Developing young players is one of the premier experiences in the Football Manager series. But it’s not as simple as signing them and throwing them into games — it’ll take some work and, most importantly, patience. Here’s how to develop young players in Football Manager 24.
How to Develop Young Players in Football Manager 24
Developing young players is one of the hardest things to do in the Football Manager series and has long been subject to tons of debate within the game’s community. In short, there are multiple ways to develop young players into future superstars. However, according to YouTuber Evidence Based FM (which was also supported by evidence found by FM Content Creator Zealand), we now know several different ways to ensure young players develop into the best versions of themselves.
When Do Young Players Develop the Most?
To properly develop a player, establishing a timeframe in which that player is the most malleable is paramount. According to the data, young players do the bulk of their development between the ages of 15 and 20. This doesn’t mean that the window of a player’s development ends there. In fact, evidence shows that a player can continuously develop well into their mid-20s. However, this development is nothing in comparison to the development these players have in their late teens.
As with any youth intake your team gets, players will typically be 15 upon joining. Once you’ve assessed their current ability and potential and have signed them to a youth contract, the first step is to immediately get them on a training regimen. This will benefit their development in whatever position you see them playing.
What is the Secret to Developing Young Players?
Throughout the history of Football Manager, conventional wisdom has said that for young players to develop best, they must be kept within the youth team until they’re either 18 or are good enough to start making appearances with the senior team. However, while this isn’t entirely wrong, it’s not the best course of action.
If you’ve identified a player in your youth setup that has massive potential, the best thing to do is immediately call them up to the first team. Even if they aren’t good enough to get game time initially, data suggests that just training with the first team has a more dramatic effect on development than leaving a player in a youth team to play games there.
How Many Matches Should You Play Young Players?
Once a player is ready to start making appearances, it’s recommended that you play them anywhere from 21 matches in a season to 30 matches in a season. Anything more or less will not have as profound effect. It’s also important to note what qualifies as a match. To have a beneficial effect, players must be subbed in before the 65th minute. If a player is subbed in after the 70th minute, it has a worse effect than not playing at all.
You’ll also need to set up a young player for success. The following requirements are paramount to a player’s development:
- High-level coaches
- High-level facilities
- High league reputation
Of course, this is an abbreviated interpretation of the data that’s been found. And not everything will be a matter of finding high-potential youngsters and throwing tons of training and matches at them. Oftentimes, players with high potential never reach that potential for a variety of reasons, be it a misdiagnosis of high potential, injuries, or a bad personality type. There are certain ways to remedy this, like reducing the workload for a fatigued player or putting them into a mentoring group with a good personality veteran. But there are no guarantees in football, or in Football Manager.
That covers how to develop young players in Football Manager 24. For more Football Manager tips and tricks, be sure to check out the dedicated hub!