Ultimate Goalkeeper Distribution Guide: Football Manager 24

The role of a goalkeeper is more important and flexible than it has ever been in modern football. They are expected to cover a ton of duties and responsibilities that simply guard the goal. 

In a counter-attack focused football era, teams have adopted different styles of GK distribution to get that extra edge over their opposition. And we’re seeing more of it every day.

Unfortunately, goalkeeper distribution is one of the most underused tactical instructions in Football Manager. Most of us don’t bother setting any particular instruction for our keepers, letting them play out on their own. 

But if used right, it can help you to easily unlock any defense, giving you a better chance at winning. 

So today, I’m going to take a deeper dive into GK distribution to help you make the most out of Goalkeeper distribution in FM24.

Goalkeeper Distribution Urgency

This instruction decides how urgently will your keeper get the ball back into play. 

Football Manager gives you two options to decide your goalkeeper’s urgency to distribute the ball:

  • Distribute Quickly
  • Slow Down Pace

Based on your team’s tactical approach, you might want your keeper to quickly play the ball to catch the opposition off guard. Or you might want your keeper to take his time to calm down the pressure and then bring the ball into play.

Distribute Quickly

Instructing your Goalkeeper to Distribute Quickly will ask the keeper to get the ball into play with an increased tempo. 

Distributing the ball quickly helps a team launch counter-attacks from the back. The instruction aligns with the ‘Counter’ instruction during attacking transitions.

This is highly effective when the opposition commits to many players in attack, leaving their defense exposed.

Although quick GK distribution works to unsettle the opposition during the attacking transition, it’s a risky option that can lead to higher possession turnover. 

Slow Down Pace

The Slow Down Pace instruction instructs the goalkeeper to take a while for the teammates to get into their designated position before distributing the ball. 

It’s also an effective time-wasting tactic during the latter stage of the game where you want to squeeze out every single second.

Slowing the pace down helps your teammates to settle in their actual position, allowing higher distribution accuracy and better possession retention. 

This instruction aligns well with teams who like to dominate possession and progress with slow buildup.  

Goalkeeper Distribution to Area or Player

This option allows you to dictate the player or area where your keeper will look to get the ball to.

It’s a key instruction that plays an important role in your team’s buildup play.

The GK Distribution tactical instruction in FM24

Distribute Over the Opposition Defense

This instruction asks your Goalkeeper to launch the ball past the opposition’s line of defense. The keeper kicks it long for the furthest forward to run onto the ball and use his superior pace to get more one-on-one opportunities against the opposition goalkeeper.

Your goalkeeper can only get the ball past the opposition defense through long kicks, for which, he needs high Kicking ability.

This strategy is effective against teams that adopt a high defensive line, leaving them vulnerable against long passes into space

Look for centre backs who lack pace, acceleration, and agility to exploit the high lines. 

Suitable ForRoute One Football
Effective AgainstHigh Defensive Lines
Vulnerable AgainstLower Defensive Lines, Sweeper Keepers

Distribute to Target Man

Rather than playing the ball over the opposition defense, the goalkeeper will look to kick the ball towards your Target Man to muscle it against the opposition and find a teammate in an advantageous position. 

It’s a great strategy when you have a powerful Target Man leading the line and a goalkeeper with good Kicking, Passing, and Technique to find his man. 

Teams that have shorter or less powerful centre backs will struggle against this strategy as they won’t be able to win the aerial duel against your Target Man. 

Suitable ForDirect Passing Style
Effective AgainstAerially inferior defense
Vulnerable AgainstAerially dominant defense

Distribute to Flanks

Your goalkeeper will seek out the wide areas, primarily the wingers when instructed to distribute to flanks. 

This strategy works to your team’s advantage if you possess technically sound wingers who are comfortable in receiving and running with the ball. 

It’s also a great tactic to stretch out compact defenses by forcing the opposition players to break out from their formation. 

To reach the flanks, your keeper has to either take long kicks or throw the ball long. 

Suitable ForWing Play
Effective AgainstCompact defenses
Vulnerable AgainstHigh Defensive Lines, High Press

Distribute to Playmaker

If your team relies heavily on your playmaker’s ability on the buildup, then you might want your goalkeeper to distribute the ball to him. 

