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The Definitive Guide to Current Ability in Football Manager

In this guide, we'll show you how current ability (CA) is calculated based on a player's attributes and position. We also provide a handy chart showing the attribute weights for all positions and a tool for calculating your squad's current ability.

By Updated on Jan 05, 2021   97919 views   22 comments
Football Manager Guides - The Definitive Guide to Current Ability in Football Manager
So what does all this mean for us when playing the game? Well, first and foremost it is very important to understand that attributes are the most important thing. As a player develops, their attributes will increase and this drives the increase in CA, not the other way around. So it is important to have effective training for your players and give them game time at an appropriate level. For players 18 and younger, training is the most important. Above 18 getting adequate game time at an appropriate level becomes more important than training. Of course, a player also needs a good personality and determination in order to develop. A player with a poor personality may benefit from mentoring by a more senior player with a good personality.

Remember that the PA acts as a cap on the CA and hence the attributes. The player development does not depend on PA i.e. a young player with 180 PA will not necessarily develop faster than one with 100 PA. It simply means that the 100 PA player will reach his limit sooner and hence stop developing.


For training, you can look to improve any weak attributes by selecting an appropriate additional focus that covers those attributes. The player will then spend more training time on those attributes causing them to rise leading to an increase in CA. You can look at the weights to decide which attributes are important for the players position. For example, Central Defenders have high weights for Decisions and Marking so you may choose to use 'Defensive Positioning' as that focusses on Marking, Positioning and Decisions. Role training covers several attributes that are considered key for a particular role.

So, assuming you have decent training facilities and coaching staff, you should start to see your players attributes start to increase over the course of the season.

In the background, their CA will be rising to match these attribute increases. You can see their overall development progress on the Progress screen under Development.

However, do remember that higher weighted attributes will essentially use up more CA than lower weighted ones. If a player already has a decent value for a highly-weighted attribute, further development in that attribute is essentially at the expense of potential growth in other attributes. So if you have a striker with 17 for Finishing and still some room for development, it could be better spent increasing his poor heading ability rather than trying to get him to have 20 for Finishing. Basically, try and develop well-rounded players with decent values in all the relevant attributes for their position and role. Regularly check on the training progress and change focus to better spread the development across attributes.

Playing Games

In order for players to continue to develop once they reach 18, they'll need to be getting sufficient game time at an appropriate level. So you should be looking to loan out your highly-rated youngsters to get them game time at a decent level. They'll develop more playing on loan at a top-division club rather than for your reserves. It can only be assumed that as they play, the attributes related to the position and role will increase more. It would make little sense for a winger's heading to increase more than their crossing and dribbling.

Keep an eye on the position they'll be played in during the loan and the quality of training facilities at the loaning club. You may have a AML/SC wonderkid you plan to play as a winger at AML. If the loaning club say they'll use them as a striker, it may lead to attributes that are not as important for a winger to develop. You'll also need to hope that the AI manager of the loaning club sets up the player training appropriately and focusses on the relevant position, role and additional focus!

Based on posts on the SI Games forum, it seems that as well as playing games, the player also needs to play well in order to develop. So good performances will lead to attributes increases. So it may be better for your wonderkid winger to play on loan at an attacking team where he'll have more chance to play well and provide assists rather than at a defensive relegation candidate in which he'll be stood on the wing shivering and not being involved in the game.

On the 'Tactics' screen under Development you can keep track of the number of games played in each position as well as a breakdown of their performances.


When scouting for players, you may choose to use a tool like Genie Scout. If you do, do not fall into the trap of simply looking for a striker with the highest CA! As we know, attributes are key and CA is simply the weighted sum of all the attributes. Two strikers may have identical CA's but completely different attribute profiles. Indeed, a 140 CA striker with high values in the relevant attributes for a striker will perform better than a 170 CA striker with high values in less relevant attributes. So in Genie Scout, pay more attention to the role ratings than CA. We have created a ratings file using these weights that you can use in Genie Scout. You will find the download at the end of this article.

Similarly for scouting in the game, focus on searching for the appropriate attributes. We have also created in-game filters using these weights that you can download at the end of the article.

