New Football Manager 2023 features: Details revealed about FM23 headline features

New Football Manager 2023 features: Details revealed about FM23 headline features
(Image credit: Sports Interactive)

New Football Manager 2023 features have been revealed, as the headline features have been expanded upon. 

In a headline feature reveal, Sports Interactive, the studio behind the game, revealed some of the new tools and tricks, expanding everything we know so far. Now, we've been given even more insight into what's new in the game. 

Remember, you can save 25% off Football Manager 2023 preorder at Fanatical (opens in new tab). You can save an extra 5% off the game – that's 30% off overall – with our unique FFT code. That reduces the final price to just £32.05 for FM23, down from £44.99. When you head to the checkout, make sure to use the additional discount code 442FM23 to get the extra 5% off. 

New Football Manager 2023 features

Dynamic Manager Timeline

Dynamic Manager Timeline

Football Manager is all about the story you build. The players you sign; the trajectory you travel on with your side. Now, FM has developed exactly how you tell that story. 

"With Football Manager, we've always wanted you to be able to create your own story. You choose how big that world will be, a world in which many other characters are plotting their success and your downfall," SI says. "Whether you’ve taken a team from the lower leagues to cup glory over many seasons, or you’ve just staved off relegation in your first campaign, we know how important the key moments of your Football Manager save are."

Sharing your achievements is even easier, too. With the Dynamic Manager Timeline, that's even easier.

"In the lead-up to the release of FM22, we spoke a lot about a feature that made it easier to celebrate your success, and we've continued that theme with FM23 by introducing the Dynamic Manager Timeline – a new way of displaying and tracking the achievements and milestones of your career for each game world you create," SI continues.

"On your timeline, you will see a collection of different events throughout your career – ranging from title wins to when your trusted assistant joined your staff, and all in chronological order.

This is FM getting more social. The team encourages you to share your progress on Twitter, Facebook, even TikTok and Instagram, as this cult game becomes even bigger.

"Having developed our own Events System, which scores each moment in accordance with its importance, we are able to put greater focus on those top achievements. We have also noted where things might not have worked for you, as it's just as important to learn from things that haven't worked as it is to celebrate the big moments."

Squad Planner

Football Manager 2023

(Image credit: SI)

Squad planner

Recruitment meetings have become the focus for how signings are made in FM – and now, the way you plan your squad is getting revamped, too. The Squad Planner will essentially replace that notebook on your table with potential signings in it, as you can organise who goes where in your team. 

"Most elite football clubs use planners like this in various guises to visualise the current options at their disposal and how they see things changing in the next couple of seasons," SI says. "That’s reflected when you enter the Planner menu in FM23, where you’ll be greeted by a formation graphic from your current tactic and up to three players rated by your Assistant Manager for each set role.

"By selecting any of the player and role combinations you’re currently using, the Planner view switches to the individual role. From here, a list will appear on the right showing the current options at your disposal."

These lists are very flexible and completely private from your squad, meaning that you don't have to appease your team and keep them happy. 

"You can play around with these lists, removing players that you intend to sell, moving players up and down the list according to your own personal view or adding in players from transfer shortlists that you want to sign," SI continues. "You can also drop in players from your youth teams, ensuring that you don’t block their pathways to the first team as you forecast the makeup of your squad for both the next season and the season after. 

"You will have the ability to change the tactic you’re viewing as well, so if you’re planning a switch from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2, you’ll be able to sell how well equipped you currently are and where you’ll need to dip into the transfer market for reinforcements."

Experience matrix

Experience matrix

Wonderkids are incredibly important – we all know that. But managers cannot survive on these talented kids alone. That's where the Experience Matrix comes in.

"The Experience Matrix is a new visualisation that better informs you of your squad makeup through the lens of where each player is in their careers relative to their current experience level," SI explains. 

The four levels are as follows:

  • Developing (Young players yet to breakthrough to the first XI at this level)
  • Emerging (Young first-team players that still have the scope to improve)
  • Peak (Players at the peak of their careers)
  • Experienced (Players who are in the final years of their career)

Visit the Squad View of the Matrix and you can see your entire squad colour-coded as to where you have sufficient experience and where you're lacking it. 

