I’m not sure if I’ve ever managed England on Football Manager, but I can’t remember doing so on recent versions that’s for sure. In fact I’ve rarely done international management, and it’s obviously very different to the day-in, day-out of club management.
To start with though, now that we’re back in England, here’s a brief overview of what’s happened in the country during this save.
And it’s very brief, because Manchester City have totally dominated. They’ve won the league every single season during this save and the previous two titles, taking them to an incredible nine successive Premier Leagues. Liverpool or Tottenham have shared every second-place finish, with Chelsea and Manchester United finishing third in the last two seasons.
Kicking off in the Nations League
We had to wait a while to actually get going as manager as the first game against Italy in the Nations League was 43 days after my appointment. But my main task in the first month or so had been to encourage Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling to return to the international fold, although Ben Chilwell refused my request. The squad is below:
The Nations League began pretty well in an entertaining match in Italy, despite falling behind to an excellent strike by Nicolo Barella. We bounced back on 38 minutes with Kane getting onto the end of a Jadon Sancho corner to steer home at the back post. Then Ryan Sessegnon did well down the left to tee up Sterling, who duly put us 2-1 up. Not a bad effort getting Kane and Sterling back!
However, Italy got back into it straight after half-time and not a lot else happened in the second half so we came away with a respectable 2-2 draw.
Next up though, was World Champions Spain at home and things weren’t looking good when they scored in the first minute through Fabián. But we got back level as Phil Foden, now playing for Real Madrid, scored one of the best goals I’ve ever seen on FM. He picked up the ball deep in his own half, slalomed through multiple challenges, jinked his way into the box and smashed home. It was a magnificent solo goal and that lifted the entire team.
We made a couple of changes on the hour mark and one of them, Harvey Elliott, immediately made his mark by scoring a header at the back post from a Sterling cross. And we wrapped things up late on as Foden laid on Sterling to score his second goal in two matches.
It was a solid start as England manager and we have two rounds of Nations League fixtures coming up in October and November 2026.
We’ll cover those matches in the next blog!