The Football’s Kingdom – Player Preferred Moves (PPM’s)

Player’s preferred moves or PPM’s for short are a big part of Football Manager and have been for many years. Yet it’s an area I feel people neglect or don’t quite understand what a player’s preferred move is and how they work. Hopefully this post will explain a little bit about how I utilise PPM’s and decide what I need and more importantly is the player capable of doing what I’ve learnt him. This article is about what I look for and others might do it differently, so I’m not saying this way is a must or better, it’s simply just explaining how I utilise them.

I get a lot of people ask me about players preferred moves and if I have a list of the best one for each position and I always reply with the same answer – There is no best and it totally depends on what you want from the tactic you’ve created and what style you are aiming to achieve. Any PPM training should be based on this because it will impact your tactic in some way, so you need to factor this into any decision-making when creating tactics.

Even after setting your tactic up with the team and player instructions you’ve chosen it still might not mean the players are doing those things because they might have a player’s preferred move that doesn’t allow or impacts in someway the settings you’ve selected. For this you need to be aware of any PPM’s the player has when tactic building. PPM’s do not cost CA they are free with the exception of one, develops weaker foot. They should also be thought of as tendencies and an extension of a player’s profile. If someone has a PPM then they will attempt to use this move as often as they see fit. The frequency at which it will be used comes down to decision-making and how successful it is, comes down to the required attributes.You can’t really influence them by setting certain tactical settings in the user interface. They are purely dependant on the player’s own decision-making.

These add a different dimension to the player and depending on what PPM’s he has will instruct him to do certain traits like dictate tempo, curl ball, shoots with power and so on. So when creating a tactic and choosing a role for a player you really should take these into consideration because they may affect how he plays the role you’ve give him. For example – you wouldn’t want an anchor man with the PPM gets forward when possible, as his job is to stay deep and protect the back four. Having that kind of PPM for that kind of role can stop him doing it effectively and efficiently and could make him get caught out of position frequently. So you need to be aware of the PPM’s a player has before deciding what you want him to do in the system you are creating.

If you are playing a version of the game that is older than FM15 then there are seven  PPM’s that can only be obtained via tutoring;

  • Curls ball
  • Stays back at all times
  • Dwells on ball
  • Tries to play way out of trouble
  • Gets into oppositions area
  • Arrives late in oppositions area
  • Argues with officials

On versions from FM15 onward all PPM’s can be trained, so if you’d like your players to learn any of those above then you’ll have to find a player with them already in the game and try to buy the player. Then you can try to get it transferred to one of your players by having him tutor someone. Also on older versions of the game some of these PPM’s might not be available or have slightly different names. If memory serves me right there only used to be 47 PPM’s available, so just be wary that if you use an older versions things might ever so slightly be different from in this article.

Below I’ll list all the player preferred moves and talk about what attributes I think a player needs to be able to use them. Remember this is just my opinion based on what I’ve used for quite a few years so if you don’t agree that is fine as these are just my opinions.

There are a total of 51 PPM’s that are available by either tutoring or learning a player the move. The full list of PPM’s can be seen in the screenshots below.


When looking at PPM’s either learning them or unlearning them, not a lot of people take into account the player’s attributes. Player’s attributes are a massive part of PPM’s and determine if he can actually do what you’ve instructed. All I’m doing is showing what I look for when deciding who can have what PPM’s rather than saying my way is better than anyone else’s. So here is a list of attributes that I work on when teaching players PPM’s, you might think differently or look for different attributes though.

