Roy Kent and Art of Tough Love in Football Manager

Roy Kent and Art of Tough Love in Football Manager

In the world of Football Manager, every manager has their own style of play. Some embrace the thrill of attacking football, while others focus on solid defensive strategies. Then there are those who value possession and direct passing, seeking to dominate the game.

During the nine seasons of my Sheffield save, I’ve dabbled in all three of these approaches, searching for the one that excites me the most. And then, over the last three seasons, I discovered a new way, a style that embodied the passion of one man. Enter Roy Kent.

If you haven’t heard of Roy Kent, then you must have been living under a rock. He is the iconic character from the hit series “Ted Lasso,” the man who won our hearts with his no-nonsense attitude and fiery exterior. But he’s also much more than that—Roy Kent is the epitome of tough love, passion, and determination.

In this post, we’ll explore how we can channel the spirit of Roy Kent into our Football Manager saves.


What is the Roy Kent Method?

The Roy Kent method of management is a no-nonsense, straight-talking approach that demands high standards from players. Roy Kent is of the belief that tough love can unlock the full potential of players. By setting these standards and holding players accountable for their performances, Roy creates an environment where underperformance is not tolerated.

By setting high expectations and challenging players to reach their full potential, Roy instills a sense of purpose and urgency in his squad. Players are driven to prove themselves, not only to the manager but also to the fans.

To implement this style in Football Manager, we need to focus on 3 key areas:
– player attributes and personalities
– tactical style
– player interactions

While this type of management can give impressive results, it’s important to strike a careful balance. Excessive use can have negative consequences for player morale, so be mindful of individual personalities. Monitor the impact the approach has, as those with less determined and resilient personalities will need feedback of a more supportive nature.


Attributes and Personalities

To embrace Roy Kent in Football Manager, it is important to understand the key attributes that play a significant role in achieving success. These attributes are essential for players to thrive under a demanding and disciplined approach.

Determination represents the ability to stay focused, motivated, and resilient in the face of challenges. High determination enables players to push through difficult moments, maintain composure, and strive for excellence.

Aggression signifies a willingness to compete by winning tackles and asserting dominance. Players with high aggression levels have a pressing style of play, demonstrated with fierce challenges on the opposition and a relentless pursuit of the ball.

Work Rate reflects a player’s willingness to put in extra work and to cover every inch of the pitch. A high work rate ensures players are constantly involved in the game, tracking back to defend and making forward runs to support the attack.

Bravery is the courage to take risks, make bold decisions, and perform under pressure. Players with high bravery are not afraid to put their bodies on the line, whether it’s going in for tackles or pushing up front.

Leadership refers to a player’s ability to inspire and guide their teammates both on and off the pitch. Players with strong leadership qualities are assertive and capable of motivating others.

The impact of these attributes is crucial in building a team that embodies the spirit of Roy Kent. A squad made up of players with high ratings in most, if not all, of these attributes will be well-equipped to handle the demands and expectations of this approach.


Personalities

It is also important to consider player personalities, as those who possess traits similar to those of Roy Kent, such as Determined or Driven, are more likely to respond positively to the tough love and discipline that come with this style.


By focusing on these attributes and selecting players with the right personalities, you can create a team that not only possesses the necessary skills but also embraces the core principles of Roy Kent. This will enhance your chances of effectively implementing this approach in Football Manager.


Tactics

Roy Kent’s style of play is characterised by a direct and aggressive approach on the pitch. The team is encouraged to attack quickly, using fast and direct passing to penetrate the opposition’s defence. Counter-attacking football is a key aspect, capitalising on the opponent’s vulnerabilities and exploiting them with speed and precision. The team should prioritise playing the ball forward and taking risks in the final third, putting constant pressure on the opposition’s defence.

While the main focus is attacking prowess, it’s important not to neglect being solid in defence. Players should be instructed to press high up the pitch, denying the opposition time and space to build their attacks. A physical defence is essential to disrupting the opposition’s play, with players being encouraged to win and make strong tackles. The team should aim to regain possession and transition quickly into attack.

