasting traitsLook For the Pass Rather Than Attempting to Score, Refrain from taking long shots
Complementary Tactical InstructionsShoot more often(individual), Shoot on sight
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsShoot less often(individual), Work Ball into Box
Effective AgainstLow Defensive Lines, Goalkeepers with poor reach, reflex, and handling. 

Advantages

  • Adds an additional goalscoring threat
  • Can create chances from deflection or rebound
  • Highly effective against low block defences

Look for Pass Rather Than Attempting to Score

The ‘Looks for the pass rather than attempting to score’ trait is valuable for players who aren’t natural goalscorers. 

These are individuals with subpar finishing and long shot abilities, making it challenging for them to make a mark in the attacking third.

This trait increases the likelihood of a player choosing to set up a scoring chance for a teammate instead of trying to score themselves. Its success relies on the player’s playmaking attributes, especially their vision and passing skills.

It’s particularly useful for attacking-minded midfielders who often find themselves in positions to score but lack the goal-scoring prowess. Instead of taking a shot, they opt to create opportunities for teammates. 

This can, however, lead to wasted opportunities as the opposition won’t be sitting around.

I usually train this trait to my box-to-box midfielders, deep-lying playmakers, and attacking midfielders with superior vision compared to their finishing abilities. 

These players often find themselves in scoring situations due to advanced positioning but may lack the finishing technique or long shot capabilities to convert those chances into goals.

Required AttributesPassing, Technique, Vision, Decisions
Complementary AttributesTeamwork
Complementary traitsRefrain from taking long shots
Contrasting traitsShoots from distance, Tries first time shots
Complementary Tactical InstructionsShoot less often(individual), Work Ball into Box
Contrasting Tactical InstructionsShoot more often(individual), Shoot on sight
Effective AgainstHigh pressing teams

Advantages

  • Hides poor finishing
  • Can create better opportunities
  • Reduces wasteful shooting 

Final Thoughts

And that’s all the essential midfielder traits in Football Manager that you can try out on your players to varying degrees of success. 

Make sure that the traits you train them go along with your tactical approach and the player’s playing style. 

Don’t push a player to learn too many traits as it can end up restricting them in certain situations. 

That’s all.

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