  1. Runs with ball down left – dribbling, technique, acceleration, balance, agility.
  2. Runs with ball down right – dribbling, technique, acceleration, balance, agility.
  3. Runs with ball through centre – dribbling, technique, acceleration, balance, agility.
  4. Gets into opposition area – anticipation, determination, off the ball, pace, work rate.
  5. Moves into channels – off the ball, work rate, creativity.
  6. Gets forward whenever possible – work rate, stamina, teamwork, pace/acceleration.
  7. Plays short simple passes – passing, technique, first touch, anticipation.
  8. Tries killer balls often – anticipation, technique, passing, teamwork, determination, first touch, vision.
  9. Shoots from distance – long shots, technique, composure, flair.
  10. Shoots with power – long shots, technique, composure, strength.
  11. Places shots – finishing, composure, anticipation, technique.
  12. Curls ball – technique, anticipation, flair.
  13. Likes to round keeper – flair, vision, technique, composure, balance, agility.
  14. Likes to try to be beat offside trap – aanticipation, pace, off the ball, anticipation, agility, balance.
  15. Plays with back to goal – work rate, balance, strength, first touch.
  16. Marks opponent tightly – marking, concentration, positioning, stamina, work rate.
  17. Plays one-twos – vision, teamwork, first touch, technique, passing.
  18. Argues with officials – I’m sure you all get what this PPM is about!
  19. Dictates tempo – passing, concentration, composure, first touch, teamwork, work rate, vision.
  20. Comes deep to get ball – off the ball, technique, vision, passing, work rate.
  21. Looks for pass rather than attempting to score – passing, teamwork, flair, vision, composure.
  22. Likes to lob keeper – flair, vision, technique, anticipation.
  23. Stops play – vision, teamwork, composure, anticipation, concentration.
  24. Attempts overhead kicks – Flair, balance, agility, strength.
  25. Dwells on ball – Composure, technique, concentration, vision, anticipation.
  26. Plays no through balls – Doesn’t really need attributes for this.
  27. Tries to play way out of trouble – Composure, dribbling, anticipation, balance, strength, work rate.
  28. Knocks ball past opponent – pace, acceleration, balance, determination, agility work rate.
  29. Avoids using weaker foot – Self explanatory.
  30. Arrives late in opponent’s’ area – Off the ball, work rate, determination, stamina, pace.
  31. Tries long-range free kicks – sstrength, free kick taking, technique, flair.
  32. Stays back at all times – Don’t need attributes for this.
  33. Does not dive into tackles – This is for players who have low tackling, determination, strength, bravery or positioning. Or if you need a player to stay on his feet.
  34. Dives into tackles – concentration, composure, bravery, tackling, aggression, strength, balance.
  35. Hugs line – dribbling, crossing, teamwork.
  36. Cuts inside from both wings – finishing, dribbling, acceleration, technique, creativity, work rate.
  37. Tries first time shots – finishing, anticipation, technique, flair.
  38. Tries long-range passes – flair, vision, anticipation, passing, technique, first touch, composure.
  39. Possesses long flat throw – strength, long throw, vision.
  40. Hits free kicks with power – strength, free kick taking, technique.
  41. Runs will ball rarely – don’t need attributes for this.
  42. Likes to switch ball to other flank – technique, passing, teamwork, flair, concentration.
  43. Static target man – composure, anticipation, concentration, finishing, strength, work rate.
  44. Runs with ball often – dribbling, pace, technique, acceleration, balance, agility.
  45. Attempts to develop weaker foot self-explanatory but costs CA if successful.
  46. Refrains from taking long shots don’t need attributes for this really.
  47. Uses long throw to start counter attacks strength, long throw, vision.
  48. Cuts inside from right wing – dribbling, acceleration, technique.
  49. Cuts inside from left wingdribbling, acceleration, technique.
  50. Brings ball out of defence – composure, dribbling, technique, pace.
  51. Crosses early – anticipation, crossing, vision, flair technique.

There seems to have been some changes to PPM’s this year which I have seen no one report yet. It seems that you can no longer teach a player specific PPM’s which seem contradictory, which makes sense. But on older versions you could teach players conflicting ones. Here are a list of ones you cannot have at the same time. You can only have one of these at any given time on a player;

