FIFA 18 Career Mode screengrab of a manager.
© EA Sports

Our 9 essential tips for FIFA 18 career mode

Which team to start as, which young stars to buy: we've got the tips to get you started, and show you how to grow both your club and your own abilities as a manager.
Written by Adam Cook
8 min readPublished on
It’s hard to decide which mode to start with in FIFA 18: it’s just that big. While Ultimate Team is tempting and Alex Hunter’s return in the second instalment of The Journey might be drawing you in, Career Mode is the bread and butter of any self respecting FIFA player. Spanning years as your very own Mr or Mrs Manager, running the team of your dreams, or maybe even climbing up the ranks from a lowly team to the boss of your national team, one way or another, it’s an addictive, time-consuming, rewarding way to play the game.
But knowing where to start, who to scout, buy, or even who to pick as your first team can be a tricky one, even more so now a whole host of new players are joining the party via Nintendo Switch, which is why we’re here to help with some handy hints and tips.

1. Pick a team with a good base and money to spend

FIFA 18 Career Mode: who to start as.

Liverpool are a decent starting team

© EA Sports

You may want to pick the team you support and work your way up, and that’s just fine. But one way to get the most out of FIFA 18’s Career Mode (at least for your first few seasons) is to pick an established team, with a good core squad, that has money to burn. Barcelona and Real Madrid are obvious choices, as they have phenomenal squads already with the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Ousmane Dembélé, cover star Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema to name but a few. But did you consider Liverpool? With a forward line made up of Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge, that gives you skill and pace to burn. They also have a few dollars in the bank, meaning you can still get involved in the transfer market and fix that awful defence.
Of course, Paris Saint-Germain are a fantastic choice, too. Not only do they have Julian Draxler, Ángel Di María, Kylian Mbappé, and Neymar, but they have a stupid amount of money to play with. Have a good hard think about your starting team and consider whether starting as your local second division team is going to be fun, or if you’d rather get in on the fantasy football action by picking a club that’s nearly there, that you can mould into the best team ever assembled.

2. Invest in the future, grab these up-and-comers

FIFA 18 Career Mode: the wonderkids.

Youri Tielemans is a very hot prospect

© EA Sports

Sure, if you can, buy Ronaldo. Why wouldn’t you? But he’s not getting any younger, so you’ll want to consider at least scouting, if not buying, some up-and-coming superstars. Remember, you’ve got a squad, so use it. Even if you end up sending some of them out on loan to get experience, they’re still contracted to your team and improving on your watch.
Youri Tielemans is one such player you absolutely need to get. At only 20, he’s already 80 rated, with five-star weak-foot skills. Bundesliga and RB Leipzig goal machine Timo Werner is also a cracker, if you can get him, with his 82 overall rating at only 21 years old. Slightly harder to coax to your club might be Jan Oblak from Atlético Madrid, who is an 88-rated keeper at 24 years old. An alternative is the lower rated (82) but younger (18) Gianluigi Donnarumma from Milan.
Don’t try and lowball the clubs for these players and, instead of delegating to your assistant, attend the negotiations yourself, pay attention to what people want, and make sure you can deliver to land your future star.

3. Get scouting as soon as possible

FIFA 18 Career Mode scouting

Get involved with your club

© EA Sports

While the above players are some of the better-known youngsters, it’s well worth getting your scouts out there and trying to fill the gaps in your squad. Study your squad, look at the age and quality, and get your scouts out there finding players that not only future-proof your team, but also uncover some players you may not have heard of. You can specify age, contract, attributes and position, so you can drill down into specifics that net you the missing link in your otherwise flawless squad.
On top of all that, scouts can really give you a proper idea of how much you should be paying and how important a player might end up being to your club. Think carefully about where you send your scouts (we recommend Italy, France, Brazil, and Argentina) to get the best results from your employees' time away scouting.

