Is there anything more heartbreaking than forking out a ton of money on a wonderkid only to realise after you’ve bought him that his determination is 8? The answer is no. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than that.

So many Football Manager players ignore the determination rating. Some people bizarrely think it’s a myth. Well, lads, I can tell you that it’s absolutely not, and believe me when I say this, determination is one of the most important stats on Football Manager.

What is determination on Football Manager?

Determination tells you a lot about a player’s attitude. How hard they will work on and off the ball, and even on and off the pitch. How much they want it. How much they really want it.

Think about it. You want players who’ll die for your team. You want players who will run themselves into the ground to turn around a 1-0 deficit.

Let’s look at some real life examples of players who are technically blessed with a football, but don’t have the inner drive to fulfil their potential. Mario Balotelli, Ravel Morrison and Hatem Ben Arfa spring to mind.

In Football Manager, as in real life, you can be the most technically and physically gifted player of your generation, but if you don’t have an elite mentality you will never reach your potential.

Determination football manager

How To Improve Determination On Football Manager 21

Over the years, it’s become more difficult to improve a player’s determination on Football Manager, but I have three methods I use, that can see a young player increase their determination by 3-5 over time. And for a player’s development, that can be the difference between them going down as one of football’s famous flops, or them going on to reach their ceiling and tear it up for you.

Game time

I’ve started with the most obvious one. Play them. If you have a young player with heaps of potential, how happy and motivated do you expect him to be while sitting on the bench or playing for the reserves? A player getting game time is a happy player. Just by featuring this player, they will get a natural increase in determination.


This one is a big one. Having strong influences in any walk of life increases our chance of success and having these inspirations, people we look up to and learn from, will also increase our determination to succeed in our chosen path. Think about it, how much more determined are you to get stuck into FM after watching your favourite YouTuber? It’s just that.

It’s no different for footballers. And Football Manger is incredibly realistic in most aspects.

Having experienced players who’ve seen it all are incredibly important in both real life and Football Manager. And not only for their playing abilities, but also for what they bring off the field.

To use a real life example, Steven Gerrard took a young Jordan Henderson under his wing when he knew that his days of being the Liverpool skipper were soon to come to an end. Gerrard schooled Henderson on what he needs to become a successful leader on and off the pitch.

Henderson benefited from this mentoring immeasurably, and although he’d never technically be the player Gerrard was, he picked up all the mental attributes he’d need to get the very most out of his own talents.

Though Henderson’s technical attributes may have been limited, he got the very most out of his talent buy having the right attitude. And he went on to lift the Champions League and Premier League with Liverpool.

When building a squad, it’s important to resist the temptation of purely filling it with South American wonderkids. Experience is invaluable. Even if you’re not using your 34-year-old veterans on the pitch, they’re worth their weight in gold helping you develop the next generation of superstars.

mentoring football manager

On my Lazio save, I have my young talents learning from the elder statesmen of the club. Massimiliano Conte is a product of my youth academy and can become one of the best, but to reach the top he has to be mentally right. And with mentorship from club legend Milinkovic-Savic, he can’t go far wrong.

In a few months, his determination has risen to 12 from 11, but he’s not only improving mentally, he’s benefiting in literally every area of his game because he’s spending time with one of the best.

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Tough Love

Finally, your interactions and relationship with the player can also have a big impact on his determination. If he underperforms, have tough words with him. Go hard on him. Dish out fines if you need to. Don’t accept underperformance, no matter what his age.

You’ll find that if successful, and the player apologises for his poor performances or training, he’ll get a boost in determination. He’ll literally be determined to prove you wrong and up his performances or training.

But obviously, be careful doing this. Don’t give the poor lad the hairdryer treatment for playing a 6.9. Don’t be too savage.


And similarly, even you bring him off the bench and he bags a brace, put your arm around him and tell him how good a job he did. That helps too.

My advice for mental development is similar to the advice I always give when answering these sort of questions:

Think about what would work in real life and do it.

What would make you more determined? Having someone to look up to? Definitely. A manager who invests time into you and manages you effectively? Absolutely. Playing the game you love and succeeding? Of course.

And hopefully this article increases your determination to nurture your youth talent and to get the most out of them.

God speed lads.