"Having this information available in a more visual way will prove hugely beneficial for your Recruitment this year – for example, it might become apparent that you’ve got no real youth prospects at left-back and that seven important players are in the Experienced phase of their careers," SI says. "As such, you’d probably want to set up a couple of Recruitment Focuses to change the dynamic of your team."

Recruitment focuses

Recruitment focuses

Sure, scouting missions are cool – but they've got more realistic in FM23

Recruitment Focuses are the next evolution of the Assignments that you can set either individual scouts of a pool of scouts. 

"To start, you’ll want to choose a position – the role will be preset for you based on your current tactic but you have the option to change this if you want to try something else," SI says. "From there you’ll be able to set a variety of criteria, from the type of transfer you’re looking for (transfer, loan or a combination of the two) to the player’s proficiency in the specified role, their age, weight, height, potential ability, likeliness of obtaining a work permit and much more. You can also set Focuses to just track specific nations or leagues if you want a broader overview.

"Recruitment Focuses can be marked as Top Priority, Standard Priority or Ongoing. Top Priority Recruitment Focuses require three Scouts, while Standard only need one. You can select specific Scouts to fill each job, perhaps because they’ve got extensive knowledge of a certain nation or region, or you can let your backroom team sort that for you. When you’re finished, you’ll be able to name each Recruitment Focus."

Then just set your scouts free. You can choose how often you're notified about these new scouting assignments, with players sorted into three piles: Recommended, Near Matches or Ongoing.

"Should you sign a player that matches one of your Recruitment Focuses, you will then receive an inbox item suggesting that you mark it as complete," SI says. "You will also receive information in your regular updates as to whether the search is going well, slowing down or close to exhaustion.

"Recruitment Focuses are integrated into several other in-game areas to ensure that you’re always able to quickly set your Scouts to work if a pressing need arises. For example, if you look for a specific player and role via a Player Search, you’ll be prompted to set up a more comprehensive Recruitment Focus to cover this need."

Scouting improvements

Football Manager 2023

(Image credit: SI)

Scouting improvements

Scouting as a whole has been updated, now. There are more instant results from your Recruitment Focuses and Scouting Meetings won't take up so much of your season. Let's bring on the bargains.

"Based on our conversations with people involved in real-life football, we’ve made changes to the terminology surrounding Scouting Knowledge and Range," SI says. "The knowledge level of a player is now not stated but instead you’ll see an explanation of how much scouting has been completed on a player. 

"The stages of scouting are indicated as None, Minimal, Reasonable and Extensive. Extensive lets a manager know the recruitment team have done a full assessment of the player and it’s now up to the manager to decide on the next steps."

Terminology has changed, too, to Ongoing, Stopped, Completed or Needs Updating. It's no longer a Scouting Package anymore but a Scouting Range, while your range section now has Assignments and Match and Team Analysis. 

"Most of these changes are contained with a Scouting menu that’s had a facelift. You won’t see player cards immediately but rather an overview of your current Focuses, your Scouting Coverage, the stats of the Transfer Window and any major player recommendations," SI says.

"Beyond that you’ll see that the Player Search menu has had a redesign and Transfer History are now much more visual, with diagrams to show spend breakdowns and dropdown menus that allow you to view the activity of other teams, leagues, nations and regions more easily."

Agent improvements

Agent improvements

They're more important in the modern game than ever before. So it makes sense that FM23 takes agents even further. 

"The Ask Agent Availability function introduced in FM22 moves forward this year," SI says. "If you aren’t happy with some of the demands that an agent initially makes, you’ll be able to contest them with any amendments highlighted in follow-up messages. It’s essentially a way to subtly negotiate parts of a player contract with an agent before even approaching a club for the transfer – just as clubs do in real life.

"If you then go on to make an offer for the player, the news item before you enter contract negotiations will show both the player’s interest in a move and their expectations going in. You will be rewarded for speaking to agents – if you haven’t, your Director of Football will have to take their best guess at what the player will expect. "

You can't just contact an agent and then failed to follow up with them after, either. When a move just clearly isn't going to happen, either, there's now more of an explanation from agents. No one is really off-bounds for transfers, are they?

"Agents also now have an expanded role for the players in your current squad too. In the Contract dropdown on a player’s profile, you’ll now notice a new ‘Discuss New Contract with Agent’ option," SI continues. "Engaging with the agent before you speak to the player will show you the player’s interest in a new contract and their projected demands, allowing you to better plan your resources and mitigate any potential unhappiness that might arise through both parties having differing expectations. You will, like with transfer offers, be able to negotiate with the Agent via these conversations.

