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Goalkeepers in Football Manager

Lazy Nov 9, 2020 Last modified: 24 Nov 15,803 views

This guide will explain the role and attributes of a goalkeeper.

The position of a goalkeeper is one of the most vital positions on a football team. If your goalkeeper is not able to stop a shot or lead his defense, you will never be able to compete for trophies. In this basic Football Manager guide we will explain more on his key attributes, the roles he can have and which specific player instructions he has.

Goalkeeper attributes

First off with the attributes a goalkeeper has in Football Manager.

Aerial ability
How high a goalkeeper can reach when jumping. Taller goalkeepers will obviously have a higher rating for this attribute.

Command of Area
How well the goalkeeper takes charge of his penalty area and works with the defenders in front of him.

How well a goalkeeper communicates with the defensive line in front of him. This attribute is also important for your goalkeeper to organising the defensive side.

The likelihood of a goalkeeper to do something that you would not expect from a goalkeeper.

How well a goalkeeper can hold onto the ball when making a save or coming for a loose ball.

The ability of a goalkeeper to kick the ball. His passing rating will determine how accurate his kicks are.

One on Ones
How well a goalkeeper performs with an opponent in a one on one situation. A higher rating will increase the likelihood of a goalkeeper win the ball with confidence.

This reflects how good and fast the goalkeeper can react to unpredictable situations. The higher the rating, the better he will react.

Rushing Out
This attribute shows how good a goalkeeper is at coming off his line to intercept through balls. This attribute is linked to Acceleration and Pace.

Tendency to Punch
This attribute determines if a goalkeeper will rather catch the ball or punch it away. A higher rating will have him preferring to punch rather than catching.

How well a goalkeeper can distribute the ball with his hands. This attribute is linked to Strength, which determine the distance he can cover with a throw.

Goalkeeper roles

The goalkeeper position has two roles available. In this section we will discuss both.


The most used and most basic role a goalkeeper can have in Football Manager. In this role the goalkeeper will play more safely and hold his position when he does not have the ball. When he has the ball, he will tend to play more safer passes.

This role is ideal for teams that have a more deeper defensive line. That way your goalkeeper will not be exposed too much if a ball falls behind a high defensive line. In this role he will be used to save shots and clear crosses or long balls into the box.

Essential attributes for a Goalkeeper

  • Aerial Reach
  • Command of Area
  • Communication
  • Handling
  • Kicking
  • Reflexes
  • Positioning
  • Agility

Desirable attributes for a goalkeeper

  • First Touch
  • One on Ones
  • Throwing
  • Anticipation
  • Decisions

Specific Player Instructions

If you decide to play your goalkeeper in the standard goalkeeper role, he will always be on a Defend duty. He then has a series of specific player instructions which you can tweak a bit to have play a bit more adventurous or even more cautiously than the standard goalkeeper.

When the opposition has the ball

Options: Tackle Harder, Ease Off Tackles

Decide if you want your goalkeeper to act more aggressively when challenging for the ball or you want him to be more cautious. If you instruct him to tackle harder, you will be risking more fouls.

When the goalkeeper has the ball

Passing Directness
Options: Short, Standard and More direct.

This instruction will allow you to overrule your team instructions for the goalkeeper specifically. It is possible to have your team on a short passing game, but you instruct your goalkeeper to send out more long balls. This will be the case if your goalkeeper is a bad passer and you don't want him to take any risks.

Passing Risks
Options: Take More Risks, Take Fewer Risks

Instruct your goalkeeper to take more risks if he has high ratings for Passing, Kicking and Vision. That will encourage him to play more low-percentage passes and through balls in the hope that one or two will find a  teammate and create space or a goalscoring opportunity. If you instruct him to take fewer risks, he will be asked to retain possession a much as possible.

This instruction can not be altered when playing this role.

Sweeper Keeper

The sweeper keeper is the opposite of the Goalkeeper role. He will look to leave his position more and will attempt to clear balls that fall between him and his defense. When he is on the ball he will attempt more risky passes and will tend to dribble more.

A sweeper keeper can be useful when you are using a high defensive line (in combination with the offside trap), as he will cover the space between the goal and your defensive line. Look for goalkeepers with higher ratings on Acceleration and Pace if you want him to cover that space. You don't want your goalkeeper to be too slow if he decides to come off his line and make a run.

The sweeper keeper is also useful when you want to build up the play from the back. He will then act as a field player and will play his part in the team's build-up. Look for high passing and kicking attributes if you want a goalkeeper to join the team's build-up play.

Essential attributes for a sweeper keeper

  • Aerial Reach
  • Command of Area
  • First Touch
  • Handling
  • Kicking
  • Passing
  • Reflexes
  • Anticipation
  • Composure
  • Positioning
  • Agility

Desirable attributes for a sweeper keeper

  • Communication
  • Eccentricity
  • Rushing out
  • Bravery
  • Concentration
  • Decisions
  • Acceleration
  • Pace

Specific player instructions

As a Sweeper Keeper a goalkeeper will have the same set of instructions available to him, but he will be having some different standard or pre-set instructions. It is also possible to play the Sweeper Keeper in different Duties. We will discuss all 3 possible duties.


In this duty the Sweeper Keeper will be acting more cautiously when moving out of his goalkeeper area. He will, however, still be looking for 'counter-attacking' balls when he is on the ball.

Instructions available to tweak:

  • Tackling (Harder or Ease Off)
  • Passing Directness (Short, Standard, More Direct)
  • Passing Risks (More or Fewer)

Pre-set instructions:

  • Dribbling (Unavailable to change, not pre-set available)


On support duty the Sweeper Keeper will stray just outside of this goalkeeper area, but he will not be asked to cover any areas beyond that. He will still be looking for 'counter-attacking' passes when he is on the ball.

Instructions available to tweak:

  • Tackling (Harder or Ease Off)
  • Passing Directness (Short, Standard, More Direct)

Pre-set instructions:

  • Passing Risks (Take more Risks)
  • Dribbling (None selected)


With an Attacking Duty, the Sweeper Keeper will be instructed to travel some distance outside his area if a ball falls behind his defence. He will also be asked to keep hold of the ball more and could dribble more outside of his area.

Instructions available to tweak:

  • Tackling (Harder or Ease Off)
  • Passing Directness (Short, Standard, More Direct)

Pre-set instructions:

  • Passing Risks (Take more Risks)
  • Dribbling (Dribble more)

To Close

After reading this guide you will have discovered the basics of the goalkeeper in Football Manager. You now know which attributes to look for and which instructions a goalkeeper can be given when creating a tactic.

You will also be able to decide which player role will suit your own goalkeeper best and what to look for if you want to sign a new goalkeeper that can play in a different role to suit your tactic.


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