New Positions

As shown in the weight chart on the previous page, each attribute may have a different weight for different positions. So if you train a player in a different position, the weights for his attributes will shift to reflect the new combination of positions. This may mean that some attributes could drop. For example, suppose a full-back retrains as a winger. It can be expected that his weight for crossing and dribbling will increase. This means that his RCA will increase but at that point, his CA has not increased. Therefore, some attribute values will have to drop in order to balance his new attribute weightings with his current CA. If a player still has some development left (i.e. is not at his PA) then his future development could see those attributes start to increase again, but it does mean that the new position has used up some of his potential development (in terms of attribute values).

Players Approaching the End of Their Careers

For a player approaching the end of their career, they will need to continue playing (and playing well) in order to sustain their CA. However, at some point their physical stats will invariably start to drop off (think of their pace and acceleration falling). Now, their CA may still be at the same value meaning that the lost pace and acceleration could actually lead to development in other attributes in order to balance their attribute values and CA. At this point, the player may be suitable for re-training in a different position (think of Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney moving to central midfield as they got into their mid-30s).

Mental Attributes

The mental attributes of players seem to increase naturally as they get older which is to be expected as they are now seasoned pro's. However, bear in mind that these increased mental attributes will lead to an increase in CA. Assuming that the player still has some development left, it will not be a problem and their CA will rise. However, if they are at their peak some technical and/or physical attributes may lower slightly to balance the increase in mental attributes.

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Discussion: The Definitive Guide to Current Ability in Football Manager

22 comments have been posted so far.

  • Prejudice182's avatar
    I get an error when loading the layout file.

    List index out of bounds (8193)
  • emmedue94's avatar
    @CAE Sorry, could you write down the math operation that needs to be done to get a player's CA?
    Because in words I did not understand how to reproduce it.
  • CAE's avatar
    @killkenny2015 Thanks! Will check when on laptop later and update the file. Eagle eyes!
  • Killkenny2015's avatar
    I think there is a small bug in the recommended rating file for Genie Scout. DC-Positioning is there 4, but has to be 8.
  • CAE's avatar
    @Kraiden Thanks for the info. We'll investigate the Firefox issue.

    As for weaker foot, that is from the Overview/Information page. The game doesn't show a numeric value (1-20) for this attribute so we had to work out the range of each category and picked the middle value.

    For example, reasonable is 10, strong is 16 etc.

    This means there can be a few CA units inaccuracy as someone with reasonable can actually be 8-12.
  • Kraiden's avatar
    @CAE With both, go back and back in browser. But it seems to work with chrome now, just not with firefox which is my main browser. I will use chrome then. Another question, what does "Very strong" or "Strong" mean for weak foot? Which value? 15? 19? This matters with the attribute weight.
  • CAE's avatar
    @jrodadov I doubt it is possible to calculate the PA. It is a number (or a number in a range) assigned to each player in the pre-game editor based on the researchers opinion, not any formula.
  • jrodadov's avatar
    How can I calculate the PA???. what factors are keys to do it???
  • CAE's avatar
    @Kraiden Did you press back on the browser or the ‘Go Back’ button under the displayed RCA?
  • Kraiden's avatar
    If I use the calculator and press the button to calculate and then wanna go back to do another calculation it resets all the values and I have to put them in again. Can this be solved so it remembers the values?
  • CAE's avatar
    @Jervaj I've posted some thoughts in the forum.
  • CAE's avatar
    @Jervaj Wow, what an insightful and well thought out comment. A lot of food for thought! I’ll post it on the forum and answer there as I feel there is a lot of things to discuss!

  • Jervaj's avatar
    Great work and study. The planned claculator looks like it would be quite useful. It would be good if it could include some way of evalauting different roles to account for the differences in exigency. As you mention and it was clear in game (sepcially in some cases) not all roles are equally demanding. Some are more specialized or focus on "cheaper" attributes which makes easier to get higher ratings on them with lower CA. A pretty notable case is complete forward due to been so generalist and demanding in varying areas, so for most players it gets notable lower ratings in such a role than in their "best" ones.
    Where Im going with this, is that this may happen to some degree with other roles and it may be good to know how relativelly good a player is for a certain role where the game can be misleading. Like going back to the extreme example, one striker can be relativelly pretty good as a Complete Forward and worth using as such, but it may show ingame that you aren't using well his potential been only his 3rd/4th best role. But that may not be due to bad attribute alignment, just due to how demanding the role is.
    Also, does it seem from the study that some positions thesmelves are more demanding? As in needing higher CA overall to have good stats in that position? Or is that balanced out? Seems like it at first sight, but with so many numbers it may not.

