These changes have already introduced to the game in the UK during 2003, but apply to games in Australia from the beginning of 2004.
NEW PLAYER SKILLS
Three new player skills are HEADS, DEAD BALL and LONG PASSING, shown in team and player lists as H, D and P. The HEADS skill counts for and against the Route One, Early Ball, Wings and Dead Ball strategies (strikers and central defenders only, for now). The DEAD BALL skill counts only on the Dead Ball strategy, and only for the attacking team. LONG PASSING applies specifically to the FRONT RUNNERS strategy and counts extra if you've got forwards with pace.
I haven't allocated the new skills to existing players, and they can't be coached, but they should start appearing on the free agent list (I may add some temporary coaching actions to allow the new skills to be be applied to existing players).
In a little while I hope to expand the things the dead ball skill can be used for.
LEFT & RIGHT SIDES
The left and right sided skills now count AGAINST you when they're wrong (eg. a right sided skill and no left sided skill, on the left wing) but strikers, sweepers, playmakers (and wingers, to a lesser extent) count extra for having skills on both sides.
In the end-of-season update, all players now lose one point of potential (if they have any) but players with potential gain playing levels and fitness according to their "form" plus potential. The first playing level applies for a total of six or more, and the second kicks in for ten or more. The gain in fitness is one for three, two for six, three for nine, four for twelve tc. The loss of fitness according to age is unchanged.
The playing levels gained are in whatever is "in position" for his class: if two different levels are "in position" then the first and second gain can be different. "Form" is his average rating in all the games he plays during the season (it's shown in the squad listing part of your team report).
SPREAD OF SKILLS
High levels on one skill can now translate to increases in the other levels in the end-of-season update if they're lower (this applies to defence, midfield and attack levels only). This is because we tend to get very "samey" players through coaching with very few interesting strengths "out of position" and it seem reasonable that many players who have gained a lot of skills in one area will gradually translate them to other areas (young players are often one-trick ponies, but experienced players learn a more balanced game).
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