My squad numbers system in FM

The time between seasons is always a great opportunity to refresh many things in the Football Manager saves. You can review the whole tactics or just only some small things. And one of the things I like to review is the numbers of players in the first team and I decided to write something about my squad numbers system in FM.

I know FM players are divided into groups related to many things. Some of us make everything by our own, some of us give the responsibilities to the assistant manager, Head of Youth Development or Director of Football, some of us delegate everything to the staff and do almost nothing to speed the process of their saves. It’s absolutely the same as the numbering system.

*Assign numbers 🆚 Auto assign numbers is a nice battle question for the Twitter hitz.

My squad numbers system in FM

The way how I assign numbers within my saves is very easy and it’s based on how I like the numbers in the real life for a very long time but there is probably a no single team in the world what would have it the same.

My squad numbers system in Football Manager

If you would use the same system, I would know what your player’s positions are despite I don’t know your team, players and it doesn’t matter if you are two or forty years into your save.


Same as I like to have a domestic goalkeeper, I like to have my number one keepr with the number 1 on his back of the shirt. That’s nothing too revolutionary 🙂

I’m always going from right to the left. The numbering system is affected by the formation I’m using. The list below is adapted for three formations I’m using the most: 4-3-3 with the flat midfield, 4-1-4-1 DM with MR/ML players and 4-1-4-1 DM with AMR/AML players.

  • RB – 2
  • CD – 3 & 4
  • LB – 5
  • DM or the defensive player within the flat midfield – 6
  • CM player with support duty – 10
  • CM player with attack duty – 8
  • MR/AMR – 7
  • ML/AML – 11
  • ST – 9

The system consists of one very simple thing in terms of the backup players of each specific position.


Examples

The right defenders have numbers 2, 12, 22, 32 etc. It’s about number 2. The same for CM players with the attacking duty – 8, 18, 28, 38 and so on.

The numbers reflect the role of the player within the squad. I like to have 1-11 for the players within the starting XI. Players with numbers between 12 to 21 are the first backup players. The players with numbers from 22 to 31 are the third group of players – usually the youngsters.

The only exceptions are backup goalkeepers who currently have numbers 40 and 41. If there would be backup/young players for some specific position what would require these numbers, I would move numbers for keepers higher.

My squad numbers system in Football Manager
My squad numbers system in FM

As you can see in the above picture, several players have “Previously assigned to…

It’s exactly due to the fact I mentioned at the beginning of this text. I review the squad numbers every year in line with the players’ playing time and the position within the squad.

Example: The young striker Christobal Aguirre got the number 29 before the season, previously assigned to Victor Rios. Rios had the number 29 as he signed for us in the winter so I was not able to change the numbers during the season. But as he became our number one striker, he got the number 9.

I already now know I will have to change some numbers next year. In-summer bought central defender Juan Manuel Briones got the number 23 as he is the youngest from our central defenders and he was the second backup player for Josué Infante in the right CD position.

But as the 1st part of the season developed, he is playing with Infante as our left-sided central defender so he should have number 4 or 14 as became a more regular player.


Preferred squad numbers

Several players have their own favourite number but they can have even ten favourite numbers in my team. But they won’t receive it if they are not playing in the required position.

There is no room for a sentiment like this in my head. Even if I would have some star like Messi, Ronaldo etc. and they would want their favourite number, he would have to play with what I would give them.

I know there is a possibility some players will give the favourite number as the requirement to the contract but I would try to remove it. Or I would not assign this number, I don’t care 🙂

I remember it was quite painful in the FM19 save when I joined Arsenal de Sarandí and there were 5 players with the same favourite number. But players usually get used to it in the end…


The most ideal starting XI in terms of squad numbers in my current save in line with my squad numbers system in FM.

My squad numbers system in FM

The official Football Manager Twitter account recently started a discussion about the numbers with their Tweet and I’m sure you can find some good examples in replies.

But more than this tweet, I was inspired to put this together by @FMGrasshopper who likes to replicate country’s tradition of numbering system – for example, this is from FM20 and the system within his time with Penarol in Uruguay.

And by @FMAthlete who wrote about his system back in march – Squad Numbering is an Art Form. And I’m glad I was able to finish it as I started writing this some weeks ago.

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Apertura 2026/2027

With the numbers above we started the new season with the win in the Champions Cup as we beat Pachuca 2-1. Same as we beat Orlando in the Campeones Cup. That meant two trophies just after the start of the new season.

I decided to continue with the 4-1-4-1 DM wide formation including the Half Back but I changed the role of my striker from AF to CF(S) as the main starting point for most of the matches to get this player more involved. More in the future post…

It took some time, we had some hard matches when we lost or when we played bad. There were also matches when we were lucky. But in the end, our form brought us the title.

We finished 2nd in the table, just one point behind Club América after 19 matches.

My squad numbers system in Football Manager
Past positions of Club América, Celaya and Club León in the Apertura 2026/2027

We beat Pachuca in the quarter final with two clean sheets and three goals scored. The semi final against the Club León was harder and we made it through just thanks to the away goal rule. They missed the penalty kick the 72nd minute of the 2nd leg…

Club América made it to the final thanks to a great rule “Higher league position team wins if scores are still level”.

Four 1-1 draws in a row were enough to make the final as they took the advantage of their 1st position in the table after 19 matches.

My squad numbers system in Football Manager

But it was not enough to beat us. We beat them 3-1 twice. Home and away. Victor Rios scored three goals.


FM20 save in Mexico from the beginning


Victor Rios is currently the best goalscorer with 14 goals. Both main wide players, Emiliano Ozuna nad Sebastián Osorio have 7 goals. But both were limited by small injuries.

Salvador Garcia, our main Half Back, has the highest average rating from the players who made 10 or more appearances.



As always, thanks for reading.

Don’t forget, you can join FMSlack via THIS link. My channel is #fmrensie but there are many other interesting channels to talk about FM.

A Football Manager addict and lover for many years. You can follow me on Twitter or in Football Manager Slack – #fmrensie channel.

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