4. Be proactive, don’t stick to any one game play

FIFA 18 Career Mode team sheets

Set your team up properly with team sheets

© EA Sports

Tucked away in the Squad tab of Career mode is Team Sheets, which lets you set up multiple formations that you can select pre-match. It sounds simple, and having your 4-3-3 holding formation is great, but might not be how you want to play against an inferior cup team two leagues lower than you.
Gone are the days of having to change your entire starting 11 before a match because you’re playing a team you know you’ll thrash. You can set up multiple team sheets to reflect your managerial style: be it an all-out attacking team designed to destroy the lower leagues, or a defensive 4-5-1 to hold out for a draw away to Barcelona. Be prepared, destroy, dominate. That’s the FIFA way!

5. Have a varied squad, but have stamina

FIFA 18 Career Mode best stamina players.

Ronaldo has a huge stamina pool

© EA Sports

It might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s not always ideal to have a team full of superstars. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may seem like a must-buy with his 96 pace, but how’s his stamina? Speaking of which, stamina is an important facet of both real-world football and FIFA 18. Nowadays teams have to play an incredible amount of matches and that means you need players who can cope with fixture congestion.
The players with high stamina are often the ones you’d expect, with Ronaldo high up on the list with 92 stamina. You might not be able to sign him, no matter who you’re playing as, but if you’re managing Real Madrid, or another high-profile team, perhaps you can grab N’Golo Kanté with his 94 stamina. Make sure you have players for all situations and that you aren’t going to end up with a team full of knackered players because you’re into the final stages of all competitions.

6. Listen to your players and keep them happy

Isn’t it annoying when you get an email from Billy Noname asking to play in the upcoming league match? He’s 17 and 62 rated, and you really don’t want to drop Robert Lewandowski for him. But what if he has the potential to end up ridiculously highly rated? Experimenting with your squad is good anyway and keeping a potential future Messi happy by just giving him one game might not be a bad idea, just in case.
Make sure you keep an eye on the contract situation for your best players, too. You don’t need a striker that’s banging a goal or two every game running their contract down. If they're nearing the end, get them signed on or sell them, but don’t get caught in two minds. If it looks like they aren’t going to sign a new deal, don’t waste time, get rid and use the money on a new superstar.

7. Train your players – manually

FIFA 18 Career Mode training drills

Sort your drills, get some skills

© EA Sports

Elsewhere, spend some time actually playing the training mode with your players. It’s tempting to just set these up and let them happen, but getting stuck in and controlling the players means you can shape them and improve them yourself.
That said, some of the drills aren’t very exciting. With the Bronze and Silver ones, you can automate the sessions, but we recommend spending time with the Gold ones ensuring the best session is had and thus the biggest improvements are made. Score with a weak foot often, for example, and try to add that to the player’s arsenal.

8. Study your opposition

FIFA 18 Career Mode studying the opposition

Keep an eye on that opposition striker!

© EA Sports

Over in the Season tab, you can check out Team Stats. Hidden away in here, you can study the teams you’ll be facing in all competitions. From the number of appearances in the competition, to their goals/assists, yellow and red cards, even down to their average rating so far. As you get further into competitions and play on harder difficulties, you’ll need to know what your opposition is like, so you can plan and react accordingly.
Sure, Messi and Ronaldo are obviously going to be doing well, but against Sevilla, perhaps Luis Muriel is a threat. Once you’ve spotted he’s scoring, dive into his Player Bio and you can find out he’s got great agility and acceleration, so maybe play a quicker centre-back against him. Plan your matches.

9. Insure yourself against your players getting too good

Otherwise known as: use sell-off clauses. There are plenty of reasons that sell-on clauses are vital, and they rear their head in multiple situations. For starters, if you’re playing as a club outside the very top teams, you might be able to snag a youngster, train him up to his highest potential and then lose him to PSG. But a sell-on clause means that, sure, you’ll still lose him, but you’ll get a nice payout to soften the blow. It’s not going to work out every time, and some agents and players will be resistant, but it’s worth trying, to save yourself future financial woes. There’s really nothing worse than losing your best players, but at least this way you can afford to, hopefully, buy the next big player, before, yeah, it happens again.
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