Football Manager 2019: England Team Guide, Player Ratings & Tactics

England have a complicated relationship with their national team. The fans intense desire for success has often crushed the team under a weight of expectations. The "golden generation" of the early 2000's couldn't fulfil the hopes and dreams of the nation, and the team even failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

In the World Cup England hadn't progressed beyond the quarter-finals since 1990, with a disappointing exit from the group stages in 2014. So when the 2018 World Cup rolled around expectations were low for the first time in an age, and the result was a stunning run to the semi-finals before coming undone by Croatia in extra-time.

The 2018 World Cup rekindled a nation's love for their national team and sparked a summer of joy. With Football Manager 19 you have the chance to pick up after the World Cup and try to take England to a championship at last. RealSport has everything you need to know about England to bring football home.

Expectations & Philosophy

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Unlike taking a job with a club, there are no philosophies or even expectations when you take over the England job. This is because the only competition England are in when you start is the European International League Division A, a new competition that effectively replaces friendlies between major tournament qualifying campaigns. The England board doesn't care about success in this tournament, but once the Euro 2020 qualification groups are drawn you will be expected to qualify with ease.

Tactical style

England have some strong players, but they lack the ability to go toe-to-toe in a possession game with the likes of Spain or France. While it is good to have an attacking tactical style for qualification games against Andorra or Luxembourg, when it comes to the major tournaments it would be wise to play a more defensive, counter-attacking, style.

As a result we are going with a fluid counter-attack style for the major tournaments, but in most qualifying games you should run with a control possession style. Both can utilise the same formation which is good.


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England found success in the 2018 World Cup playing with three at the back, so we are going to echo that formation with a 5-2-1-2 WB formation. It suits England's quality at full back and also allows you to get Dele Alli on the field to pull strings in the middle of the field. It does limit your ability to deploy Raheem Sterling, but if you have a 4-3-3 formation for games where you expect to dominate possession you can get him on the field and push forward.

In the 5-2-1-2 WB you should have Jordan Pickford in goal, with a back three of John Stones, Chris Smalling, and Harry Maguire. Kyle Walker and Danny Rose are your wing backs, with Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson your two central midfielders. Dele Alli will play behind the front two of captain Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford.

With International games having an unlimited subs bench the rest of your squad can be available to you in every game, allowing you to switch between formations a little more freely than at club level.

Your change-up formation should be a 4-2-3-1 which will give you more of an attacking presence.

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In this formation you would take away a centre back, likely Chris Smalling, and bring on Raheem Sterling.

Key Players

The England squad isn't littered with world class players, but there are some that you can lean on in big games. These players are the guys you need to build your tactics around and find a way to deploy them if you are to win Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.

Harry Kane - CA 4.5 star (183), PA 4.5 star (185)

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The Spurs striker is England's biggest weapon. He claimed the golden boot in the 2018 World Cup to go along with two Premier League golden boots. Kane has been with Tottenham since 2004, rising through their youth academy before getting some first team experience on loan and then becoming a deadly assassin at White Hart Lane.

In FM 19 Kane is perhaps the best striker in the world. His 183 CA is exceptional and very close to his ceiling of 185 PA. His 19 finishing, 19 determination, and 18 work rate are terrific and speak to the hardworking nature of this amazing finisher.

Dele Alli - CA 4 star (164), PA 4.5 star (176)

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Another Spurs player, Dele Alli is an attacking midfielder of high quality. Alli is the rare example of a player rising from the lower leagues to become a true star. He started his career with the Milton Keynes Dons, debuting in 2011 and playing there for 4 years before getting a move to Tottenham and turning into an electric player that would drive them forward. In the 2017-18 season Alli's form took a dip, which affected his play in the 2018 World Cup.

In FM19 Alli is a fearsome midfielder. His 18 stamina, 16 finishing, and 15 passing show just what an all-round talent he is. There is also room to improve from the 22-year-old whose CA is 164 but his PA is 176.

