Forged In Steel – Meet David Brooks

For those who have followed me for a while on social media, you’ll have seen me mention David Brooks pretty much constantly for the past two years or so. He’s a special talent and when you see him play you can see. Even in training, he looks head and shoulders above everyone else technically and always has done since he joined the club. That’s not meant as disrespect to the other players, by young David just has an aura about him and looks different gravy with how he uses the ball. He’s technically the best player I’ve ever seen at our academy and I think it comes across that he was developed at a higher level/standard before joining us.

I always wonder what would have happened to Brooks if he was still at Manchester City when Pep took over. Thankfully for us he wasn’t but I think it would have been interesting if he was because on paper, he is the kind of player Pep likes. For me, he is the sort of player Pep would have taken under his wing and mentored him, helping him realise his talent.

On my current saved game on Football Manager 2018, David Brooks is one of the players I refuse to sell on the game and have built my team around him. In the third season I have rejected a £40 million offer from Arsenal for him already. He seems to have quite high potential on Football Manager 2018 and has had quite a big boost compared to Football Manager 2017, where he was really poor. Now on most saves I’ve started or seen people have, he develops quite well.

Season One Development

This is him at the start of the game on the save that I am playing. He’s nothing fantastic but has quite a few attributes that can be worked to be quite high and hopefully enough potential to bring a few of the lower mental stats he has, to a good standard. Before I talk about how I am developing him though, I think it’s best to explain his role in the side going forward and how I’ll be using him.

I want to build the side around him but I want him to score lots of goals. In the 352 I’m using most people would likely use him as the central attacking midfielder I use, or they’d use him as the deep-lying forward. Both of these are good sensible options and he is capable of doing both. In real life he is used differently too at times. At international level for the England u21’s he was played centrally and out wide. While for Wales he has been played as the right-sided attacking midfielder. He’s very capable anywhere really.

For Sheffield United he has played central and just off the striker. For me this is his best position, just off the striker. But I think he suffers from being able to play many different roles currently even for Sheffield United. I think this is down to not being in the clubs plans originally for this season but a great display in the summer for England and then impressing in the Blades pre-season friendlies made the club rethink the planned loan to Chesterfield which was arranged.

So I think he is suffering for this currently but it’s a good thing for the club to have, it’s not a bad issue. I believe that come next season and if we have the player at the club still, then we will start to see the team being built around him. I know what you are thinking, what has this got to do with Football Manager 2018? Well, I have the same dilemma now in that he isn’t ready for the role I want him to fulfill but he is too good not to give him game time. Which means for the first season I will use him in a few different positions.

Long-term I see David Brooks as my advanced forward. Yes you heard me right, the advanced forward. Some of you might be thinking this is a waste of his creative talent however this is one of the reasons why he will be ideal. When using roles on Football Manager, I don’t play your stereotypical players in the roles. I find that boring and limited. In one of the earlier articles I mentioned that I wanted my strikers to both be creative as at times, they’ll have to create chances for themselves and offer me something different.

This will fit into my tactical plan and the style I am creating. Playing a creative player in the advanced forward role and ignoring the suggested attributes that the player needs, doesn’t mean he won’t fulfill that role and play it well. It just means he will play it differently to the more stereotypical players who are used for that role, which I believe is a good thing. A few people get hung up on the suggested attributes for roles or put too much focus on role suitability but I don’t. I use players in roles who have the attributes I want the player to have, to offer me a different take on the role.

If we look at David’s attributes he has most of the advanced forward attributes anyway (but even if he didn’t this would not be an issue at all)

As you can see he does have the attributes for most parts for the role anyway. However I’ve highlighted four attributes that will make him offer something different for the role.

Technique – He will be comfortable on the ball and this will allow him to use the ball well and if he tries something more tricky, then this attribute will allow that.

Vision – This will allow him to see the majority of the current options available to him.

Flair – Being creative is all about the flair attribute and this is high, so automatically he should play the role differently to what someone with a low flair attribute would. He should try tricks and do unusual things that a more conventional player wouldn’t even try.

Agility – This should allow him to turn or shift his body quickly which makes it easier for him to slip past his marker which is important, as he will be marked often by the oppositions defender due to him being the highest forward in the squad. So he needs the ability to move his body from stop, start positions and allow him to move in any direction faster.

Already you can get an idea of what I’m wanting the player to do and what he offers. As for the development side of things this is what I’ve gone for;

This is how I’m training him for now, the reason for this is the Trequartista will enhance all the attributes I explained the player needed above. It focuses on these a lot, so it makes the most sense as having this as the role training I use. I’ve gave the higher intensity level as the player can handle it. Also I’m working on the player’s stamina because it needs to higher so he doesn’t tire as quickly. This isn’t the focus long-term though, it will only be short-term that we focus on the stamina side. Maybe three months at the maximum.  