    Aside from this suggestion the study does pose me question. Until now I though CA was absolute given the game only has 1 value for each player, and then the quality on a given position depended on the spread of such CA. But with CA been calculated differently based on position, what CA does the game take then to interact with potential and development? Just the best possible for a given player even if its not the position he plays in? Will players whose potential has capped but are not at their max for the poistion they play in start to lose secondary attributes and gain on main ones as training continues?

    Also, would you conclude after this study that some attributes may be very worth it to look out for/develop because of their "cheapness" and the little opportunity cost in main attributes? Theres things like flair and agression that, while somewhat double edged, I belive are considered to be net positives by a fair margin, specially if the accompanying attributes for a gvien are good enough.
    Then you have things like jumping reach and heading which are very cheap outside of SCT and CD, which may make them very good to have outside those position if you expect the player to use them at all. any kind of attacking midfielder that gets into the box seems great to make a header according to this as it wont cost him much in other attributes.

    On a similar note, may this make some duty/role/position combinations more efficient? In the sense of behaving very similar on the field to another combination on a different position, yet been able to have higher attributes with less CA. Like, having a defensive oriented midfielder been cheaper as MC than as DM, or having a attacking oriented winback been cheaper if playing as DRL insted of WBRL.
  • CAE's avatar

    Those are great questions and to be honest, I do not know the answer! From my current interpretation, it means it is harder to train a striker for an AF position as it is a more demanding role.

    I think we need to think in terms of 'spending' CA points. AF has something like 15 key/preferable attributes, so the CA points will be more diluted across those 15 attributes. On the other hand a Poacher is more limited/focussed on 9 attributes, so the CA points can be 'spent' on less attributes leading to higher values.

    For example, AF has Dribbling as a key attribute. But it is not for a Poacher. So for a Poacher, any Dribbling points are 'wasted' and could be better spent on attributes required for a Poacher.

    p.s. I've never trained a GK for set-pieces but it would be an interesting experiment!
  • ssupkane's avatar
    P.S.: Since Penalty Taking and Free Kicks don't use up GK's CA and PA, does it make it a good idea to train these attributes for a Goalkeeper older than 30?
  • ssupkane's avatar

    Great analysis.

    My question is: how do Key Attributes (highlighted green) and Preferable Attributes (highlighted blue) work then?

    I.e. if you put a striker on the Poacher role, the game only highlightes acceleration attribute, basically saying that physical attributes aren't required for that specific role. At the same time the Advanced Forward role got the entire Physical column highlighted blue (except Jumping Reach and Strength). But the sheet you made says physical attributes are the must-have for any striker, since they are all heavily weighted.

    Another example is Pressing Forward. The role requires great mental attributes, which are "cheap" for strikers since they are lightly weighted; and only Finishing and First touch is highlighted under Technical.
  • CAE's avatar
    @Evo Thanks!

    Yes, it will be. RCA goes up as you add more positions in so as you say, it likely uses the highest weight for those positions. At the moment I've stuck to players with a single position, but am looking at multiple positions now!

    Consistency and Important Matches do not affect RCA, you can actually see this in the pre-game Editor - it shows 'Current Ability-Dependent Attributes'. It is only the ones in the chart i.e. visible attributes and foot strength.
  • Evo's avatar
    Excellent work, that chart is really useful. I wonder if this is why when I retrain a player to natural in a new position his attributes go down slightly? I'm guessing RCA takes the highest weighting for each of their natural positions, a bit of a shame that making a player more versatile makes them a worse player in each of their individual positions. I wonder if consistency and important matches also affects RCA.
  • Stam's avatar
    Mind blowing research! Top notch effort! Looking forward to what comes next! :beer:
  • Rober's avatar
    Amazing work Prof! Walter Bishop would be proud!
  • fc.cadoni's avatar
    Congratulations CAE! Amazing stuff!
  • GfxJG's avatar
    Interesting article! I've always thought that Teamwork was a "free attribute", so to speak, as well, but apprently I was wrong!
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