Raheem Sterling - CA 4 star (164), PA 4 star (171)

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Another young star, Raheem Sterling started his career with Queens Park Rangers but moved to Liverpool at the age of 15. He made his debut with Liverpool in 2012, but in 2015 he forced a move away after a contract dispute, ending up making £49 million move to Manchester City, where he has become regular part of the first team.

In FM19 Sterling is an excellent winger. With his high CA of 164 and room for growth he can be a real game-changer. His 18 acceleration, 17 dribbling, and 17 pace make him a remarkably dangerous winger, but it is his 18 off the ball and 17 anticipation that can keep him engaged with the attack more regularly than a usual winger.

Young Talent

The England squad that you start with already has a number of young players in it like Alli, Sterling, and Marcus Rashford, but there is a horde of young English players coming through that could be in consideration for a spot in the Euro 2020 and World Cup 2022 teams. 

Declan Rice - CA 3 star (141), PA 5 star (150-180)

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Rice, a West Ham product, rose through the ranks of the Republic of Ireland youth levels very quickly and even received three full caps for them in 2018, but having been born in London he also had the ability to play for England if called upon. Having been approached by them he decided to switch allegiance in February 2019, with the move having been confirmed by FIFA. The centre back/defensive midfielder already has well-developed mental attributes like 17 determination, 16 composure, and 15 positioning making him well-suited to the international game.

Jadon Sancho - CA 3 star (150), PA 5 star (175)

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Part of the problem you have getting Raheem Sterling into the side is a lack of another world class winger to balance your formation. That may not be an issue for long thanks to Jadon Sancho. The Borussia Dortmund man has burst onto the scene this season and even allowed Dortmund to move on from their previous young star Christian Pulisic. His 17 acceleration, 17 dribbling, 16 vision make him a deadly force already and his development may mean you soon have to find room for him in the starting XI.

Phil Foden - CA 2.5 star (135), PA 5 star (175)

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If Dele Alli is the string-puller of the present England team, Phil Foden is the future one. The Manchester City teenager has already been on the end of high praise from Pep Guardiola and isn't too far from breaking into the City first team. He is yet to be capped at senior level by England but his call up is not far away. In FM 19 he already has excellent creative stats like 16 flair, 16 vision, and 16 passing.

Team report

Work rate
Long shots
Midfield depth
Coaching staff

Ideal squad

Your first competitive game is not until 2019, giving you plenty of time to scout your ideal squad. You also have 6 games in which to tinker with your tactics and find a style that you are comfortable with. The Euro 2020 qualifiers will start in March 2019, which also means that there is space for injuries to play havoc with your selection plans. While you can have an ideal squad in mind it is useful to have a thought out strategy of what to do if a key player is hurt, or worse one position gets decimated by injury.

Jordan Pickford
Jack Butland
Tom Heaton
Kyle Walker
D (R) WB (R)
Kieran Trippier
D (R) WB (R)
Trent Alexander-Arnold
D (R) WB (R) DM M (RC)
Danny Rose
D (L) WB (L) M (L)
Luke Shaw
D (L) WB (L)
John Stones
D (C)
Harry Maguire
D (C)
Chris Smalling
D (C)
Joe Gomez
Phil Jones
D (C)
Eric Dier
D (C) DM M (C)
Jordan Henderson
DM M (C)
Ross Barkley
M (C) AM (C)
Ruben Loftus-Cheek
M (C) AM (C)
Phil Foden
AM (C)
Dele Alli
M (C) AM (RLC) ST (C)
Jadon Sancho
M (RL) AM (RL)
Raheem Sterling
M (RL) AM (RL)
Harry Kane
ST (C)
Marcus Rashford
ST (C)

Football's coming home

The expectations of England fans may have dropped off over the last 15 years, but 2018's magical run will see you under pressure to make deep runs in Euro 2020 and World Cup 2022. The ultimate aim to bring one of these trophies home to England, and the England side is talented enough to do it so long as you are willing to concede possession to the more gifted midfields of Spain, France, and Argentina and take your chances on the break. It will be hard work, but what greater triumph is there than to lift the World Cup for your nation?

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