Having a good youth set-up is one of the aspects of staying at the top if you like to play a long term save on Football Manager. And off course signing big names could be very satisfying during your saves, but we all agree that developing a player through your own youth system all the way to a World Class Player beats that feeling every single time. So in every long term save you play you should invest in your youth system.
Putting money in the training facilities and youth coaching are obviously very important, but signing the correct Head of Youth development is even more crucial. This guy is the one that will try to find the best regens possible. His qualities and the levels of your scouting/facilities and reputation will determine the overall quality of the regens/newgens at your yearly youth intake day.
In this Guide we will have a closer look at the Backroom staff role Head of Youth Development. We will try to explain more about his role at the club and which abilities he needs to bring the best youth players possibles to your club.
There are some attributes that every Head of Youth Development should have at least 15+ on. Our advice: don't even bother signing one that has lower values than that (depending on the level of your club off course; for LLM there are different standards). We will discuss these vital attributes:
Judging player potential
Clearly the most important attribute of them all. Your Head of Youth development will need to be able to judge the potential a youth player has. If your backroom staff can recognize players with a high potential, the better chances you have to sign high quality players through your youth system.
Working with youngsters
And second; he will need to be able to work with youngsters. Because if he hates youngsters, you will never get the best out of them.
In the second part of this guide we will take a closer look at the various staff responsibilities at your club and which ones could be given to your Head of Youth Development.
Responsibilities on Youth Development and Recruitment
One of his key jobs is bringing in new youth players into the club. He will give you feedback during the season about their progress and development. And he will advice you on certain parts of their development, for example give advice about special training etc. When you sign a Head of Youth Development and want him to bring in new youth players, he will need the following abilities and/or attributes:
The better his scouting knowledge, the bigger his reach is. Look for a Head of Youth Development with scouting knowledge from nations with a high reputation. The scouting knowledge of the rest of your backroom staff is also very important for the youth recruitment, so make sure to sign coaches and scouts with lost of knowledge.
Signing a Head of Youth development with a positive or professional personality will influence the personalities of the new youth players that he will bring into the club. He will tend to sign players who have similar personalities like himself. So what ever you do, do not sign a Head of Youth Development with a personality like Mario Balotelli. Look for Backroom staff with Model Professional, Professional, Resolute, Determined or fairly Determined personalities.
An area that is easily forgotten but one that is very important when signing a Head of Youth Development is Tactical Preference. If you like to play in a formation that uses Wingbacks, it would be very nice to see some talented wingbacks come through your youth system. But when your Head of Youth Development has a tactical preference for a formation without wingbacks, chances are he will not bring in any wingbacks at all. This also goes for his Passing Style and Playing mentality. Make sure to sign someone whose style is the same as yours.
Responsibilities in training
Did you know that the Head of Youth Development is actually one of your youth coaches as well? When signed, he will be available as a coach for your Youth Team to reduce the workload of the other youth coaches. So if your board limits the amount of youth coaches, remember that a Head of Youth Development can also be set on one or more coaching areas.
If you do so, make sure the Head of Youth Development has a high value for Tactical Knowledge (ideally 15+). For the youngsters at your club it is very important to be coached on the tactical side of the game.
When assigning responsibilities for your Youth Squad, the Head of Youth Development and Youth Manager (U18 or U19) can share some of their responsibilities. So have a good look at the profiles of these two and compare them.
There are three responsibilities for this area:
- Runs general team training for youth squads
- Sets up individual training for youth players
- Runs match training for youth squads
Compare your Youth Manager and Head of Youth Development and then decide which one takes which responsibility. You can compare them on the following attributes and/or abilities:
Working with Youth
A must-have for every Youth Coach or Head of Youth Development.(important for 1,2,3)
They will require the standard coaching attributes as your first team coaching staff. So look for high levels of discipline, motivation and determination apart from their needed coaching skills. (important for 1,2,3)
Not only important for the annual youth intake, but also important for setting Match training / Individual training or Match preparations. (important for 2,3)
Responsibilities on Transfers and Contracts
The third area a Head of Youth Development could work in is the transfer and contract department regarding your youth squads. The responsibilities you can give are:
- Finds and make offers for young players for the future
- Handles new signing contract negotiations for players in your youth team
- Finalizes signings for young players
- Finds a new club for Youth players who have been listed for loan/transfer
- Extends youth contracts
We can all agree that this area is a very dangerous one. Will you trust the AI to make the correct choices for you? It is known that the AI could sign some weird players for a fee that is too high. So be very careful when assigning these responsibilities to your Head of Youth Development (of Director of Football).
But if you like a challenge, your Head of Youth Development will need the following attributes and/or abilities:
Judging Player Ability and Potential
In order to find the best youngsters these two attributes are very important. Also Scouting Knowledge is an important aspect of bringing in the best young players.
This is very important when it comes to renewing contracts and contract negotiations.
Determination & Motivation
Although never confirmed, we believe that determination and motivation could help with securing new players. A Head of Youth Development needs to be able to motivate a wonderkid to sign for your club and not your biggest rival.
The higher his reputation, the easier it will be for him to convince talented players to pick your club when signing. A wonderkid will never sign when dealing with an unknown Head of Youth Development. So look for Continental or World-Wide reputation (if possible).
Preferred formation and Playing Style
Important if you want your Head of Youth Development to look for and sign new young players. Because it would be a shame if he would sign 4 expensive AMC's on long term contracts, while you don't play in a formation that uses an AMC.
A responsibility for a Head of Youth Development which is very handy is the Development List. This is a list of players who are automatically made available for a Loan transfer. So add the player you want to send out on a loan on this list and your Head of Youth Development will try to find a club for him.
Eligible for Contract
And finally; the Head of Youth Development (or anyone responsible for this area) will provide you information about young players who have been made eligible for signing a professional contract. That way you can make sure your best youngsters are kept at the club.