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Football Manager 2023: A guide to scouting and recruitment

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The wait is over. The Football Manager 2023 BETA is here, and until the game’s full release, FM fanatics are going through every little new detail in the game. A few weeks ago, Sports Interactive released a 40-minute-long teaser highlighting all the interesting additions to this year’s game. Rather than radically modifying the FM experience for the sake of change, SI have gone for a more surgical approach. Remaining consistent with their innovative and progressive approach, they have built around and refined the progress of recent years.

Certain new features felt slightly out of place and disconnected from the average player’s workflow. For instance, last year’s new recruitment meeting, while it introduced an interesting concept, felt distanced from the rest of the scouting process. Additionally, throughout multiple departments, there were several outdated or meaningless features. For FM23, SI looked to address all these little issues. While you may not feel a significant difference when you load your first save, once you get going, you will notice how smoother and more connected your workflow feels.

At the heart of this approach is the new scouting and recruitment process. The scouting page looks entirely different, with a number of sections having been moved around. This may look intimidating at first, but don’t worry. This article is here to provide a detailed guide to the new scouting process. In addition to exploring the ins and outs of the scouting page, we will also look at how the new squad planner section significantly enhances the recruitment experience. With a “recruitment revamp”, as Sports Interactive called it, FM23 introduces an entirely new approach to leading your club to the top.

Overview and scouting centre

This new-look scouting begins with the homepage. In Football Manager 2022, there were only five tabs on the scouting page, with the scouting centre being one of them. The process was quite simple, with recommendations on the homepage, searching for players on the second, creating and looking at scout assignments on the third, accessing your shortlists on the fourth, and finally, viewing your world knowledge on the fifth.

This year, however, there are six tabs with multiple new subsections and areas. This may seem rather overwhelming, but upon a closer look, the organisation is straightforward and user-friendly. We begin by breaking down the first two tabs, overview and scouting centre.

The overview tab is, unsurprisingly, a general overview of the whole scouting process. On it, you are able to have a general view of multiple sections and go directly to them for more details. At the top, there are the usual options with the addition of a new transfer window watch graphic. The rest of the page is spread out into three sections. On the left, the recruitment focus is available above the scouting coverage map. On the right, there are numerous scouting recommendations. Last year, the scouting recommendations were limited to a small space on the homepage. Now, on the homepage, you can see a list of multiple recommended players along with general information.

The scouting recommendation link, at the top of the list, takes you to the scouting centre. The scouting centre is a much more in-depth version of last year’s homepage. There is a choice between viewing individual player cards or a list. The cards offer a brief, yet detailed report of a given player. Additionally, you are able to see how many, if any, of your recruitment focus this player falls into. In either view, at the bottom, there are numerous actions you are able to perform.

Unlike last year, this year’s scouting homepage provides an overview of the whole scouting process. It is essentially a hub, where you are able to view and access numerous key sections. It still contains player recommendations, but by clicking on its link, you are directed to the next section, where you can have a more in-depth look at individual players.

Players

In FM22, the players tab was the place you would go to search for players, whether it was a general or specific search. This year, however, this tab looks slightly different. It is split into two subsections, and neither of them is called search players. This may leave some users confused, as the search players section was their go-to place for finding new targets. However, the ability to search for players is still there. It is just more specific.

The first subsection is called players in range, and on it, you are able to search through all of the players in your range. While for the clubs with a massive scouting budget this means ultimately nothing, for those of us in smaller leagues, it allows us to conduct a search limited to our scouting range and budget.

The second section is called scouted players, and it looks exactly the same. The only difference is that this search is limited to players you already have some knowledge about. This will certainly be useful in those desperate moments before the deadline day is up.

Recruitment focus

Last year’s assignment tab has been split up into two new tabs, recruitment focus and scouting coverage. The first tab contains the recruitment focus subsection along with the scout priorities area. This recruitment focus is not an entirely new feature, as you were still able to determine your focus and targets in the recruitment meeting. However, in this year’s game, this feature is much more organised and connected with the rest of your scouting process. This area contains your current focuses, and by clicking on one of them, you are able to see the players found from it. At the top, you are also able to create a new recruitment focus.

When you click to create a new one, this page pops up. On the left, you are able to select a position and role, if you wish to. At the bottom, you are also able to select the minimum proficiency to play the selected role. On the right, there are multiple criteria to narrow down your focus. This includes the ability to select its priority, assign an analyst or scout, and even choose a specific geographical area to direct this focus.

Scouting coverage

The next tab is called scouting coverage, and it provides a detailed and illustrative look into your scouting assignments and analyses. The first subsection is scouting assignments, where you are able to access the traditional assignments we all loved last year. On the left, you can view all your scouts and whether or not they currently have an assignment. By clicking on one of them, as seen below, you are able to create an assignment and assign it to them. If they already have one, you are able to edit or remove it. On the right-hand side, there is a map of the world, where you can view where your scouts and assignments are allocated. This subsection is a much-improved version of last year’s scout assignments, where everything is more clear and more organised.

In addition to scouting assignments, there are two other subsections in this tab. The first is match and team analysis, as seen in the image below, and the other is team report priorities. The match and team analysis area allows you to assign scouts to the next opposition, a specific match, or a specific team. This section is not necessarily about recruitment, but it is still very useful when organising your scouting department.

Squad planner

The squad planner section is a completely new feature in FM23, and its arrival has been long awaited. For years, FM players have been using notepads filled with squad lists and potential new signings as they try to stay on top of their recruitment plans. Fortunately, the new squad planner section brings an innovative and detailed approach to squad planning.

The planner allows you to build your squad lists for the current season, the next one, and the one after. With your preferred formation on the left, you are able to select each individual role and view its current situation. You are able to add players from the senior squad, the youth academy, or even your shortlist. As you ensure your squad’s depth and future, this feature allows you to comprehensively assess each and every position in your tactics.

This section also contains a brand new experience matrix area. In this subsection, you are able to see where every player in your squad is in their career progression. From development to experienced, you can view how your squad is distributed experience-wise. With specific colours, you are also able to see how important each player currently is to your team. This feature allows you to assess your squad’s future and neatly ensure balanced and effective dynamics.

The squad planner brings an entirely new approach to squad planning. From assessing each position’s depth to looking at where each player is in their career progression, this section should effectively complement your recruitment and squad planning.

Conclusion

In Football Manager 2023, Sports Interactive have gone for quality over quantity. Rather than changing for the sake of change, they have refined all of the new features introduced in recent years. The most notable change is the new scouting and recruitment workflow. Unlike FM22, the scouting section in FM23 is extremely detailed and useful. Despite seeming rather overwhelming at first, it is incredibly easy to work through.

With the new-look scouting section and the exciting introduction of the squad planner, you will be able to conduct your recruitment like never before in Football Manager.

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