"The option to ‘Offer New Contract’ to a player is now labelled ‘Enter Contract Negotiations’ to more formalise the process. If you haven’t spoken to their Agent before kicking negotiations off, a popup will encourage you to do so for the reasons outlined above. 

"Should negotiations with a player break down, you won’t now just have to wait a month or so before trying to speak to them. Instead, you’ll now have the option to ‘Resolve Contract Talks with Agent’. By speaking to them and convincing them of your interest, they’ll hopefully be able to speak to their client and revive the conversation – just as they would in real life."

Careful, though. If you enter negotiations and walk away without an agreement, you might see a breakdown between yourself and the player… perhaps even with the agent, too. 

"You can also use agents to try and solve a player’s morale issues," SI says. "Now, to reflect the close relationships between agents and players, you can ask a player’s agent to try and smooth any issues out for you. This is in addition to the existing options of asking your captain to speak to a player or speaking to the player directly."

Recruitment Meetings

Recruitment Meetings

Recruitment Meetings were introduced in FM21 and Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson told us that it was just the start. Now, they've been revamped, with Planning and Feedback types of meetings. 

"Planning meetings are designed to look ahead to future transfer windows, with your Director of Football, Assistant Manager and Chief Scout in attendance," SI says. "The pre-meeting inbox item is now more contextual, illustrating your current formation, any transfer-related Club Vision items and the agenda items up for discussion. 

"The first topic of conversation will typically be your Squad Planner, with you having the opportunity to tweak things and create a Recruitment Focus before submitting a plan in the meeting."

The Player Status section will show expiring contracts and staff advice over what to do. The Squad Planner can provide even more insights with Staff Suggestions part of the meetings. Meetings can end with Recruitment Focuses, too. 

"Two new, emergency planning meetings have been added for FM23," SI adds. "Driven by your Squad Planner, you’ll be prompted to engage in one if you have multiple key players out with long-term injuries (particularly in a certain position) or if you’re on a bad run of form and it’s clear you need to add quality. 

"Feedback meetings are designed to review your previous transfer activity and make some recommendations for your next additions. Indeed, your staff will recommend specific players in this meeting that you won’t necessarily see in the Scouting Centre. 

"During the meeting, you’ll have the ability to review your recent ins and outs in an expanded transfer history section and who you’ve currently got on your transfer and loan lists. As with the planning meetings, these will typically end by focusing on your Recruitment Focuses and the best players that they’ve identified."

AI Manager improvements

AI Manager improvements

Your opponents have improved… unlucky.

Managers now have been reworked to become more realistic and more reactionary than they've ever been before. They now have the knowledge to have more nuanced tactical battles with you – and that makes "save scumming" more difficult, too. Again, unlucky. 

"AI managers will now be more open to chasing leads, and will react more realistically when they are playing against an in-form team. In a title challenge, a crucial cup clash or a relegation nail-biter, the AI managers will be more likely to react better to each shifting scenario," SI says. "Our improvements will also see changes in how the AI managers select their formations, along with the specific player roles they choose. Importantly, they are savvier in how they evaluate their team shape and balance. 

"These decisions to revamp our AI managers give us better ways to reflect the style of every individual manager based on their in-game attributes."

Player Decision enhancements

Player Decision enhancements

The Player Decision enhancements have now improved. There's plenty that particularly defenders and goalkeepers do right now that enrages managers – and that looks like it's getting fixed. 

"Goalkeepers now have the ability to make K-Block saves," SI says. "Now, in one-on-one situations, the goalkeepers can use their frames more effectively.

"Defensively, we have improved the ability to win tackles, read interceptions, apply back/side pressure on opponents and read aerial interceptions. Alongside the general team-shape tweaks, defensive shapes have improved as well – for example, wingbacks in a back five will look to press/engage more aggressively, while there also improvements to back-four shapes positionally, too.

"Going forward, players in FM23 can have more realistic first touches in their attempts to get the ball perfectly under control – for example, the ball may bounce or bobble up in the air on a player’s touch. First touches, in general, will carry on the momentum of the ball more from the pass - making the match itself look and feel more realistic."

