At ViewFromTheTouchline we get asked a lot about how to scout players and find youngsters, in this post we’ve invited @FM_Jellico
To share with us their Screenflow scouting process. They have kindly offered to share it with us and all of you. You can find them at their website LINK

SCREENFLOW SCOUTING

I’ve been using Screenflow scouting since FM17, when I saw a FoxintheBox video about it.  At the time, it was a great supplemental tool to Regular Scouting, and as scouting improved, it became less important to me.  I still used it, but not as extensively as I used to.

Then came the December update of FM24.  And Recruitment Focus’s, which FM had moved to in FM23, broke.  Or were broken.  It’s not that they stopped finding you players, it’s that the players they found were mostly bad, and the consensus is the parameters they used to find those “players almost as good as what you are looking for so we are going to show you them” were tightened to the point where even basic recruiting focus’s, like my generic West African one where I search Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ghana for 4 Grey star minimum,  2 1/2 star potential players was finding no one.  I mean no one.  In West Africa…

So, enter Screenflow Scouting.  You can find Screenflow Scouting under Preferences ->Advanced ->Screeflow Scouting

That will take you to this screen:

Now, no matter what team you are playing, in what league you are playing, you will ALWAYS be able to add all of the International Competitions.  So, lets say we are looking to sign promising young players, to develop and sell, and we want to load all the International U23 and below competitions.

Click Select Competition, Select the Continent, then Select the Competition.  In this example we are going to select the African U20 Cup of Nations.

In the Screen option, select ‘Stats | Player Overview’

In the ‘Scope’ Column, change this to ‘During Competition.  You will notice that ‘Minimum Interval’ is now selectable.  I use two options, dependent on the competition.  If it is a short competition, I choose ‘At Completion’.  If it is a longer competition, I choose ‘Every Two Weeks’ or ‘Every Month’.  Then hit ‘Confirm’ on the right.  This adds the competition to your screenflow.

In the past, using the ‘On Match Days’ options used to work fine, but there was a recent change under the hood where not every competition you had selected would show up, so using the ‘During Competition’ settings work best.

Now, if this was the only competition you wanted to add, you would hit confirm, your skin will reload, and then during the course of your game, when the African U20 Cup of Nations is being played, you will get a screenflow screen.

However, you can also add screenflow results for competitions in countries you have loaded. In Screenflow, we go to Europe, you will not only see all the European Competitions you can add, but a list of the countries I have eligible to play in Europe.  Now, I have all the top divisions loaded, with the mode as ‘Playable/View Only Below’.  So in Italy, despite the setting that I can only play Serie A teams if I want to, I can get results from all of the competitions played in Italy.

This works for any country you have loaded, as long as you have the Leagues loaded, or the top league as ‘Playable / View Only Below’, you will be able to add competitions.  If you have the top league loaded as ‘View Only’, it won’t work.

Proof?  Lets look at Brazil, which is also ‘Playable / View Only Below’:

The arrow at the bottom takes to 17 other competition, including the Brazil U-20 competition.  HINT:  You always want to have this competition in your screenflow if you can.

If you are so inclined, you can also set up screenflow to give you Transfer rumors for a League.  You would select the league, select News | Transfer Rumors in ‘Screen’, in “Scope” you would choose ‘During Transfer Window’, and in “Minimum Interval” choose the interval you want those reports to show up.

Now, due to a quirk in the programming, when adding a competition you may be forced to select ‘All the Time’ under scope initially, then select something else other than ‘Every Day’, then select ‘During Competition’.

Once you have the competitions you want loaded, hit ‘Confirm’ at the bottom, your skin will reload, then you can start playing your save.  For this I’ve loaded all the European Competitions, and all the World Youth Competitions.  You can add or remove competitions at any time.

When you get a screenflow results, it is going to look like these early on the competition, but soon everything will be filled out:


A Couple of things to point out:

  1. You can click back from this screen, and forward again to get to it, but once you close it by advancing you cannot go back to it.
  2. On Player | Detailed, the top 10 statistical categories cannot be changed. The 8 down at the bottom can BUT, on some skins, your settings are not remembered, and they will change when you look at a player and then go back to this screen.

Now, a note:

All the previous Screencaps are from a save I started with Marlow United, a team in the Thames Valley Premier League Division Four, the 15th Level of the English Pyramid.  I left attribute masking off, but going forward, we are going to use screenshots from my current Twitch save with Crystal Palace to show how we set up shortlists and Scout.  I did this to show screenflow is available at any level of football, even level 15, and lower.

