Hello and welcome to my FM 2013 Guide on how to develop youth players. When I first started playing FM, maintaining a save was near impossible, I’d manage 2-3 seasons but then lose interest and gain very little in the way of success. It wasn’t until I became invested in youth development that my saves were extended and success within the game came piling in. Since then I have obsessed over player development and I think it’s time to share how I go about it.
We will begin with the basics, how to set everything up to give your players the best start. After that we’ll go into more detail and delve into how you should look at individuals.
Yes this is an FM 2013 guide on how to develop youth players, but without the right coaches you stand no chance. Johnny has already written an excellent guide on how to get good coaches and then assign them roles in training.
You should start by reading that, but also remember that a ‘coach’ will only train the first team, he will not spend time with your U18′s. These guys are trained by the ‘head of youth development’ and ‘U18 coaches’, so be sure to check your under 18 training and get those star ratings up in each category. ‘Working with youth’ is a very important skill for these guys so make sure they have it. Obviously some clubs will struggle to make up the numbers in this area (due to board restrictions) but just do what you can.
All I will offer here is my advice, Johnny has outlined how best to use training in a previous FM 2013 guide.
After using Johnny’s advice about pre-season training and how best to prepare your side, I also want to add that setting your training intensity to high and keeping it balanced is best through the season. With training intensity set to average or lower I have seen a real lack of development, I even noticed some players attributes dipping at times.
It goes without saying, but you must invest in your clubs facilities if player development is going to improve. Again this is an area that may be restricted by your board and cash flow, but all I can say is its worth the investment. Upgrade your training and youth facilities as regularly as possible. Junior coaching is well worth an investment as well.
You should now have the basics in place and be looking through your youngsters. But this isn’t enough, we aren’t even half way to developing superstars yet.
You must pay close attention to each individual, so select the few players that can really develop and discard anyone who will not be a first team regular in the future. Trust me, you can’t develop everyone so focus your attention and energy on the best of the best…now keep reading.
Before you do anything, look at the youngster and decide which role you’d like him to play. Obviously you’ll need to curve their development towards your vision and doing this early is vital. Once you know what the player is heading towards you can start the first stages of his development.
But before you do, analyze the players ability and assess how much game time you can offer. Even if your player is 16 or 17 years old he still needs to be playing competitive Football. Below are some guidelines on when to send players out on loan.
- Aged between 15-17 and getting less than 12 games a season.
- Aged between 18-20 and getting less than 20 games a season.
- Older than 20 and getting less than 30 games a season.
The above isn’t a perfect guide. You can use your common sense when it comes to substitute appearances but if you break the rules above put your player on the ‘Development list’. Your Director of Football (or whoever is assigned to the duty) will find your player a suitable club.
Word of advice, always check the loan offers that come in for your player, don’t just trust your Director of Football. Make sure you manually reject any offers that show the player may be used as backup or rotation, he must play first team football.
Here we have one of the most important tools in player development. You should use individual training for a number of reasons and below are some bullet points to consider.
- If you want to play your youngster in a specific position that he isn’t natural in, then use the ‘new position’ tool. Just because a player isn’t natural in a position doesn’t mean he can’t play there though. If he’s ‘accomplished’ then you may not need to waste time in this area.
- You can train your wonderkid in a specific role, ie ‘inside forward’ or ‘winger’. Use the focus on individual role and he will not only become more familiar with it but the players attributes can be curved slightly to suit your goals…I’d recommend focus intensity of high for this, unless your player complains about workload of course.
- I focus most on ‘specific attributes’. If I have a slow striker with all the makings of a poacher I’ll focus on his quickness, then maybe switch to any other weak areas and keep changing it up every couple of months. High intensity works best here.
In a nutshell you should use individual training to mold your wonderkid and change the type of player he will become.
Tutoring and preferred moves
There are some attributes and traits that can’t be curved through general training and most individual training. Determination is one of them, your player may naturally develop that on his own, but if you desperately want him to develop in said area then use tutoring. You can ask a senior player in a similar role to tutor your youngster, obviously selecting someone with excellent ability in the area you want improving. Though I rarely use this to be honest.
Another way of changing your players style is through ‘New preferred move’ found within individual training. Again I rarely use this, but its handy when you have a player that argues with officials or dives into tackles, traits that can get him into trouble.
First team Football
The most important part of any players development is game time, this is the best way to improve mental attributes and stats in general. I have already mentioned the minimum amount of games a youngster should play, but he must also be involved in the right type of games. Don’t just fling a 16 year old into the Manchester derby from the start, chances are he’ll have a poor game which may hinder his development.
Start slowly, easing your kids into cup matches, easy league games and simple matches in Europe. The better they play the better they’ll develop.
OK I think we’ve covered almost everything, so now its time for me to share some examples. Below are regens I have bought with Newcastle and their development season on season.
Marin (MC/AMC) – Bought aged 16 from Barcelona for £16 million
Second season: Here we have a player with the potential to be a star. My plan was to adapt Marin into a maestro from the centre of midfield. Due to his high CA and great all round ability I just worked on passing and technique through individual training. I also tried to make him more familiar with the MC position and advanced playmaker role.
Third season: While passing and technique remained the same, training Marin in his role helped develop a lot of mental attributes. While game time against easier opponents seemed to aid some physical attributes.
Fourth season: Unfortunately this season was hampered by a hamstring injury, but Marin did still progress. Individual training improved both his passing and technique while further carefully selected game time helped develop the mental attributes further.
Godoy (DC) – Bought aged 16 from Independiente for £8.25 million
First season: A solid centre back with many areas to improve. I instantly spotted quickness, strength, composure and positioning as the key areas to improve through individual training.
Third season: Godoy played in almost every Champions League match over the first two seasons and also featured in the domestic cups. I wanted him to gain experience without conceding too many goals and this seemed to do his mental attributes the world of good. I switched individual training focus between the previously mentioned areas and all those attributes went through the roof.
I have many more examples but these two show what can be achieved through care and close attention. Yes you need to switch individual training focus on a consistent basis but you also need to pick the right matches for your kids to play in, I think the screenshots above show that.
That is all for this guide, I hope it helps but please feel free to ask any questions below. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.