I think you'll all agree with me when I say:
But it doesn't have to be that way.
It turns out you can dramatically increase the ability of any young player by using 3 simple steps.
And it works.
This technique will speed up the development of any young player, whether you are managing Manchester United or Wrexham United.
And in today's article, I'll show you the exact 3-step process I use for every young player - and how you can use it too.
But First, a Quick Story…
A few years ago, I was always struggling with turning my wonderkids into world beaters.
I googled “FM Wonderkids” and bought the most promising players.
(Gabriel Barbosa I am looking in your direction…)
But compared to the screenshots I saw on the web he never had the same amazing stats for me.
I tried to optimize my tactic to his strength, I kept tingling with his training regime. But a (game) year later, he was still the same player and I continued to spend countless hours on him.
But then I finally discovered a method that works every time.
SET UP PLAYER TRAINING
Naturally, when you are developing a player, you are training a player.
But there are so many ways to train a player and how do you determine how to train him?
There is an easy answer to this I will show through the first of our two players, Marcus Rashford.
But I’ll start by looking at my tactic.
As you can see, there are three places he can play. He can either be the sole striker (deep lying forward) or one of the two inside forwards.
While I could train him for both positions, my goal is to make him the best player possible in one position.
So I go to his profile and under roles and abilities, I’ll look at the most important stats for each position.
From this, it is clear that he has the potential to excel in both roles. His physical stats are excellent for both roles, his technical stats are ok and some of his mental stats are somewhat behind.
For the poacher roles his concentration rate of 11 is dragging him down and for the inside forward, his vision of 9 are the lowest points.
I could thus train Marcus Rashford as both, however, in this save I’ll look to develop him as an Inside Forward.
Thus, that is what I will train him as.
To do so, go to the development tab under his profile and click training. In the screenshot below his training has been set up.
As shown in (1) this should be set to inside forward.
The attentive reader will note, that to the right of (1) it says “Must improve dribbling”. This is advice from my training staff.
And while you can always use a better dribbler, he already has 12 in this and I don’t feel the need to prioritize dribbling at this moment.
Where it says new player trait you can also teach him new moves…
… however, for young players, there is a smarter way to do this.
Here's how to set up individual player training for your Wonderkids #fm17
TUTORING BRINGS HUGE MENTAL BENEFITS
Tutoring, like training is extremely important for young player development in Football Manager.
The use of a tutor will help shape the young player and the tutor helps in four ways
- Better player personality: The personality of the tutor will rub off on the young player. The tutor thus helps the professionalism and ambition traits of the young player, which will make him develop faster.
- Cost-free learning of preferred moves: The close relationship will make the young player learn preferred moves from the tutor. The only other way these can be learned is to train them, which takes away focus from developing the attributes of the players. If you have a young player who you want to have a particular trait, it is much better to try to get this from a tutor. If it fails, you can of course always train it.
- Improved squad relations: If the tutor is successful, the relationship between the two players will become better.
- Even more improved squad relations: One of the key aspects of squad morale is players with similar, positive personalities. Moulding young players to have the same personality as the older player will thus increase harmony in the squad.
Further, it will lead to a higher determination (which you otherwise cannot train!) attribute making the player perform better in matches.
In the screenshot above, Callum Gribbin's determination rating went from 5 in September to 10 in October, 14 in November and 15 in December, which is simply an extreme development over 3 months - and it's all due to tutoring.
This of course, is dependent on you selecting a good tutor, which we will get to.
(In the meantime here is a hint: Do not choose Nicklas Bendtner)
In other words, there are so many positives to tutoring. It only helps the young player, and the older player does not lose anything from tutoring.
The only thing that can go wrong is that the relationship can break down…
… but following this guide it becomes very unlikely
Selecting the perfect tutor
To see who you can select as tutors for Marcus Rashford go to the development tab and select tutoring.
As can be seen, the three best options are Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitarayan and Juan Mata.