End of Season One

This is what Brooks looks like at the end of season one.

You can see the improvements he has already made and he’s improved quite a lot so far. Playing the number of games he has during the season as definitely aided his development. He’s had a great season by all accounts, he’s scored a fair amount of goals and grabbed a few assists. All of this has helped in his development. Playing well should see the player make bigger and better improvements than someone who is playing poor.

Technical Attributes

  • Dribbling 1
  • Finishing 1
  • First Touch 1
  • Freeckicks 1
  • Heading 1
  • Long Shots 1
  • Marking 1
  • Penalty 1
  • Tackling 1

Mental Attributes

  • Concentration 1
  • Flair 1
  • Leadership 1
  • Positioning 1
  • Vision 1

Physical Attributes

  • Agility 1
  • Balance 1
  • Natural Fitness 1
  • Pace 1
  • Stamina 1
  • Strength 2

Those are the changes we have seen so far during the first season.

Season Two Development

Technical Attributes

  • Crossing 1
  • Finishing 1
  • Freekicks 1
  • Long Shots 1
  • Passing 1
  • Penalty 1
  • Technique 1

Mental Attributes

  • Anticipation 1
  • Composure 1
  • Concentration 1
  • Decisions 1
  • Off the Ball 1
  • Teamwork 1
  • Vision 2
  • Workrate 1

Physical Attributes

  • Acceleration 1
  • Balance 1
  • Stamina 1
  • Strength 1

Again we have seen a lot of growth again especially seeing vision grow by two attribute points. Statistically he also had a fantastic season in the Premier league scoring 22 goals in 31 games and grabbing 17 assists along the way.

Season Three Development

Technical Attributes

  • Dribbling 1
  • Finishing 1
  • First Touch 1
  • Freekick 1
  • Marking 1
  • Penalty 1
  • Tackling -1

Mental Attributes

  • Anticipation 1
  • Composure 1
  • Concentration 1
  • Leadership 1

Physical Attributes

  • Agility 1
  • Natural Fitness 1
  • Pace 1
  • Strength 1

We saw good development again this season and interestingly we saw a decrease in his tackling by 1. No idea why and I can’t really find out why but it doesn’t really matter I guess. I do think we’ve just about hit David Brooks potential ability now and I don’t think we will see much change moving forward. This season he also had a few injuries, much more than usual it seems. When I say more injuries I mean in the length of time he was out.

His injury history isn’t that bad at all considering the high amounts of training he receives and the amount of games he has played. I tend to keep an eye out though for players who are training heavier than usual and pay extra attention to their condition during games. Not only this but I also rotate them, especially if I have several games during a week. I do this for most players though and rotate an awful lot to keep players fresh and to reduce the injury risk. I’ll talk about this more in a separate article though at some point.

Three seasons is as far as I’ve played so far so this is the development side for this player, which bring it up to date with the in-game time. I didn’t change his training schedule and I didn’t reduce the intensity of it either. I did after the first three months, remove the individual focus for stamina. I didn’t work on any other individual focuses either after I removed stamina one.

I’m guessing that when season four starts I will likely remove the intensity now he’s reached his potential (so it seems at least) as there is no need for it to so so intense now. I’ll update this though if and when I start the season in a future update.

Now we’ve discussed the development side, what about what David Brooks offers the team and how does his role actually work. Let’s take a look shall we.

You’ll probably be a bit surprised at the kind of areas he passes the ball in and is probably deeper than most of you was expecting. But remember that I don’t play aggressively in terms of mentality and use a standard one. So naturally him and the whole side are deeper than they would be on a more aggressive mentality. If we take a look at one of these moves we can see him both receiving the ball and passing the ball to see the kind of things he does.

Here we can see Brooks as the highest player up the pitch and making a run into space and looks unmarked initially, which he is. But the opposition has two players going across to cover the space and halt his run.

By the time he receives the ball he is marked and checks his run. This is where having the agility I looked for becomes useful as he now has to shift his entire body around.

He then shift his body around and plays the ball to my left back who is surging forward into the space that exists. So you can already see that while he is a goalscorer with the role he has, he is also linking play and setting other people up.

That’s his passes received map and it shows why his passing map looks why it does further up. He’s very much involved in the actual build up play as any other player and is a good natural creative outlet in the oppositions half for players to play off and around.

In this particular game he had three key passes. Two of them he grabbed an assist for because we scored from two of them. The first one was a move from deep.

Isak the player making the central run had just passed the ball to Brooks. These two players link up ever so well and work in tandem through a match. He gave the ball to Brooks who is only too happy to turn and give it him back.

Isak then runs up the pitch and scores. Remember when I said both strikers needed to create chances for themselves at times? This is exactly what I was on about. I don’t want to always rely on supporting players catching up with play because at times this loses momentum. Obviously I do need supporting players as well but if a chance arises I don’t mind the forward players trying to take advantage of it themselves with little or no support at all.

