Football Manager 2018: Everton guide, player ratings & tactics

Looking to get back on track after a poor first half of the season, but can you start again with Everton and push them towards the European places?

Alastair Pusinelli by Alastair Pusinelli

After going on a summer spending spree, few thought Everton would find themselves in a serious trouble this season. After slipping dangerously close to the relegation zone and struggling in Europe, manager Ronald Koeman was sacked, with the no-nonsense Sam Allardyce brought in to steady the ship.

Now it’s time for your opportunity. Can you fine-tune this talented squad and get them challenge the Premier League’s top six on Football Manager 2018? It will be tough ask, but with the finances the club now has, it may only be a matter of time.


Everton chairman Bill Kenwright will welcome you to the club and present the club’s philosophies to you. There are none at this moment in time, but you can present your own ideas to the board.


Next up, the club’s owner Farhad Moshiri will discuss with you the expectations for the season. The more challenging your targets, the more cash you will receive in your transfer budget. The default is to finish in the Premier League top half, reach the fifth round of the FA Cup and reach the quarterfinals of the EURO Cup. The Carabao Cup is marked as not important. 

If you target a EURO Cup place in the league, you will receive an extra £4.5 million, with a FA Cup six round goal providing an extra £800,000. Aiming for the EURO Cup will give you an added £900,000. 


Transfer: £20 million

Wage: £1.91m per week (Current spend: £1.86m)


Ronald Koeman’s difficulty was trying to get all his star players on the pitch at one time. Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen all arrived over the summer, but they all prefer to play in the number 10 role. Add to this some injuries in wide areas and the Everton squad starts to show cracks.

Go for a 4-2-3-1 system to provide balance to the side. Summer recruit Jordan Pickford is in goal, with Mason Holgate, Michael Keane, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines in defence while Seamus Coleman is out injured.

Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin are in the central midfield, with Aaron Lennon and Gylfi Sigurdsson in the wide areas. Wayne Rooney gets the nod at attacking midfield, but expect a reshuffle when Yannick Bolasie returns from injury.

In attack, you must rely on Sandro, who arrived during the summer from Malaga.

On the bench, go for Joel Robles, Ashley Williams, Cuco Martina, Tom Davies, Davy Klaassen, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse. Ross Barkley, Ramiro Funes Mori and James McCarthy are also on the injury table, so your side may look very different a few months into the season.

Key players

Everton have always had star talent, but the gap between them and the rest of the side has been the issue.

Michael Keane – CA 4 star (150), PA 4 star (160)

Part of the summer overhaul, the 23-year-old Michael Keane was a perfect signing as Everton needed a new centre half to cover the ageing legs of Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams. Former Burnley and Manchester United player Keane look set to be a mainstay at Goodison for the foreseeable future, but it is vital that you keep hold of the talented defender on FM.

The England international has a 150 current ability rating which can rise to 160, with his attributes consisting of 16 teamwork, 16 pace and 16 professionalism.

Idrissa Gueye – CA 4 star (149), PA 4 star (152)

Few thought much of the acquisition of Idrissa Gueye from Aston Villa back in 2016, but the Senegal international has become a vital part of the Everton side ever since. The 27-year-old is brilliant at breaking up the play, offering protection to the back four.

Gueye has a 149 CA rating, which can still improve to a 152 potential. His attributes include 18 work rate, 17 tackling and 16 ambition.

Gylfi Sigurdsson – CA 3.5 star (146), PA 3.5 star (152)

Without Gylfi Sigurdsson, Swansea wouldn’t have stayed up last season, and he now has the opportunity to show what he can do at a bigger club with Everton. With Wayne Rooney in the side, he may have to often settle for a role out on the left flank, but when all your players are fit you will want him in the number 10 position.

The Iceland star has a CA rating of 146, but it can still improve to 152 with Sigurdsson at the age of 27. With stats of 18 natural fitness, 18 free kick taking and 18 penalty taking, he can be the man to run your side.

Young talent

Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley, Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert are the most recognisable names from those who have come through the Everton academy, and the current setup squads has some talented youngsters. 

Tom Davies – CA 3 star (132), PA 4-5 star (140-170)

It was a surprise to see Tom Davies in the U23 squad on FM 18, given he has become a regular for Everton over the past year. The 18-year-old has played over 50 times for the club already, and you can expect the central midfielder to get a call-up to the international side after the World Cup this summer.