Distributing to the playmaker gives the team a better chance at goal. And for that, you need a press-resistant playmaker who won’t give away the ball the moment he receives the ball from your goalkeeper. 

The opposition’s midfield can easily be overrun if they are pressing with a high line of engagement, leaving huge gaps in their midfield. 

Your Goalkeeper has the chance to either throw it long, roll it out,  or take short and long kicks to find the playmaker. 

A physically dominant playmaker won’t have any trouble receiving long GK kicks in the middle of the pitch. But if your playmaker is not aerially dominant, you might want your GK to throw it long or roll it out to your playmaker’s feet. 

You should look for Throwing, Kicking, Technique, and Vision in your goalkeeper to pick out your playmaker accurately. 

Suitable ForQuick counter-attacks
Effective AgainstHigher Line of Engagement
Vulnerable AgainstMid-block / Low-blocks

Distribute to Full Backs

Fullbacks are mostly unmarked and hardly pressed by the opposition, which makes it a great option for buildup through the wide areas. 

This instruction will ask your goalkeeper to distribute the ball to your wingbacks or fullbacks.

Depending on their roles and duties, the full-backs will either carry the ball forward on their own or play it to a more progressive player. 

Most two-forward formations struggle to properly mark or press the fullbacks to win the ball, making it advantageous against them. 

On the other hand, if the opposition has aggressive wingers to quickly close down your full-backs, your keeper can give away possession cheaply.

Suitable ForWIng-Play
Effective AgainstNarrow formations
Vulnerable AgainstWide formations

Distribute to Centre Backs

Distributing the ball to the centre backs is the safest and possession friendly option in Football Manager. 

Your goalkeeper plays the ball to the centre backs with short kicks or rolls. This allows the team to build up from the back, favoring teams that thrive on slow buildup play. 

It also leads to the lowest possession turnover, making it a favored strategy amongst dominant teams. 

However, if your centre backs are not comfortable in possession, they can be forced to make errors by the opposition maintaining a high defensive line and aggressive pressing. 

Your centre backs must possess good first touch, composure, decisions, agility, and balance to beat the initial press and progress the ball.

Suitable ForBuilding from Back
Effective AgainstLow-block, Low pressing teams
Vulnerable AgainstHigh Line of Engagement, High Press

Distribute To Position

If you want to be more specific with your goalkeeper’s distribution, you can actually pick a specific player in the formation.

Click on the dropdown arrow next to the Distribute to Area/Player instruction and select Distribute to Position. This will allow you to choose a specific player for your keeper to aim for. It’s that simple.


Distribution Type: Explained

Figured out where you want your keeper to play the ball? Well, now it’s time to decide how he does it. 

Football Manager allows you to pick 4 different distribution types:

  • Roll it Out
  • Throw it Long
  • Take Short Kicks
  • Take Long Kicks

Each distribution type has its advantages, along with risks. 

Roll It Out

The ‘Roll it Out’ instruction asks the goalkeeper to roll the ball on the ground towards a nearby player.

This distribution strategy is a great option for goalkeepers who are not great with their distribution. 

Goalkeepers with poor Throwing and Kicking attributes can hide their weaknesses by simply rolling the ball out to the designated player or area.

Throw it Long

Throwing the ball long allows the goalkeeper to use his superior throwing abilities to accurately find teammates over a long distance. 

It’s a good alternative distribution strategy for keepers who are not that good with their kicking. In addition, the goalkeeper can quickly launch counter attacks by throwing the ball immediately after handling it.

Take Short Kicks

This instruction will instruct the goalkeeper to drop the ball to his feet and pass it short to a nearby teammate. 

Short kicks help in building up from the back while also keeping a great deal of possession. But it can also be risky against aggressive pressing systems. 

So your GK must possess good composure, decisions, first touch, and passing attributes to comfortably distribute short.

Take Long Kicks

Goalkeepers will kick the ball over a long distance, looking to find the furthest players up the pitch. 

Most teams with a direct style of play prefer such types of distributions to quickly reach the opposition’s final third. 

The accuracy of your GK’s long kicks depends on his Kicking attribute. 

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