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How Important is Current and Potential Ability in Football Manager

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Unveil the secrets of player potential in Football Manager. Learn effective scouting and development strategies for success.
Decoding Player Potential in Football Manager

Mastering Scouting and Development Strategies for Success in Football Manager


For years now, fans of Football Manager have tried to understand the system behind the ability of players. Typically, player stats are defined by two key factors: their Current Ability (CA), and their Potential Ability (PA). Naturally, CA is the level of ability that they have just now, and their PA is the highest level of ability that they can reach.

The problem is, many FM players get too caught up on the idea of CA and PA. For example, just because you used the In-Game Editor and found a chunk of players with Potential Ability in the 160+ range does not mean you’ll be building a team of superstars in no time at all. There’s far more nuance to scouting than this. As any football fan will tell you: there’s more to how a player develops than simply their potential. So, how important really is a player’s CA and PA? The point of this article is to examine what makes up these attributes and what else you need to know to ensure your new signing will be able to make the most of his potential.

What exactly is CA and PA?


Current ability and potential ability are ratings found in the editor which boil a player’s overall ability down to a single number. For current ability, this is an aggregate of a player’s ability for his position and preferred role. For example, heading is not equally important to all strikers, it is far more weighted for a target forward than a false 9. However, it’s not as simple as that when considering how your players will perform.

For example, signing a false 9 with 160 CA to play as a target forward will be a waste of time, especially if he lacks the attributes to be an effective target forward. The attributes you need to see to judge how a player will suit your system are almost entirely visible in-game, with no need to sweat over what it says in the editor.

Potential ability is slightly different, but again, not the be all and end all of how a young player will turn out. Yes, a high potential ability rating indicates a player may one day reach a level where that high PA number is now their CA number, but any football fan knows there’s more to it than that. Every fan in the world has seen a player at their club who could’ve developed into a far better player had his attitude been better, had his injury luck been better, had he been able to string together better performances. These things are dictated by other attributes, such as determination and work rate, and his personality. A player with a determination of 5 is very unlikely to be committed enough to success to do the work required to fulfil that potential, so a PA of 200 is wasted on this player.

Since your scouts (good scouts, anyway) can give you a good idea of what a player can do for you in the short and long-term, you don’t need to know a player's exact CA or PA. A player’s visible attributes will always tell you much more about how a player will actually impact the match engine, rather than a rating based on an aggregate of these attributes.

Don’t build your Football Manager team based on Current and Potential Ability


The main thing to do when buying a player is to make sure they are going to be a good fit for your team. This means quite a few things:

  • Scouting them thoroughly, with a key target scouted to full knowledge.
  • A detailed look at their key stats. How high are their key stats for the intended role?
  • Looking at their age and general level of development: could you reshape them? Is there time left in their development window?
  • Listening to scout and coach comments about their personality and suitability.

Many times, you can get excited because a player has numerous high stats in key areas you want to see them. However, things that can be extremely high impact on the usage of players' CA include Pace, Acceleration, Technique, Finishing, and most of the mental stats like Composure, Concentration, and Decisions.

The stats that seem to take up the least amount of CA seem to be more arbitrary things like Work Rate, Teamwork, and Natural Fitness. So, if you are looking for a winger, don’t look for the speed merchant alone unless they have lots of potential according to your scouts. Without room to grow, a low-CA player would find their high Pace/Acceleration means their technical and mental stats never really grow, and as such they’ll never reach a higher level.

Conclusion


Basically, listen to the coaches about the personality of a player, their development potential, and also how rounded their stats are. The higher up the divisions you go, the more rounded a player has to be. Don’t get caught up looking only at CA and PA if you activate them in-game, though; there is much more to making a player perform than simply having a high CA.

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FM Blog | FM24: How Important is Current and Potential Ability in Football Manager
How Important is Current and Potential Ability in Football Manager
Unveil the secrets of player potential in Football Manager. Learn effective scouting and development strategies for success.
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