In this article, we're looking at individual players who potentially outperformed their attributes on FM18 and who deserve recognition for their excellent individual performances with an upgrade in Football Manager 2019.
Here's a list of ten players who I believe had a fantastic season and deserve an upgrade.
1) Andrew Robertson - Liverpool
He shuts down wingers on multiple occasions without fault, his tackling is spot on and he reads the game very well, as well as having a brilliant cross on him. Robertson registered five assists in the EPL last season, one less than Kyle Walker despite playing 1000 fewer minutes than the English right fullback. Hull City to Liverpool is a massive step-up and he's done it with absolute ease and has cemented himself as one of the finest fullbacks around, that £8m spent looks an absolute bargain now.
2) Marko Arnautovic (West Ham)
Arnautovic had quite a poor start to life at West Ham, getting sent off in just his second game for the club and not having much of an impact if any until the arrival of David Moyes in November. The arrival of Moyes seemed to revitalize the Austrian international as he went on to score 11 goals in the Premier League between then and the end of the season including goals against Chelsea and Arsenal. With his ability to put the ball in the back of the net as well as have an eye for a pass, it's clear to see why Arnautovic is flourishing in a more advanced role as the main Centre Forward.
3) Nick Pope - Burnley
Not many would have been familiar with Pope before the 17/18 season having spent the majority of his career at the time in the lower leagues. He signed for Burnley in July 2016 and made his Premier League debut over a year later in September 2017 replacing the injured Tom Heaton in Burnley's 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. After a brilliant individual season in 17/18, Pope was selected in England's 23-man World Cup Squad in Russia. Pope earned his first and only English cap so far in a pre-tournament friendly against Costa Rica in June 2018.
4) Abdoulaye Doucouré - Watford
The 25-year-old Frenchman was in fine form for the Hornets last season. His dynamism and ability to pick a pass was a real asset for Warford during the early parts of the season when they were flying high towards the top of the table. His form somewhat dropped during the second half of the season but he was still the driving force behind Watford's respectable 14th place finish. Doucouré is one to watch in the 18/19 season and if he can find his goalscoring form again, a move to a bigger club could be on the cards.
5) Roberto Firmino - Liverpool
Arguably the standout and most complete number 9 in Europe last season, the 26-year-old Brazilian was the unsung hero behind Liverpool's 4th place finish and route to reach the Champions League final. With the likes of Salah have a record-breaking season, it's easy to forget just how crucial the Brazilian was for Liverpool. Firmino was directly involved in just less than forty goals across all competitions last season which is a world-class return. Despite this incredible return, Tite the current manager of Brazil decided to bench Firmino for the majority of the world cup which some would argue cost Brazil massively in the end. The Brazilian is such a unique footballer, a bit of a hybrid between a False Nine and a Defensive Forward, his work rate and the sheer defensive output as well as the ability to link the midfield to the attack make's him the key man for Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool.
6) Jamaal Lascelles - Newcastle
One of England's brightest young central defenders, Lascelles had an indifferent start to life at Newcastle, struggling for game time under then manager Steve McClaren. Rafael Benítez took over from McClaren during the back end of the 15/16 season and Lascelles has been a crucial player for the Spaniard ever since. In August 2016, at the age of 22, Lascelles was appointed as the new captain of Newcastle and has been ever since. Fantastic individual performances from the Englishman through the 17/18 season helping Newcastle to a 10th place finish, Lascelles arguably should have received a call-up for England's World Cup squad in 2018 but Gareth Southgate opted for the forever injured Phil Jones instead.
7) Leroy Sané - Manchester City
Finding a traditional winger at the top level is quite rare nowadays, Sané's directness has been a real asset to Guardiola's record-breaking Man City side. With a very respectable return of 15 assists and 10 goals in the Premier League alone, Sané is undoubtedly one of the best wide players in England and could be just that for the next decade. Bizarrely, Sané was left out of Germany's World Cup Squad for Russia and many would argue the Germans massively lacked pace, which is something Sané has in abundance. The World Cup aside, Sané has looked like a genuine world beater under Guardiola and if he can continue this form into the 18/19 season, the German sensation will be on the radar of Europe's elite clubs.
8) Raheem Sterling - Manchester City
Another Man City winger, the England international was nothing short of sensational throughout the 17/18 season. With a goal return of 18 in the Premier League alone as well as 10 assists, it's easy to see why Man City are doing everything in their powers to tie Sterling down to a new long-term deal. Revolutionized under Guardiola in a wide poacher role, Sterling has silenced all the doubters who said he had no end product and in the process nailing down a starting place for England at the World Cup in Russia. Despite struggling to replicate his domestic form in Russia, Sterling was still an essential player for the Three Lions are they reached the Semi-Finals of the World Cup losing out to Croatia in Extra Time.
9) Wilfred Ndidi - Leicester
The leading man in Leicester's midfield, the energetic box-to-box midfielder was sensational for the Foxes last season, Completing over 3.7 tackles and interceptions per game over the course of the season. Seen as the N'Golo Kanté replacement after the Frenchman departed for Chelsea, Ndidi hasn't produced the numbers Kanté did in a Foxes shirt, but he's still been one of their key players over the past 18 months.
10) Dávinson Sánchez - Tottenham Hotspur
Questions were raised when Spurs spent £42m on a 21-year-old central defender from Ajax in the summer of 2017. At the time it seemed like a lot of money but since his arrival, Sánchez has been superb for Pochettino's side. For someone so young he reads the game incredibly well and even if he does make a mistake, his recovery pace is enough to keep up with and outpace the majority of players. Sánchez stepped up to the plate when key defender Toby Alderweireld was sidelined for many months last season and pretty much displaced the Belgian from the side altogether. If Sánchez can continue his form into 18/19 there's no doubting he'll have to be considered up there with the best in the division.
Honourable mentions: James Tarkowski (Burnley), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Jesse Lingard (Man Utd), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Pascal Groß (Brighton), Trent Alexander-Arnold(Liverpool).
Thanks for taking the time out to read my article, I know there's plenty of players I've missed out on but I decided to narrow it down to these ten. Do you agree or disagree? Let me know if you think I missed out on anyone!