First touches are also improved as players can actually control balls better mid-air to bring them down or chest the ball before volleying. There are improvements to finishing too, with players more likely to shoot across goal, find corners, open up their bodies and take a composed touch before scoring – that's right, it's not just goals getting scored at your near post anymore – while players will favour their preferred foot.

Player role improvements

Player role improvements

FM22 gave us the wide centre-back – and though there are no new positions or roles, the current tactical trends have been improved. 

"We have made improvements to a few player roles and how they position on the pitch," SI says. "For example, the Winger role is now better at consistently offering width in attack. In midfield, tweaks for advanced roles, namely Mezzala, Advanced Playmaker and Central Midfielders on Attack duty, will position them higher in the half-spaces during build-up play in certain formations, such as 4-3-3.

"There are also changes to address the balance between Defensive and Attacking mentalities. For instance, players may be less consistent at tracking back defensively after they have exerted themselves in the attacking third, depending on their Attributes. 

"This, combined with the defensive improvements, should lead to counter-attacking and defensive football being more viable than ever."

Animation engine improvements

Football Manager 2022

(Image credit: SI)

Animation engine improvements

The animation engine was improved in FM22 and now it's been taken to new levels. Inverse Kinematics (IK) being added into the engine has not just improved the quality of the animations but the storage – meaning that your laptop will hopefully not get quite as hot. 

"These improvements will be seen across the pitch with a myriad of animation changes, including the way goalkeepers spread, parry and dive, defensive tackles, midfield ball control, dribbling and finishing for attackers, and changes to how the nets animate when a goal is scored," SI says.

"Enhancements to the animation blending system have also created a better connection between trips, pushes and pulls, leading to fewer situations where a penalty is given but the foul was visibly disconnected in the 3D representation of events."

FM's animations have been reduced to just one-tenth of the disk space, apparently. That sounds promising…

Language and Team Instructions changes

Language and Team Instructions changes

The language around Team Instructions has been altered to reflect the realism of how managers actually talk to their players. 

The Line of Engagement previously had ‘Higher, Much Higher’ options, which in turn impacted your team’s mentality and defensive line, making it tough to know exactly where you were telling your team to engage the opposition," SI recalls of FM22. "Now, the instructions are more straightforward – Low Block, Mid Block and High Press. As a result, this gives you a greater understanding of your team’s shape, while reflecting real-life tactical selections.

"Elsewhere, we have revamped the Offside Trap option based on research of current systems and how much the offside rule has evolved. Instead, there will be two new instructions at your disposal, giving you the option to tell your defenders to Drop Off or Hold the Line. All defensive lines will drop off or step up at times, but this instruction will affect those close-call situations – do you want your team to stay aggressive in the tackle, or are you content for them to give up the space in front to defend the space in behind? 

Defensive width has been improved, too. You can set up pressing traps out wide or in central areas, affecting the way your team positions and presses when defending. Defensive Width used to be based around stopping or inviting crosses: now, you can set your players to be narrow and defend the cross, or tell your full-backs to stop the ball at the source. 

"The new tactical instructions for FM23 will help empower our defensive managers," SI says. "By paying attention to the defensive mentalities and instructions in the game, we will create a Match Engine that better reflects real-life football, and we cannot wait for you to take on more challenges in FM23."

UEFA competitions

Football Manager 2023

(Image credit: Sports Interactive)

UEFA competitions

That's right. The Champions League is here. 

Pre-match line-ups and scoreboards look just like they do on TV, with UEFA branding used across the game, whether you're playing Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League or Super Cup.

"UEFA Club Competitions will feature distinct walkout cutscenes (and music) before the opening whistle as well as a bespoke camera angle to make that possible," SI says. "The attention to detail to try and make the games as special as possible even goes as far as having the official branded balls for the competitions.

"Come the business end of the season and those big finals, every moment will be made to matter. Every tournament will have bespoke podiums for the trophy presentations, while the authentic trophies have been lovingly recreated. Like you, we can’t wait for our captain to get their hands on the biggest prizes available in club football.

"Additionally, interview and Press Conference backgrounds have been updated for UEFA competitions to reflect their array of partners."

Cup draws

Cup draws are now way more realistic and immersive than ever before. There are fan polls for who your fans would like to see, while there's a Live Reaction social feed as the balls are being drawn. 

