Focusing on developing youth is one of key areas of Football Manager that players love to do. We can all agree that developing that youngster through your own youth system all the way to a World Class Player is one of the most satisfying accomplishments in the game. Luck is one of the big factors to get super newgens in your youth intake, but your Head of Youth Development is essential.
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, which abilities he needs and why is has such an essential role in finding the best youth players.
Key attributes for a Head of Youth development
According to Football Manager a Head of Youth development has three key attributes for his role. These are:
- Judging player ability – He will need to be able to see how good a youth player actually is.
- Judging player potential – He will need to be able to see how good a youth player can be
- Working with youngsters – Well, seems logic right…
Easy enough so far right..? But signing a new Head of Youth development and not do anything with him is not the right way to go. In Football Manager you are able to alter ‘responsibilities’. These could make you work a lot easier and you should really learn to use these wisely.
Obviously, you can give some responsibilities to your Head of Youth development and in this section we will talk you through the various
Youth development & recruitment
His key job is bringing in new players into the club and it would be nice if he brings in quality players that you can use in your first team one day. During the season he will be giving you feedback of the development of your youth players and he will be giving you advice on personal training area’s.
The Head of Youth development will need the following if you want him to bring in the best youth players.
Read more on:
Youth development in Football Manager
The better his and your club’s scouting knowledge is, the bigger the pool is from which he is able to sign youth players. It is also advised to look for a Head of Youth development with knowledge from countries with a high reputation (like Argentina and Brazil). Scouting knowledge is essential if you want to set up a good scouting network around the globe.
A Head of Youth development tends to find youth players with a personality that matches his own. So, make sure to look for a HoYd with a positive personality. Examples are:
- Model Professional
Learn more about:
Personalities in Football Manager.
Another area that is vital for a HoYd to have is his tactical preference. Or at least it is key if you want to develop players through your academy and to use them in your first team.
Why? Because a HoYd will look for players that will fit into his own tactical preference. For example; if you sign one that loves to play a 3-5-2 with wing-backs, you can bet your bottom you will be handed wing-backs on youth intake day. And that is kind of a waste if you don’t use those. Sure, you can re-train those players. But, you want to focus on player development, not losing time on learning a new position.
It is also important for the HoYd to have a similar Passing style and playing mentality as yourself. The players that he will bring in on youth intake day will be easier to fit in your tactics and formation.
Did you know that the Head of Youth Development is actually one of your youth coaches? When signed, he will be available as a coach 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.
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).
The coaching will work the same way as the coaching of your first team. So next to the working with youth attribute, look for the standard attributes needed to create 5 star training (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).
Transfers & contracts
The third area a Head of Youth Development could help you out is in the transfer and contract department regarding the youth squad.
The 5 available responsibilities for this area are:
- Finds and make offers for young players for the future
- Handles new signing contract negotiations for players in your youth team
- Finalises 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 1, 2 & 5 are very dangerous. Trusting the AI has proven to be the poor choice in many saves. But the other three could become quite handy and will put less pressure on your task as a manager.
If you want to give your HoYd any of the above responsibilities he will need:
Judging player ability & potential
If you want him to find the best youngsters he will need these attributes. But also if you want him to extend youth contracts, he needs to be able to judge a player’s ability and potential.
This is very important when it comes to contract negotiations.
Determination & motivation
Although never confirmed, we believe that determination and motivation could help in this area. Determination to keep on looking for that new player, motivation to talk players into signing a deal. Also, if you instruct your HoYd to find a new club for a youth player he will need the determination and motivation to find a club.
A HoYd could be using his reputation to convince players to sign for your club instead of joining another. In an ideal situation he will have a Continental or World Wide reputation.
Important if you want your HoYd to sign new youngsters. It is important because it would be a shame if he signs 4 expensive AMC’s on long term contracts, while you don’t use them in your first team…
A responsibility for a Head of Youth Development that could be very handy is the Development List. This is a list of players who are automatically made available for loan. So add the player you want to send out on a loan on this list and your HoYd 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 with information about players on a youth contract who have been made eligible for signing a professional contract. That way you can make sure your best youngsters are kept at the club.