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A First Look At Football Manager 2022: New Features, Including Data Hub And Revamped Transfer Deadline Day

Jack Kenmare

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A First Look At Football Manager 2022: New Features, Including Data Hub And Revamped Transfer Deadline Day

The hype for Football Manager 2022 is very real right now.

Earlier this month, Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson announced that pre-order numbers for FM22 are even higher [by almost 10%] than last year's release. To put that into perspective, FM 21 was the fastest in the series' history to hit one million copies sold.

In fact, after a record-breaking amount of sales in recent years, it was confirmed in February that the Football Manager series had sold a total of 33 and a third million copies since its birth - a figure that emphasises how popular the management simulation continues to be.

Time and time again, this unique game helps us escape from reality with its incredible attention to detail and personal touches and, once again, the guys behind the scenes at Sports Interactive have been working hard to provide fans with an authentic experience like no other.

So what can we expect on November 9th? After around 12 hours of playtime on the Alpha version of FM22 [yes those are rookie numbers, my apologies] I have condensed some of the biggest new features in the game into one big article. Clear the diary and get ready. It's time.

From more variety in press conferences and team talks to the highly-anticipated dynamic youth ratings; a game-changer for those who enjoy a long-term save [the quality of youth players coming through in different nations will change depending on that nation's standing in world football].

This latest version of the FM series, complete with a fresh new skin, looks and feels slick.

You'll also be happy to know that FM 22 has an improved match engine that elevates the matchday experience. You'll notice more realistic dribbling and player movements when playing; not to mention the fact AI is the most intelligent in the series' history.

Oh, and let's not forget the introduction of wide centre-backs in FM 22; a new position role that combines the duties of the traditional central defender and the classic fullback.

We have been given a first look at the alpha version of the game, so let's take a peek at what we can expect from FM 22.

Data Hub

Last year, matchdays in Football Manager 2021 were enhanced to provide a more realistic and immersive experience, with the incorporation of new stats and xG adding an extra layer of analytical insight to the effectiveness of your play.

This time around, the impressive Data Hub is a brand-new section on the sidebar in FM22 that is the go-to destination for everything related to data and performance analysis.

A dedicated space for player and team analytics, the Hub will include fresh data sets, clean visuals and an 'Ask For' system that allows you to request a wealth of information from your analysts.

From here managers can delve into team performance metrics to analyse where things are going right over the course of the 90 minutes of match action and where there is room for improvement.

Image credit: Sports Interactive
Image credit: Sports Interactive

There's also the ability to view analysis on individual players from within your squad, allowing you to identify strengths to build around and weaknesses to develop on the training ground.

New data visualisations such as momentum graphs and zone maps alongside reworked pass maps make it clearer and easier than ever for managers to see how their decision-making affects their chances of success, to diagnose problem areas and to judge the most effective contribution from squad members.

Managers wishing to fully immerse themselves in the world of data analytics can delve even deeper into the Data Hub and ask their analytics team to deliver bespoke reports on a wide range of topics, such as the percentage of headers won by their defenders compared to the rest of the league.

Real clubs are using the same metrics and reporting methods to power their performance on the pitch, now FM players can too.

Basically, if you're like me and love stats, then the Data Hub will be your absolute go-to.

Match Engine

The FM 22 match engine debuts a brand-new animation engine, as well as a host of match AI enhancements including pressing and decision making.

A new animation engine delivers an even greater level of on-pitch authenticity than was previously possible in the series.

Player movements now look far more realistic and natural due to the implementation of root motion while on-the-ball dribbles and touches have been reworked to ensure that players have a much greater range of movement, including the ability to pivot on the ball and perform Cruyff turns. Yes, Cruyff turns.

You can see the new animation engine below.

In addition to new animations, significant AI enhancements mean players can expect a more lifelike flow to the passage of play over the course of a match.

A reworked pressing system also means that players now have the concept of their sprint capacity and know when they can and can't press their opponent and accuracy has been refined to ensure that player condition has a greater impact on the accuracy of passes, shots and first touches.

Pressing triggers have been added as part of a complete overhaul of the existing pressing system. This means that players on the defending team have a much greater awareness of when they should and shouldn't press.

As mentioned earlier [yes I'm excited], the brand new Wide Centre-Back player role has been introduced to give managers greater flexibility when operating with a back three. They can be deployed in a defence, support or attack duty with an increasing willingness to overlap and create two vs one situations.

Transfer Deadline Day

A revamped Transfer Deadline Day experience in FM22 better replicates the drama and excitement of one of the most chaotic fixtures in the football calendar.

Managers will be better informed of the latest done deals, rumours and offers from agents in a new Deadline Day hub.

It's also easier for managers to master the transfer market in the whirlwind of Deadline Day activity. Dedicated screens allow managers to monitor interest from other clubs in their players, capitalise on players whose contracts are close to expiring and see which players have been newly transfer listed.

Revamped UI elements breathe more life into the spectacle of Deadline Day such as a countdown timer to the end of the transfer window that features prominently throughout the day and a ticker bar revealing the latest breaking transfer news.

Image credit: Sports Interactive
Image credit: Sports Interactive

Staff Meetings

Staff Meetings streamline your interactions with key members of managers' backroom team to give them more time to focus on the elements of management that matter to them.

Based on insight from football professionals, Staff Meetings are a weekly fixture in your calendar that allows managers to better organise their pre-match preparation, long-term player development goals and their team structure.

Managers will have the ability to action their backroom team's advice from within the meeting along with a suite of new functionality additions to maximise the input from their backroom staff.

Image credit: Sports Interactive
Image credit: Sports Interactive

Thoughts on the new Football Manager 2022 features so far? What team will you be in your very first save?

Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: Sports Interactive

Topics: Football Manager

Jack Kenmare

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