"To give the Draws themselves the feel of being like the real-life ceremonies, they’ll now have an official host," SI says. "During the draws, there are two main screens: Live Draw and Overview. Viewing the Live Draw will allow you to watch the draw unfold in real time, with the host providing clarity on who can’t be drawn in a certain group (two teams from the same nation, for example). The Overview tab, meanwhile, will show the current state of play across the groups and the teams that are left to be drawn. There is a similar format for all the draws, whether you’re looking ahead to the Group Stage or gearing up for the Quarter-Finals. 

"You’ll also be able to view matchup previews during the draw, popout screens that showcase Head-to-Head records between two teams, their previous best in the tournament and their current domestic league position."

Don't want to watch the entire draw? That's fine, too. You can skip as much or as little as you like. You can even just skip just to your team's draw.

"Looking to the future, extensive work has been done to reflect the format changes that are coming to the UEFA Club Competitions from the 2024/2025 season. Cup Draws will change to reflect this, while your news items at this time will give you more context of how the new league-style format will work and the coefficients of your opponents.

"The addition of the UEFA Club Competitions licence and all of the associated changes to your Matchday and Cup Draw experiences make chasing European football’s biggest prizes even more exciting in FM23."

It's not just UEFA draws, either. 

"Cup Draws have been elevated across the board, ensuring that no matter the level, there’ll still be more excitement and immersion for you as you chase cup glory," SI says. And there are now licensed broadcast graphics to all the EFL competitions, too. 

Supporters

Supporters

Whether it's via social media or the 50+1 rule, supporters have become even more visible in the modern game. Now, they're fully implented into FM23

"With the help of our team of researchers, we recognise that no two clubs are the same, and that expectations can vary wildly from team to team," SI says. "With that in mind, a new feature available within Club Vision is our Supporter Profile section.

"A lower-league team fighting relegation are likely to have fewer Fair Weather fans in their ranks, meaning the general supporter base is likely to be more forgiving if progress is slow. A top-tier team fighting for title glory, however, will likely have a completely different set of expectations which will be represented in their Supporter Profile section."

The profiles are as follows:

  • Hardcore: The most loyal and passionate section of the fanbase
  • Core: Representing the average football fan
  • Family: These supporters tend to be temperate and patient
  • Fair Weather: Fans who are especially impatient for success
  • Corporate: Most interested in the stadium’s facilities and club marketability.
  • Casual: Less passionate and loyal than the average fan

Supporter confidence

Supporter confidence

Your board will always be the ones to decide your ultimate job status – but your status is now influenced by the fans, too. 

"Also in Club Vision, alongside your Board Confidence, the newly introduced Supporter Confidence will reflect the current mood of your team’s fanbase, which is represented by the Supporter Profile," SI says. "While the board is more inclined to focus on your objectives – be it financial or strategic – your supporters are more likely to focus on your identity, your performances against key rivals, and the performances of individuals. Before, fans commented on issues but the board covered everything – now, we’ve worked to level the playing field.

"This will help to keep tabs on the supporters’ opinion of you, and whether they think you’re the right person for the job. With Supporter Confidence now available in the Performance dropdown too, you’re able to monitor fan feedback on Match Performance, Transfer Activity, Tactics and Squad."

There are things you can do to curry favour with the fans. Bring back a club legend and the fans will react well – even if it's an expensive decision that the board disagrees with. 

"Before each game, you will also receive a news item showing the match expectations from both the board and the fans. Your fans may want you to bring your star striker back into the fold immediately after injury, while your board may settle for a draw – each game comes with its own set of opinions.

"Much like the board, the supporters’ confidence will trend upwards with success and downwards with failure, but you will have the power to influence their opinion with the decisions you make throughout your tenure."

Press Conferences and Social Media

Press Conferences and Social Media

Everyone has differing opinions on how they deal with the media. This has been improved even further in FM23

"In FM23, press conferences will reference your current standing within the fanbase," SI explains. "So, if things are going well, questions will focus on your ever-growing popularity – however, if things are on the downturn, the press will pick up on negativity within the fanbase and quiz you on it.

"With modern-day clubs facing the unlimited, around-the-clock debate on social media, new content will appear in your Inbox if the general mood starts to shift online."

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