Basic guides FM21

Picking your captain in Football Manager

Len Nov 9, 2020 Last modified: 19 Oct 3,489 views

This guide explains the basics of picking your captain in Football Manager.

At the start of each season you play on Football Manager you receive a message in your inbox about the status of your captain. You then have the choice to either pick a new one or stick with the current selection. You will also get this message when joining a new club, which gives you the opportunity to pick your own if you feel the previous selection wasn’t appropriate.

In this guide we will give you some advice about picking a suitable captain and/or vice-captain.

Responsibilities of a captain

The captain is the leader of your team, the one that will stand tall when he is needed. He will be the leader on the pitch, but he will also affect the team off the pitch. He is your eyes and ears in the team, as he’s a player you can talk to if you need to figure out certain issues within your squad.

It is very important that you and your captain have a good relationship. A bad relationship could end up in you losing the faith of your squad and ultimately you could even lose your job.

Being the captain of your team, you can have a personal chat with him about:

  • His opinion on the current morale in your squad. This could help you to decide whether to hold a team meeting.
  • To talk to a teammate who is unhappy or has some concerns. This option also appears in your inbox when a player wants to have a chat with you.
  • To try and resolve a conflict between teammates that don’t like each other.
  • To help settle new signings at your club.

Captains and Dynamics

Introduced in Football Manager 2018: the dynamics system. This system shows the hierarchy of your team and shows you social groups of players that have similar interests or backgrounds (players from the same nation). The dynamics system is key when you want to select a captain.


On the Hierarchy screen you can see that the team is divided in Team Leaders, Highly influential players, Influential players and 'Other players'. Ideally you want your captain to be in one of the core groups: League leaders or Highly Influential Players.

Look for players who are labeled as 'Highly Influential' or 'Team Leaders'

Social groups

You should also check out the Social Groups Tab to see in which social group your (possible) captain fits. Is he in one of the larger groups? Good, that means he will have a lot of influence on other players. However, be careful though not to anger your captain if that is the case. If he is part of the largest social group, he could turn that social group against you...

Also, make sure your captain really is a part of a social group and not a player that is not in one of the groups. That could affect a captain's effectiveness.

What makes a good captain?

When you are picking a new captain, there certain factors you need to consider first:


One of the first things you will look at is a players age. Although there are some examples of young players that wear the band, most captains are at least 25 years of age. Yours should at the very least be one of the more senior players in your squad.


Next to age you will have to look at the attributes of your captain. These determine whether he is capable of leading your team and you should avoid picking a player who lacks these attributes.

The most essential attribute a captain needs is Leadership. Don't even bother selecting a captain who lacks this attribute. Also look for strong mental attributes that help increase a captain's influence. Look for high ratings on Determination, Team Work and Work Rate. An attribute that could be useful is Bravery as you do not want a skipper that avoids tackles.

Coach Reports

Have a look at a coach report card before you make a final decision. There are some issues you want to avoid when selecting a captain. One: avoid Injury Prone Players as you don't want your captain to be sidelined for most part of the season. Two: avoid Selfish players as you don't want your captain overlook his teammates in attack.


It’s good to pick a player that has a high reputation. You can see a player’s reputation in his profile under the information tab. A player with a high reputation will earn more respect from his teammates.

Replacing your captain

Each year you receive a message in your inbox asking you if you would like to keep or change your captain. You will also receive this message if you join a new club. This is a powerful tool so be careful.

Changing a captain without any reason could result in him being unhappy. This is linked to Dynamics in Football Manager. If your captain is a Team Leader and is part of a Core Social group, players could turn against you if you decide to strip your captain from his armband. If you lose your team's confidence, you could end up losing your job...

Therefore we advise that if you join a new club (either in the summer or in the middle of the season) not to change your captain. Squad morale is important, especially when a new face is taking over, so if you start off on the wrong foot by coming in and changing the skipper right away, it may go downhill from there.

Pick a vice-captain

A good tip for a slower, gradual replacement of a captain is picking a new vice-captain first. Pick the player you would eventually like to be your team leader. If later on you then decide to sell or demote your current one, the vice-captain will receive the armband automatically.

Keep in mind that if your currently selected captain isn’t selected in the starting lineup for a match, your vice-captain will be chosen to wear the armband for your side (provided the vice-captain has been selected as a starter).

You can also create a list of players that are considered to be stand-ins when your captain and vice-captain are not available. On that list you can pick your future choices, and those will move up automatically if your captain leaves the club or is cut from the team.


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