For this save I wanted a bit of a challenge, so I loaded the top 8 leagues and simmed to December of 2048.  I then added almost all the countries and leagues and simmed to June of 2050, and then took over Palace.  The reason was simple:  At this point in the cycle, everyone knows who all of the good players are, the hidden wonderkids, etc, so lets get to a point where that’s no possible, where we have to scout and find them.

The philosophy at Palace is simple, we are going to play a Vertical Tiki Taka game, and to help fulfill that I am going to look for players who are better than average in the following attributes:

First Touch
Passing
Technique
Vision
Decision Making
Team Work
Work Rate

Another Note on the attribute you will see going forward:  RED is 1-7, ORANGE is 8-12, BLUE is 13-16, GREEN is 17+.  I play this save attribute-less on the Mustermann 2 skin, but wanted to show Screenflow looks on a “Normal” skin.

This is the UEFA Youth League:

If I click on Bernard Norac-Kevo, you see the following:

This is a ‘Snapshot’ of the player.  The attributes that are filled in are a range, and they are the ‘Conventional Wisdom’ guess of this players attributes.  Several things will affect this.  If you have a scout with the knowledge of the country he is from, you may get some whole number, you may have fewer blank categories, and the ranges may not be as great.  At a minimum though, there should be 13 attributes with number in them, but not always the same 13 across the players.

Lets say I want to shortlist Bernard Norac-Kevo, I would right click on him, and add him to what I call ‘The Cull List’.

But lets go one step farther.  Under Stats, select ‘Team Detailed’

That takes you to this page:

This is all the teams that are/have competed in the UEFA Youth League.  If we click on Velje Under 19’s we see this

I’ve already shortlisted these players, and one, Alexander Larsen, has already been fully scouted because he showed up in a previous competition.

There are 87 clubs in this list.  Yes, I have gone thru all 87 clubs before, but lately I tend focus on those clubs that I know have the capability to produce good young players.  How do I know that?  I got bored last summer, and with chat GPT, Python, and patience put together a spreadsheet of all 53K teams in the FM database, then used a methodology to find the top 1500+ teams that met my criteria.

Here’s a few screenshots:



I’ll have a post, and link, next week.

Now, this is what my current Cull List, and other short lists, look like:

The scouting budget is not a typo.  All my scouts are currently not assigned a Recruitment focus, instead they are racking up frequent flyer miles.

Now, I have a filter I put together, and we are going to use that to filter the Cull List:

I change the match to 7/7, I get 0 results.  6/7 no results, 5/7 if get 9 results.

If we look at say, Isaac Esteves, we see that he is ‘Mostly Scouted’ in that his Snapshot of attributes is all filled in, some attributes are whole numbers, and the rest are ranges, but those ranges are small, usually 4-5 difference.

These players all get selected, and moved to the 16+ 5/7 list indefinitely.

I then spend the next few minutes going thru the rest of the cull list, send players who come thru the filter to the appropriate shortlist.

At the end of all that filtering, we went from 1266 players, to 1107 players left on the cull list.  Am I missing some good players?  Yes, I am.  But that is because they do not meet the minimum attribute requirements I set for players to get on a shortlist.  Can they meet them in the future?  Possibly yes.  Which is why when we are done filtering, we empty the Cull List:

From here, we got to the attribute shortlists.  In this case we are going to look at the 12+ Core 6/7 List.  This is a view I put together, the columns to pay the most attention to are ‘Scouting Cost’, ‘WP Needed’, and ‘Transfer Value’, scrolling is required.

If you were to scroll over and see the rest of Mamadou Ba’s numbers, you would see the following:

He’s worth €62-88M Euro’s.  That tells me that the low numbers in all those ranges are solid, and that he still has the ability to get better.

But lets say you are a 2nd Tier Dutch Club.  You have some transfer money, but your scouting is limited to the Netherlands and Western Europe.  For €2.1K out of your scouting budget, you can send a scout of yours (or the computers choosing) to go scout Szabolcs Pilik in the Romanian 2nd League.

If we assume that the low numbers on those ranges are good, he a physically good winger, with Good Flair, decent Off the Ball, Determination and Teamwork, Average to Good crosser, good dribbler, with Good First Touch, Technique, and decent Passing.  World Beater?  No.  Pretty good Winger, probably, and after that €2.1K scouting expenditure, you will know for sure, and it’s possible, but not probable, his value will change as well.  Could you get him for ~€1M, maybe a bit less?  Probably.

If you are at a small club, and you are judicious with your scouting budget, you can go outside of your range and scout players.  The further away they are though, the more you will pay.  I think €5.5k is the most I’ve seen while at Palace, and that to send a scout over to Japan and Australia when based in Europe, I suspect the obverse is true.

What I usually do know, when the shortlists get about 50-100 players on them, I select all the players, right click -> Report -> Assign to Scouting Pool -> Until Full Knowledge.