  • Runs with ball down left, runs with ball down the right, runs with ball through the centre, run with the ball rarely.
  • Moves into channels, stays back at all times, static target man.
  • Plays short simple passes, tries killer balls often, tries long-range passes, likes to switch the ball flanks.
  • Shoots from distance, looks for pass rather than attempting to score, refrains from taking long shots.
  • Places shots, shoots with power.
  • Likes to round the keeper, runs with ball rarely.
  • Plays with back to goal, likes to beat the offside trap.
  • Tries to play way out of trouble, runs with ball rarely.
  • Avoids using weaker foot, cuts inside from both wings.
  • Tries long-range free kicks, refrains from taking long shots.
  • Does not dives into tackles, dives into tackles.
  • Hugs line, gets into oppositions area.
  • Runs with ball rarely, tries to play way out of trouble, brings ball out of defence, runs with ball often, knocks ball past opponent, likes to round keeper, runs with ball down left, runs with ball down right, runs with ball through centre.
  • Refrains from taking long shots, tries long ranged free kicks, shoots from distance, hits free kicks with power.
  • Brings ball out of defence, run with ball rarely.
  • Gets into opposition area, hugs line, arrives late in opponent’s area, stays back at all times.
  • Get forward whenever possible, comes deep to get the ball, stays back at all times.
  • Tries killer balls often, plays short simple passes, plays no through balls.
  • Comes deep to get the ball, gets forward whenever possible.
  • Knocks ball past opponent, runs with ball rarely.
  • Tries long-range passes, plays short simple passes.
  • Likes to switch ball other flank, plays short simple passes.
  • Runs with ball often, runs with ball rarely.

You will have noticed that some of the these PPM’s are listed twice but in different combinations. I’ve tried to cover every possible combination that the game uses and doesn’t allow us to have. I think I’ve managed to remember them all. So from the above, you can only ever have anyone from any of those combinations at any given time.

I’m not going to waste time and suggest what positions the PPM’s are suited for or what roles as that is subjective and entirely down to what the user wants. However I will show you how I’ve set up for the 4-2-3-1 deep I use and the roles I’ve selected. Not everyone in the side has PPM’s as I don’t need everyone to have them. I also haven’t finished developing the players so some of them will still have some to learn, so rather than showing screenshots for now (I will at a later date in the development update posts) I’ll just write them down and list what I’m aiming for.


On one of my central defenders, I like the more technical of the two to have the brings the ball out of defence PPM’s. This allows me to have a ball playing defender without using the ball playing defender role. One of the reasons for this is I don’t want my defender launching through balls towards the more attacking players, which is what the ball playing defender role does. Instead by teaching the brings ball out of defence PPM, I have a player who steps up with the ball and joins the defensive midfielders/midfielders with the ball. Then he can pass to whomever without risking losing the ball. If he was a proper ball playing defender him launching through balls would bypass my defensive midfielders and this would hurt the Segundo Volante I use.

I’ve not taught any of the other defenders any PPM’s and not sure if I will be yet, I’m still undecided.


The Segundo Volante is a player who will be heavily PPM based. The ones he will eventually have are;

Gets forward whenever possible.

  • Dictates tempo.
  • Plays one twos
  • Runs with ball through the centre

The reason behind this is, I want the player to be aggressive and his role already allows this. However if I use a support Segundo Volante instead of the current attack duty I use, I shouldn’t lose any of this natural attacking ability. Another reason behind these PPM’s are that I want him to slow or speed play up when he sees fit.This will add another dimension to the role and allow the player to decide when he thinks play needs to be quickly or slower. It can be a really good counter attacking player trait. By allowing the player to also play one twos this will give me a quick change of pace at times and hopefully create space and movement, just by playing one twos.

The anchor man I use next to him, I can’t make my mind up is that will be the final role I settle on or not. So I haven’t taught any PPM’s yet as I don’t want to waste time teaching them when I’m not actually sure what I want from the role yet.


The only attacking players who have PPM’s are the inside forward who plays on the left and the attacking midfielder. The inside forward has the following PPM’s;

  • Cuts inside from the left wing
  • Plays short simple passes
  • Refrains from taking long shots

Nothing to trivial here, I’ve just gave him once that really enhance his role and stop him from shooting from distance as much as possible. That will hopefully allow him to be more involved in the build up phase and not waste possession or good moves by shooting. That’s another reason I taught him the plays short simple passes trait, to help reinforce this.