This section holds key info on the personalities of the players. All three players have positive personalities, however, Mkhitarayan’s personality is a little better than the other two.
The key thing to look at as determination and player traits.
Zlatan has 14 in determination and has three player traits. Two of these are positive (shoots with power and hits free kicks with power) and argues with officials is negative (results in more cards).
Mkhitarayan has a somewhat low determination of 12, but he only has positive traits. Especially “plays one-twos” and “cuts inside from both wings” are traits that are naturally suited to an inside forward.
Juan Mata has a good determination at 15. Further, he only has positive player traits. In particular, gets into opposition area is good for an inside forward and when Rashford is deployed on the rights, “cuts inside from right wing” is a natural fit.
However, “comes deep to get ball” and “tries killer ball often” are not good for Rashford. Comes deep to get ball is not suited to an inside forward, and due to Rashford’s low vision, tries killer balls often is not advantageous.
We can now make the following conclusions:
Toss up between Juan Mata and Mkhitarayan
Both would work well as tutors.
Do not select Zlatan
He is dominated by Juan Mata on determination and he has negative player traits.
The reason for selecting Mkhitarayan is the following: He could shape Rashford into a player with the professionalism personality and he could develop good player traits from him.
The reason for selecting Juan Mata is to increase determination and secondarily, to hope Marcus Rashford leans the right player traits.
What I will do is select Mkhitarayan as the tutor.
This keeps the option open of selecting Juan Mata as the tutor, once Rashford has stopped learning from Mkhitarayan. This would not necessarily be the case the other way around.
This is in fact, exactly what I did.
You thus press “Ask Mkhitaryan to tutor Rashford”.
What kind of tutoring to choose?
Now, two options are presented to you – and these two options are an eternal source of confusion. The two options are:
Option 1: “As a senior member of the squad, I’d like you to tutor Marcus Rashford as I feel you can help improve his game.”
Option 2: “As a senior member of the squad, I think it would be beneficial if you were to take Marcus Rashford under young wing and mentor him off the pitch”.
The difference between the two is that Option 1 allows the tutor’s preferred moves to be learned by the tutee, while this is not the case for Option 2.
As the preferred moves of Mkhitaryan was the main case for choosing him, we naturally select option 1.
Click through the screens by just selecting the first option and you are done when you get the screenshot above!
Bonus tip: A captain will often make a good tutor.
Here's exactly how to chose a tutor for your Wonderkid #fm17
PLAYING TIME IS THE ICING ON THE CAKE
The third and final step in developing your youth is to give them some match-time.
For players like Marcus Rashford this will be easy to do. He already has a high level for a player of the Premier League and as such you are not “sacrificing much” by playing him.
I would look to play him at least every third game as a substitute in the league and give him extensive playing time in all cup tournaments to maximize his development.
But how much does playing time really matter for young player development?
In my opinion, game time matters less than training and tutoring. Yet I also believe it is vital in developing in your young players… but how can both be true?
The reason is, that I see training and tutoring as integral to getting your players to the level needed for playing time.
And once they have that level, they will start becoming part of your team naturally which will develop them further.
A note on loans
I rarely use them.
The main reasons are:
- The team I loan a player to will likely have worse facilities and staff
- I cannot tutor a player
- I do not have control of training myself
Really, it’s that simple. There are of course special cases but as a rule of thumb, loaning out players is not a part of my player development process.
There are many other factors influencing youth development, most notably your backroom staff and your training facilities.
However, you cannot always easily change your backroom staff and it can be hard to get the board to improve your training facilities.
And the checklist used in this guide can be used for any team in FM and will improve the development of any player in the game.
Great guide on how to train your Wonderkids in #fm17
Now you try it
I hope you can see the potential of using this young player development guide for your own team and FM career.
Yes, it takes a little extra work setting up training and selecting tutors.
But with this strategy you are set for glory, trophies and more glory.
I hope you’ve liked the guide and I’ll be around to reply to comments and answer questions.
So if you have a question or thought, leave a comment right now.