Welcome to the final post of the Tokyo Verdy save! To round things off we’re taking a trip back through time – revisiting every season of the save to take a look at the players I’ve deemed interesting enough to reveal the attributes of. All the way back in the Season One Review I told the story of Danny Birchall but for those who missed it, here it is again.

My most successful (but definitely least interesting) Football Manager save ever was all the way back in 2011. I managed Manchester United, the club I support, for about 30 seasons and repeatedly rebuilt the squad winning countless Premier League and Champions League titles in the process.

Danny Birchall was a huge part of my success. A right-back that came through the youth academy, he was literally my very own Gary Neville and captained the side for at least 12 of those glorious years. Years after the save had finished, I found the save file and decided to boot it up for a healthy dose of nostalgia, and upon looking back at my beloved Danny Birchall… discovered he was garbage! Star ratings weren’t so front and centre back then, and clearly my ability to assess players was awful back then, he was genuinely Championship level at best based on his attributes. That’s the beauty though, he was still integral and always performed; I never once looked to replace him with a better player because I never felt he was a weak link in the side.

Some of these players are here because of their performances, some because they were bargain signings, and some because they were breakthrough youth prospects, but no matter the reason, I introduce to you… the Danny Birchall list!

Season One

Hikaru NakaharaAMR, 43(2) apps, 10 goals, 27 assists, 7.37 avg rating.

I obviously didn’t have the attributes for the rest of the division to compare to, but my immediate thought is that Nakahara looks a bit too good for the second tier in Japan. It’s no surprise then that he managed 37 goal contributions in 45 games. I imagined him to be a bit more of a ‘direct’ winger, so slightly higher pace and crossing and maybe slightly lower passing than he has, but there’s no doubt he was an incredibly well-rounded player for the level.

Hidemasa KodaAM RC, 25(15) apps, 10 goals, 7 assists, 7.16 avg rating.

Koda was the first high potential young talent of the save, and did well to establish himself as a first-team regular after I promoted him from the reserves. He definitely looks a bit more raw than Nakahara, but is that more ‘direct’ profile I mentioned before. I actually played Koda as a Shadow Striker quite a lot in the first season, and I like his attributes for that role, with Composure the only real weakness in his game.

Season Two

Léo ArturAM LC, 39(7) apps, 17 goals, 13 assists, 7.25 avg rating.

Considering that when we signed Léo Artur I thought we had completed a real coup, I’m actually a little underwhelmed to now see his attributes. I wouldn’t say he’s much better than Nakahara in all truth, but he was so highly regarded by my coaches that they rated him as comfortably our best player.

Ten MiyagiAM LC, 34(13) apps, 9 goals, 14 assists, 7.17 avg rating.

Mr Miyagi was one of my first data driven signings, and the first player I paid a transfer fee for in the save. I said at the time that I would be interested to see if I would still have signed Miyagi if I could see his attributes, and I can now confirm I probably wouldn’t have. I originally signed Miyagi to play as a winger on the left-hand side, but his crossing, passing and off the ball are all poor. Ironically, as the season progressed Miyagi started to play more as a Shadow Striker, which I actually like his attributes more for now that I can see them.

Season Three

Thomas AmangAM RL, ST C, 45 apps, 30 goals, 10 assists, 7.50 avg rating.

My best signing and favourite player of the save, Thomas Amang is exactly how I expected him to look. I knew he would be physically good but I’m impressed by just how good, and I love that he’s got so much flair but is also a complete work horse. I’ll be honest, this one was just so I could have one more Thomas Amang love in before the save ends.

Junma NishihataAM RC, ST C, 2(10) apps, 2 goals, 3 assists, 7.11 avg rating.

The first newgen on the list and one of our first intake players to make an impact at first-team level, I was curious to see if I would have given Nishihata the opportunities I did if I could see just how good he was. I absolutely would have, but probably not in the way that I did. 

There’s no doubt that at 18 Nishihata was incredibly talented, his mentals in particular were superb. However, most of his minutes that season were either played on the right-wing, or coming on as a second striker playing as a Deep-Lying Forward, neither of which utilised his strengths. He still played extremely well, but I do think if I had his attributes available I could have got a bit more from him this season and he may have kicked on and become a regular for the club.

Season Four

Omar SonkoDC, 35(4) apps, 1 goal, 1 assist, 7.03 avg rating.

Sonko is a very good defender for the level, and his frame and jumping reach made him a real asset in Japan. He is obviously quite technically limited, and his relatively low heading meant he maybe didn’t score as many from set-pieces as he could have. Mentally he is an absolute beast though, with just his anticipation on the low side.

Jack BradleyGK, 22 apps, 23 conceded, 7 clean sheets, 6.82 avg rating.

As I mentioned at the time, Bradley looked so promising and played so well for a while that he not only got a run in the team, but even inspired this Twitter thread about not trusting star ratings. I knew that his reflexes were going to be a concern but they are quite low and eventually this did show in his performances, as his Expected Goals Prevented plummeted. With the hindsight of now knowing his attributes I would probably have still given him a run in the team but would have adjusted his role to Goalkeeper to make up for his lack of Sweeper Keeper skill set.

Hiroyuki NakamuraAM LC, ST C, 9(18) apps, 9 goals, 0 assists, 7.06 avg rating.

I was really pleased with the impact that Nakamura made in the first-team at 17, so much so that he stayed a regular member of the squad for the rest of the save. I would definitely have still integrated Nakamura into the side, but with his attributes known I would probably have used him more as the second/third choice striker rather than a rotation option out wide.

Season Five

Yuki SekineDM, 34(13) apps, 3 goals, 7 assists, 6.92 avg rating.

Sekine surprised me in his breakthrough season, as I only saw him being a deep rotation option who may get some games in the cups. In fact he played so well that by the end of the season he was my first choice DM, and remained a strong option until the end of the save. His composure would obviously be a big concern if I were to go back now and re-evaluate, but I think it’s just further proof that players can and will outperform their attributes because I never once questioned Sekine’s composure when watching him in the match engine.

Athon Janthapan-SankammuanGK, 34(2) apps, 37 conceded, 15 clean sheets, 6.85 avg rating.

Last but not least, I was intrigued to take a look at Janthapan-Sankammuan as he was named on the NXGN Top 50 Wonderkid list. For a 19-year-old goalkeeper he looks incredible and probably should have been snapped up by a European side, but I also have to evaluate him as my starting keeper and there were some concerns. He actually reminds me a bit of David de Gea early in his Manchester United career; he’s a well-rounded goalkeeper and an excellent shot stopper but his aerial ability lets him down and can sometimes turn him into a liability. I am surprised that we never got any real transfer interest in him though, I’d have been interested to see how long we could have kept him as he would have only continued to improve.

So there we are, the Tokyo Verdy save draws to an end. To everyone who has been following along, thank you, it’s been a blast. Next up for me is England at the Euros, so look forward to seeing that soon, and then we’ll see out the Football Manager 2024 cycle with my take on a Manchester United rebuild. Until next time…


  • adam_otbfm

    Adam, known in the Football Manager (FM) realm as @adam_otbfm, is a fervent gamer and content creator. With a penchant for football simulations, Adam delves into the intricacies of FM, sharing his findings on his blog "On the Break." His creative ventures include replicating football legends like Kaka in the virtual pitch, showcasing a blend of nostalgia and modern gameplay. Adam's musings extend to social platforms like Twitter, where he actively engages with the FM community, sharing his gaming journey with @SJK_Seinajoki. His insightful content and avid participation enrich the FM community, making him a valued member in this virtual football world.

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