As for the attacking midfielder, he has the following player traits;

  • Tries killer balls often
  • Comes deep to get the ball
  • Looks for the pass rather than attempting to score

This combination of settings allow him to be a playmaker and be more involved in the build up play than his role actually allows. I want him to be a natural playmaker rather than using one of the playmaking roles as I don’t want play to be forced through him. But rather, play goes through him because it’s the best option. Were as the playmaker roles attract the ball as that’s what the role does, it forces play to flow through them more than perhaps it normally would. But due to me wanting everything to be natural, these are the reasoning behind these traits.

Those are all I use in the current set. I’ve only mentioned them to give you a general idea of possible combinations you can use in your own saves. I hope you’ve enjoyed the article and look forward to hearing what kind of combination of PPM’s you use in your own games and why.

19 thoughts on “The Football’s Kingdom – Player Preferred Moves (PPM’s)”

  1. I have a very good raumdeter who, despite it’s stats awesome stats, was failing every goal chance he had. I gave him try to assist instead of score and he provided more than 20 assists this season… in six months! He’s adept at cutting behind the FB and crossing or passing back. So far’s the only good experience I’ve had with ppm training.

  2. Hi! So much work on this Cleon! Fantastic! Older guys cannot learn PPM’s? I have a 33 years old lad and I want to tell him to stop shooting from long….

        1. Never mind! I can do that now…Don’t know what happened earlier in my save!
          Not a PPM question but please answer if you like. Why is it so difficult for a player to become natural to a role and how come it is so much easier to retrain him to another poistion?

          1. Some roles are linked to current ability, so some wont show as green even though the player is capable and actually suited for the role. Don’t pay too much attention to it as it doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things.

  3. I’m playing the 4-2-3-1 that you talked about in the introduction to this series (the 3 attacking midfielders are 3 central midfielders), Would this cause you to add ,change or remove any of the above ppm’s. My team is very strong defensively but scoring goals has been a struggle.

  4. I’m interested that for most of the passing based PPM’s above you haven’t listed decision making as an important trait. I was always under the impression decision making was huge for traits like dictates tempo, long balls, killer balls, switching flanks etc. Is there a particular under the hood I’m not aware of that means decisions isn’t an important attribute?

      1. I read it first time and re-read it then. I think we are misunderstanding each other. I see that you addressed decision making as important for when a player makes the choice to use their PPM – which obviously makes sense. But my question was about whether decision making influence the *effectiveness* of the PPM rather than the choice of *when* they use it (though the two are obviously linked).

        An example might be helpful using the PPM “tries killer balls”. Would decision making not only affect when they choose to play the killer ball, but also which killer ball they choose to make (if more than one was available). E.g. A deep lying play maker with this PPM is in possession against a team with quick centre backs and slow full backs and can choose between a killer ball between the centrebacks to his slow striker or behind the full back to a quick winger. Would a high or low decision making attribute affect not only whether he chooses to play a killer ball, but which killer ball he chooses?

        1. I mentioned in the article that I was leaving decision making off the attribute list as it was needed for them all, the question you asked first was why I’d left it off the attribute list but I’d already addressed that.

          But now you are asking a different question if you read your replies back.

          However to answer the second question, the effectiveness depends. Although what you are asking isn’t effectiveness.

          If a player has low vision then he won’t be able to see all his available options even if he has 20 decision making. In the examples you give, vision is the attribute that is needed because the player might not see the available options. So this will impact on who he sees he can play the ball to.

          Both are equally as important. Just because he has high decisions doesn’t mean he can see everything. Vision enables him to see those options. Anticipation will help him know the movement those players will make and so on.

          It’s not as easy as isolating decisions and saying it’s down to that.

  5. When you say that you are looking for these attributes for a player to learn a certain trait you want him to have what ratings in the specific attributes? Over 15 or it depends from the division you play or the team you are managing! I like to play with lower tier teams and attributes are almost always below 10. So how can I decide if a player has or hasn’t have the necessary (from your point of view) attributes?


    1. I just use what would be classed as average for the league I’m currently in. So just have a look around other teams and work from that.

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