#FM17 | Goalkeeper Instructions

Hi all, if you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw my tweet during last Sunday about “Distribute To Full Backs” instruction which I have set to my goalkeeper(s). When I was on my way to the real life job I think about it in the traffic jam and I decided to write something more about it than only 140 characters. 

It was one of the first tactical changes I made after a couple of matches when FM17 arrived. I’m not sure if I saw too many lost balls during previous versions but during first matches in this version I was really frustrated that my goalkeeper started new attack with a long ball to the half line and that was the end of our play as opponent’s defenders easily get the ball.


When fifth or sixth match ended and my nervous system returned to normal my next step was to check passes stats of my keeper in the Analysis in his profile.

It’s very easy to find out what was good and what was wrong. Just go to player XY profile → Reports → Analysis and then choose match you want to analyse…


…or you can go to specific match → Analysis → Players and choose Pasess from drop down menu. And if you click to single player icon in the pitch you can watch highlight or linked events.


As I wrote on Twitter, the “Distribute To Full Backs” was probably the most important thing what I could set to my goalkeeper.

What game says: “Distribute To Full Backs asks the goalkeeper to primarily seek out his full backs when distributing the ball from his possession.”

When we take a look to the start of this save we played without this instruction. Our keeper #1 was 22 years old Stuart Moore.


Liam Moore – #1 keeper in 2016/2017 season

Let’s take a look the some matches. The first one is from October 2016 when we played against Nottingham Forest. We can see 25 passes in Analysis divided to “completed” and “intercepted”. The first thing you find out is there much more “orange” coloured arrows. That means more intercepted passes.

Sixteen from 25 passes were intercepted at the half line by opponent’s players. Only nine passes were collected by our players.


It does not matter if it was goal kick or long ball after pass from defender or long ball after some harder situation after close down play by opponents almost every ball ended like these…



Two in one…


Last four pictures of passes stats by Stuart Moore from October 2016. As you can see in all of these matches he had more intercepted passes. The match against Derby was extreme as he completed only six passes from 25.

I know it also depends on movement of the rest players or on the height, jumping reach and other attributes of players but the “long ball all the day” strategy is clear at the first sight.

Life with “Distribute To Full Backs” instruction

I think you understand I was not able to continue without some changes :) It would very depressive to watch if I did not change it. So, we’re now in March 2021, we’re Premier League club after promotion from Championship and our keeper #1 is Luke Southwood, one of players from Reading FC academy.

As you can see he is just only one year older than Moore in our example from 2016 but big difference is his passing attribute – 9. Moore had just only 2.


What I changed during the time? Our goalkeepers have instructions Distribute To Full Backs, Fewer Risky Passes, Roll It Out and Shorter Passing.

I don’t want to see so many lost passes and long balls to the half line. I want to build up our attacks if we have the ball. As I play with 4-3-1-2 narrow tactic with short passing style I want our keeper is able to distribute ball to the full backs in almost all occasions.


Roll It Out instructions is very simple as game itself says: “Asks the goalkeeper to roll the ball out to a nearby player when distributing from his possession.”

I set this because our keeper is able to pass the ball to full backs in more harder plays when opponent’s players close him down or when we have indirect/free kick from our half and he is able to find the nearest player.


I shared this GIF on Twitter and the change is massive…


Linked events of this goal…


And of course there are changes in stats as well. This picture is from last game I played so far in this save. It was EFL Cup Final against Arsenal and Southwood had 30 passes – 5 intercepted & 25 completed!


After these changes I saw big improvements in our play in overall. Our keepers were calmer and patient in most situations. They took much more free kicks from our own half so we were able to have all players in the game and more options how to take free kicks.


Last five matches of Luke Southwood and stats of his passes:

  • EFL Cup Final vs. Arsenal – 25 completed & 5 intercepted
  • Europa League vs. Lazio – 22 completed & 4 intercepted
  • Premier League vs. West Brom – 29 completed & 3 intercepted
  • Europa League vs. Lazio (1st game) – 26 completed & 3 intercepted
  • Premier League vs. Crystal Palace – 12 completed & 1 intercepted

I like to check these stats after matches as there are some differences in matches with smaller, same ang bigger clubs. In screen from Crystal Palace match Southwood had very easy game. We won 4-0 and they had no chances, only two shots on target and they were defending almost whole match.

On the other side, we played with Chelsea two weeks before and this match ended 2-2. Southwood was under much bigger pressure and his stats were worse.


Back to the 2016 when Luke Southwood was 18 years old and he was our keeper #3 and he played mainly for Under 23s. This last picture is from match against Arsenal Under 23s and it’s match before the tactical changes. As you can see his stats of passes are awfull same in example with Stuart Moore above…


And that’s all my readers. Many thanks for your support on Twitter and on my blog and thank you for reading this piece about goalkeepers. Any feedback is welcome, @KeysiRensie. Take care.


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