Davies has a 132 CA, meaning he will play an important role for your side this season, and his potential can take him to a rating as high as 170. 

Ademola Lookman – CA 2.5 star (121), PA 2.5-3.5 star (130-160)

Another man who has been given first team opportunities, Ademola Lookman may have questioned why he wasn’t given the chance during the first half of the current campaign as The Toffees were crying out for a striker. The former Charlton man has made just seven starts for the club since arriving in January 2017, and at the age of 20 the left winger or striker needs to start making the most of his potential.

On FM Lookman’s 121 current ability rating can rise to a PA between 130 and 160.

Beni Baningime – CA 1.5 star (94), PA 3.5-4.5 star (130-160)

An injury crisis handed defensive midfielder Beni Baningime hit Everton debut this season, and some assured performances have kept him a part of the first team squad. With nine appearances so far in the campaign, perhaps the 18-year-old Congolese can begin to put pressure on the more established names in the squad in the next few years.

Baningime’s 94 rating can improve to a potential as high as 160 on the game. 

Team Report

Strengths Weaknesses
Attacking Midfield Depth Left Back Depth
Youth Prospects Work Rate
Right Wing Depth Jumping Reach
Left Wing Depth Wage Budget
Star Goalkeeper (Jordan Pickford)
Star Defenders (Michael Keane, Seamus Coleman)
Overall Depth
Transfer Budget
Centre Back Depth


Team leaders –  Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka (C), Wayne Rooney

Highly influential – Ross Barkley, Seamus Coleman, Kevin Mirallas, James McCarthy, Ashley Williams, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Idrissa Gueye, Aaron Lennon, Ramiro Funes Mori, Maarten Stekelenburg

Dynamics is the big new feature for Football Manager 2018, and it shows the dressing room atmosphere at the club. If your players are unhappy, this will be reflected on their on the pitch performances, and if you keep the influential players happy this can be avoided. Just be careful as to what you say to the leaders of the dressing room, and their reaction will have a knock-on effect to the rest of the squad. 

Transfer targets

With £20 million and players to sell, you should look to bring in two names to provide more balance to your squad.

Left back – Federico Ricca (CA 128, PA 153)

Leighton Baines is the only left back option in the first team squad, and at the age of 32, you need to be prepared for what happens when his level falls. Bringing in the 22-year-old Federico Ricca from Malaga would solve this, with the Uruguayan available for around £9 million on the game. His wages of £15,500 are likely to increase, but you will get his 128 CA and 153 PA with attributes of 15 tackling, 14 crossing and 14 marking.

Alternative options:

  • Antonio Barreca – Age 22, Torino, Italy, CA 135, PA 153, Value: £7.4m, Wage: £13k
  • Alex Telles – Age 24, FCP, Brazil, CA 145, PA 153, Value £8.7m, Wage: £20k
  • Domenico Criscito – Age 30, Zenit, Italy, CA 147, PA 153, Value: £7.3m Wage: £38k
  • Faouzi Ghoulam – Age 26, Napoli, Algeria, CA 146, PA 151, Value: £11m, Wage: £25k

Right wing – Pione Sisto (CA 140, PA 155)

Currently, your only right wing options are Aaron Lennon, Nikola Vlasic and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. None of these are of first team regular standard, so you should look bring in a new starter. If you bring in Pione Sisto, you have 22-year-old who can be your lineup for the next decade. The ex-Celta Vigo player will cost around the £20 million mark with his wages of £25,000 a week more than likely to increase. His 140 rating consists of 17 long shots, 17 long flair and 17 loyalty, with the potential to reach 155. 

Alternative options:

  • Lautaro Acosta – Age 29, Lanus, Argentina, CA 145, PA 145, Value: £1.2m, Wage: £9k
  • Ricardo Quaresma – Age 33, Besiktas, Portugal, CA 140, PA 155, Value: £1.7m, Wage: £38k
  • Sofiane Feghouli – Age 27, Galatasaray, Algeria, CA 142, PA 155, Value: £7m, Wage: £78k
  • Marlos – Age 29, Shakhtar, Ukraine, CA 148, PA 150, Value: £9.1m, Wage: £23k

Players to sell

With so much spending over the summer, the Everton squad is slightly unbalanced, and selling some of your players can solve this and bring in cash.