In most cases the game will assign the appropriate scout to look at each player.  About 30 days later, your shortlist will look like this:


Now, it’s obvious that looking at this, many of the player who were 13+ actually had that number in a range, and that’s fine, we scouted them out, and found some good players.  In Xavion Belgraves case, when we looked at him originally, his First Touch was probably something like 10-15.  When looking at a range, the filter looks at the last number, not the first.  Now, I have Shortlist for players who grades are A & B, C, D and below.  And because I can afford to, i keep my scout reports up to date.  That means when I go and look at my A&B list, there will be players who now grade out lower, for a variety of reasons.

Once moved, I know have 198 scouted players on My A&B list.  But I don’t focus exclusively on those when looking for new players to sign.
Of the 813 players I have on my D list, 68 are now B or C rated, so I moved them to those lists.  128

But if we sort by potential now, we have

There are some additional tips and notes that can help determine how good a player is and could be.  First is Transfer Value, which can be used as an indicator of how good a player is, but it is not perfect.  Another thing to consider in looking at Transfer Value is the bigger the range in value, the greater the range in that players CA and PA.  A players whose value is €14M to €18M isn’t going to have a lot of improving left to do most likely, while a player who is €26K to €4.2M in Transfer Value most likely has a ton of growth available.

As Scouting primarily with Screenflow isn’t exactly country based, you want to prioritize scouts who have Good Adaptability, as many will be spending time outside their own countries of expertise on occasion.  Back when Focus’s were working, I always had a couple of Scouts I would nickname ‘FreqF1’ and ‘FreqF2’, who had decent CA/PA judging, but good to excellent Adaptability. These scouts only job was to fly around the world and look at the players I specifically asked them to look at.

In my Opinion, Screenflow comes in handy when looking for players your scouts will miss thru no fault of their own.  The 12th best youth striker in Brazil isn’t going to make any Senior Brazilian International Squads, he may not even be in the top Brazilian League, but he will probably show up in some U23 and under competitions.  Likewise, the 18 year old striker at Maribor who had 8 goals in the U-19 Champions League Tournament might be decent, but the AM(C) who had 4 goals and 6 assists might be a better overall player, and you may not find him unless you look at the Maribor U19 as a whole.

Screenflow scouting really comes into play when you are looking at teams and players others aren’t looking at, those good teams in smaller countries that produce good to very good players that more often than not you can get on the cheap. The sort of players who make you club better when they sign, and as the develop, will help your club possibly promoted.  And then a bigger club will come and poach them, such is the FM Circle of Life.  These playyers don’t have to be world class to do this, but if they end up being world class, so much the better.  The past couple years I’ve been using screenflow this way, three of my the best players I have found have been an Ecuadorian AM(C), an Israeli AM(C), and an Egyptian AM(C).  All came thru screenflow, because they had appearences un Youth International tournaments, and I scouted their teams.  The Ecuadorian I got for 25K, the Israeli 2.1M, and the Egyptian I signed for 2.5M when he was 18.  This is him now:

I found Mohamed on the Egyptian U20 Squad, and beat a couple of other teams to the punch.  He’s probably a 180 PA player.  The other two AM(C)’s were from my blog save last year, Carlos Tenorio was a 183 PA player, and Ben Dahan was a 200 PA player, but injuries kept him at 180.

Are there drawback to utilizing screenflow?  Yes.

First it is not a view or a filter you can save.  If you want to use it, you have to set it up for every save.

Secondly, it can be a drag to get thru.  Especially if you are the type who has to look at every team, and the competitions can get into the high 90’s, low 100’s.  That’s a lot of clicking, and it’s easy to trick yourself into thinking filtering thru 4500+ players on the cull list to get ~150 players that meet your criteria may not be the best use of your time.

Secondly, you get an update on every player in your shortlists when something happens.  If there’s a way to turn this off I do not know it, which means there probably is a way and I just never paid attention to it.  This means during transfer windows, especially if you have the ‘Continue Game’ option turned on, it’s not unfamiliar to help her indoors with something and come back to 100+ messages in your inbox, 98 of which concern a player you’ve never looked at other than to put them on a shortlist.

My advice with regards to this is to start removing players when they are older.  In my save, I am looking for Youth Players, so maybe when they turn 24 I’ll start to remove them.  Might make things a bit more manageable.

In summation, Screenflow is a great scouting tool, one that can be modified and adapted to how you want to use it.  It’s very useful for “larger” teams, but smaller teams can also use it as well.  It just requires some effort, and the rewards are well worth it.

 

I’ll have the article on the scouting spreadsheet in a week.

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