Consider formations that provide a strong presence in both defence and attack; one choice would be 433. Assign roles to your players that suit the style, such as an Advanced Forward who is aggressive and direct in play and a Ball Playing Defender who can help build attacks from the back.

You can also assign individual player instructions that reflect the desired style, Tackle Harder for defenders will encourage them to be more physical in their tackling, while Press More Often for strikers will have them pressure the opposition defence into making mistakes.

If play starts getting too physical and you’re picking up cards with every challenge, you can always encourage your players to Calm Down for a period of time; this will prompt your players to regain composure and refocus on the task at hand.


The Roy Kent Royvolution

I openly admit I am not a tactical genius, the tactic I’ve put below is just a general overview of how it could look. It would need some work if you were to use it for your own save. During testing, it performed well in attack and defence, but passing statistics were not quite where I’d like them to be.

Roy Kent Tactic

I used Liverpool in the main test save, as they had the type of players I imagine playing this style. They won the Premier Division and Champions League, scoring the most goals in both. They topped the league charts in 7 out of 10 areas.

click to enlarge

I also dabbled in a season with Bradford City; while they weren’t as prolific as Liverpool, they still found slight success with the style of play and got promoted.

If you are using this tactic with a lower-league team, you will definitely have to make some alterations.

It is physically demanding, with Bradford really struggling towards the middle and end of the season. Even the top-tier players at Liverpool struggled at times.

It will be a tactic players will become accustomed to over time rather than immediately.


Players

Using the latest database, I have identified a player from each position who I feel fully embraces the heart and spirit of Roy Kent.  They all possess the key attributes from earlier in this post, but also exhibit characteristics I feel will fit well with the Royvolution tactic.

I have used higher attribute ratings to find them, as this brings up more recognisable players for you to see how they’d fit, so adjust as needed for teams with lower reputations and budgets.


Player Interactions

Roy Kent fosters a “never give up” attitude, instilling in players the belief that they can achieve greatness. By pushing players to their limits, the approach can shape determination and work rate, helping players grow and reach their full potential.

Player Interactions in Football Manager are a quick way to boost the morale and performance of your team, whether it be through team talks or one to one conversation.


Team Talks

When you’re trailing 1-0 at half-time, a passionate team talk can be the difference between conceding one goal or scoring two. Express your disappointment and let them know they can do better, ignite a fire within them and motivate them to win. 

One of my favourite half-time team talks, but one which must be used sparingly, is the option to throw a water bottle. This gesture is a visual representation of your unhappiness and frustration. It sends a powerful message to your players that they must improve, and you won’t accept anything less than a turnaround in performance.


One to Ones

Often more impactful than team talks, are one-to-one conversations with your players.

When underperforming in training or games, a quick chat can be a wake-up call and a reminder of the standards you expect. By challenging them to work harder, players can respond with renewed determination and drive, leading to better performances.

On the other hand, acknowledging those who have continued to perform well over the course of a few weeks, will reinforce expectations and motivate them to maintain their high levels.


At the risk of sounding like a broken record it’s, again, important to consider individual personalities and adapt the level of tough love accordingly. Some players respond well to this style, thriving under the pressure and using it as fuel for their improvement. Others, however, may become demotivated or resentful, causing strained relationships and transfer requests.

Personally, I have a fairly black and white approach when it comes to training and match ratings in my Sheffield save. If they score 8+ then I single them out for praise, if they score below 7 then they’re given the Roy Kent hairdryer treatment. Thankfully I don’t have any players that react poorly to praise, but the ones who won’t take negative feedback, soon find themselves moving on.


Conclusion

Embracing the Roy Kent style in Football Manager can bring a new approach to your Football Manager save. The key to success lies in signing and developing players who bleed Roy Kent – they need determination, resilience and a never say die attitude.

But it’s not without its challenges, while tough love can push players towards success, excessive use of some methods can have disastrous effects.

Every player is unique, and understanding their individual attributes and personalities, will help you tailor your approaches accordingly. The aim is to develop a determined and motivated team that wants nothing but success, stopping at nothing to achieve it.

So, are you ready to unleash your inner Roy Kent and lead your team to victory?

The choice is yours.


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