Ross Barkley

Depending whether you updated your squads, Ross Barkley did start the season an Everton player, joining Chelsea in the January transfer window. Barkley may be the best out fellow attacking midfielders of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaassen, but you need to get rid of one of them, and with a year left on his contract you may as well cash in on him now. The England international has a 147 CA and 159 PA, and can collect you £20 million, freeing up £48,000 a week in your wage budget. 

Maarten Stekelenburg

We called experienced goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg up to the first team squad, with the Dutchman wasted playing with the youth team. The fact still remains that he will not challenge for the number one shirt at Goodison, with a 132 CA and 144 PA, so you may as well sell the 34-year-old for just under £5 million, saving £30,000 a week in wages.


The finances look good at Everton, perhaps thanks to the new investment in the club. The overall balance is on the up, but as a result of the recent spending, the profits looks set to turn to loss at the turn of the year. The good news is that you should receive healthy transfer budgets for every window. 

Look up not down

That poor start to the season gave Everton plenty to do, and you must be sure to not make the same mistake. There is so much quality in this side, and if you find that balance by bringing in a couple of signings there is no reason why you cannot close the gap on the top six. Juggling all the competitions will be your biggest task, and you will need to call upon some of the members of the youth squad as you rotate. It is a challenge, but one of the more exciting ones on Football Manager 2018. 

Everton first team squad, player roles and ratings

Role Ability
Starting Lineup

Jordan Pickford 23 GK Goalkeeper Defend 3.5 star 143/
Mason Holgate 20 DR Wing-Back/
Defensive Full-Back
Defend 2.5 star 130/
Michael Keane 24 DCR Ball Playing/
Central Defender
4 star 150/
Phil Jagielka 34 DCL Central Defender Stopper 3 star 133/
Leighton Baines 32 DL Wing-Back Defend 3.5 star 137/
Idrissa Gueye 28 MCR Carrilero Support 4 star 149/
Morgan Schneiderlin 27 MCL Ball Winning Midfielder/
Defend 4 star 147/
Aaron Lennon 30 AMR Winger Support 3 star 131/
Wayne Rooney 31 AMC Advanced Playmaker Support 3 star 138/
Gylfi Sigurdsson 27 AML Advanced Playmaker/
Inside Forward/
3 star 146/
Sandro 22 STC Poacher Attack 3 star 143/
Joel Robles 27 GK Goalkeeper Defend 3 star 136/
Ashley Williams 32 D (C) Central Defender Stopper 3 star 129/
Cuco Martina 27 D (RC)
WB (R)
Defensive Full-Back Defend 2.5 star 124/
Tom Davies 19 DM
M (C)
AM (C)
Advanced Playmaker Support 3 star 132/
Davy Klaassen 24 M (C)
AM (C)
Shadow Striker Attack 3 star 137/
Dominic Calvert-Lewin 21 AM (RLC)
ST (C)
Winger Support 2.5 star 130/
Oumar Niasse 27 ST (C) Target Man Support 2.5 star 130/
Maarten Stekelenburg 34 GK Goalkeeper Defend 3 star 132/
Muhamed Besic 24 DM
M (C)
Ball Winning Midfielder Support 3 star 132/
Nikola Vlasic 19 AM (RLC) Winger Support 2.5 star 125/
Ramiro Funes Mori 26 D (C) Defensive Centre Back Any 3 star 135/
Seamus Coleman 28 D (R)
WB (R)
M (R)
3.5 star 144/
James McCarthy 26 DM
M (C)
Ball Winning Midfielder Support 3.5 star 142/
Ross Barkley 23 M (C)
AM (C)
Advanced Playmaker Attack 3.5 star 147/
Kevin Mirallas 29 M (RL)
ST (C)
Winger Support 3 star 141/
Yannick Bolasie 28 M (RL)
Winger Attack 3.5 star 144/

How is your FM save going? Who have you signed?

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Alastair Pusinelli

First console: GameBoy Color / Favourite Game: Assassin's Creed 2 / Currently playing: Football Manager 2020