The next assist sees a similar thing happening.

On this occasion Arthur is in possession of the ball and plays it to Brooks.

Then when he receives the ball a simple pass between both centre backs plays Pineda in on goal and he scores.

So we’ve seen a little glimpse into his creative side and how he links up with other players. But he also has an eye for goal too. He can often be found getting into the box on the end of crosses. Or running at players, taking them on and firing the ball into the back of the net. I will add some goals at a later date maybe in a kind of highlight reel. I definitely want to add more videos, clips and gifs to the articles to bring them to life more.

 

 

26 thoughts on “Forged In Steel – Meet David Brooks”

  1. Funnily enough I was going to ask you on Twitter if it was worth using him in a striker role. I picked him up for next to nothing after seeing all your posts so I assumed he must be special.

    1. Everyone keeps saying they pick him up cheap on the game. It must be a bug as he just signed a new contract IRL and is very much part of our future. Or if he is sold you are looking at £20 mill+

  2. Superb article as ever, has made me think about the AF role which I have always though of as being quite one dimensional

    One thing – he was going to be sent on loan to Chesterfield?! Imagine what he would have done to League Two defences…

    1. haha yeah!! A part of me (and I’ve seen other Blades say the same) would have liked to see what he’d have done. He’d have ripped sides apart.

      The roles can be one dimensional however you can change that with the players you use in those role, to offer you something different 🙂

      1. It might actually be an interesting FM experiment to send him to Chesterfield on the editor and compare his development after a season of playing at that level to a season on the fringes at Sheffield Utd. Looks like you played him regularly (and obviously gave him some TLC…) so he wouldn’t have improved as much as he did in your save, but it might help answer one of my big player development questions – what’s better, training, reserve games and some playing time higher up the pyramid or starting every week in a lower division?

        One question on personality/tutoring – any reason you didn’t tutor his personality to better than ‘balanced’? Or was his rep already too high to be tutored?

  3. What a player! I have so many questions I don’t know where to start. Did you play him as an ST from the very 1st season?

    I’m envious you can get FM to play how you want and get your players to do what you want. I lack this skill and struggle alot. I’ll be asking Santa this Xmas for an FM session with Cleon hopefully he’ll come through.

    1. Here’s the thing with Brooks, at the start he is a conundrum because he is too good to loan out, too good not to play yet you actually have better players who you can’t sell first season. So game time is hard. What I did was used him as the CMattack/support and as any of the striker roles to make sure he has lots of game time to develop. He mainly played CMA and DLF though I’d reckon.
      From the moment the season ended though he was my first choice AF and I could shift a few people on.

  4. Cool. Also how do you negate the effects of PPMs especially with older players. I have players who are in their late 20s, they don’t want to unlearn moves but their moves just don’t let them play the way I want. Besides selling them any advice?

  5. Explains why Mahrez is so annoying decision is 10 always taking long shots kills me. Thanks alot for the answers.

  6. Do you go for heavy intensity for all younger players then?
    Barring players who might have a history of injuries ….

    1. It depends on the individual really and if he can handle it or not. If it was someone who had a more demanding role like one of my midfielders I’d have likely gone lower because of what he does in a match and I wouldn’t want to increase the risk of injury.

      1. Hi Cleon

        In reading your articles, You aren’t constrained by the roles that fm sets for there players and are encouraging us to think “outside the box within reason” when evaluating players roles in the tactics we are setting up rather then just copying yours ( or anyones ) tactics correct?. If not, could you explain anything I may have missed?

        Thanks for all your insite

  7. THx. I am going to try and make the 4-2-3-1 you were talking about work with the the 3 attacking mids in central midfield ( the way know one wants to play on FM.. LOL).
    Quick question. Would using a Segundo Volante role help in the playmaking deptartment? I’m not familier with that role and wonder if I would need a Deep-lying playmaker or Advanced playmaker in the lineup.

  8. Hi Cleon

    How are you getting on with this tactic? Any tactical changes needed or has it worked well for you?

    1. It works well I’m now four seasons in. I don’t really make changes to it, instead I have different players who play the roles different.

      1. Yeh it was interesting to read how you make different players do the roles differently through training. As Brooks was 23/24 at the start of the save I suppose you train him differently than you would a 16 year old? Have you got a link to a previous thread on training / developing younger players in a similar way?

        1. I’d train him the same. He is 20 at the start of the game, nowhere near as old as you think 🙂

          There is a new post on the blog from a few days back that highlights how I’m training youths 15/16 etc in my Santos save.

  9. I find the AF role to be far from one dimensional, it can be but as cleon says its down to the player playing the role.

    I quite liked Icardi as AF. 50+ goals a season and over 15 assists.

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