In this guide we will be talking about areas that influence youth development in Football Manager, especially the external factors: facilities, training & coaching. These are all areas you as a manager are able to influence.
This guide could give you some insights about what is affecting youth development at your club. Please keep in mind that there is no right or wrong in development, this guide is only giving advice.
The quality of your club facilities is important for the development of your players. It’s recommended to invest in your facilities as much as you can. You can request an investment by doing a board request. The maximum level of your facilities determines on the club and nation you manage in. The costs of an investment will also differ per league, club and nation.
The training facilities are used by the players who are on a senior contract. The better the level of your facilities, the better your players will improve.
A state of the art training facility makes your players develop a lot faster than when you have an average training facility.
The youth facilities do the same thing as your training facilities, but only for players on a youth contract. And these facilities are even more important for the development of your youth as these are used at the earliest moment your youngsters start training at the club.
Better facilities will add more points to the player attributes increase. Whilst a player at a club with poor facilities may spend over a year to increase his player attributes by a single point point, a player with state-of-the-art facilities may improve it within a 1-2 month period.
The junior coaches at your club not only focus on the U18 or U19 at your club, but they also train the virtual players who are younger This means that better youth coaches will increase the level of your annual youth intake.
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Improving your Youth Intake
Youth Recruitment affects the potential ability of players that are recruited for your yearly youth intake. The better the recruitment, the larger the area is your scouts will cover. On the highest level it will be more common to have good youth players coming through the yearly youth intake.
This Youth Level is for clubs based in England only, since they started the ‘Elite Player Performance Plan’. This determines on which level your youth teams compete. The higher this level is, the better the match experience will be for the players in those teams. (Levels (best to worse): 1, 2, 3, 4, 0).
Training has a very big influence in player development.
Team training is the overall training that players in your team will go through every week. You will be able to pick the focus and change this on a weekly basis or decide to pick a general focus.
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How to setup team training
A more powerful tool is the individual training area. Here you can focus on individual player roles or even individual attributes. With individual training you can also alter a players main position and his player traits. By using this area correctly, you will be able to create a player that is ideal for your tactical ideas.
Obviously the ability of your staff will have an enormous influence on youth development. The better your coaches are, the better training they will get. You can see the level of the training areas in the coaches tab and these are shown as stars (0 is worst, 5 is best).
However, don’t focus too much on those starts as they only show the overall workload, not the overall quality. A world class coach can drop some stars simply by having too many players to train.
It’s possible to tutor your youngsters in Football Manager by using your older and more experienced players. The experienced player will take care of the youngster and make him feel more at home in your first team, he will push him in his training sessions and will help him to develop more. It’s important that the more experienced player has good mental attributes and a positive personality, preferably matching the one of the youth player.
When the youngster is pleased with the tutoring, he can pick up the Player Traits from the more experienced player. So you should look at the traits of the tutor and make sure he won’t mess up the way the youngster reacts in different situations. Tutoring could be very beneficial for your team cohesion when used correctly. As a result, players could start to see each other as favored personal.
Match experience could be the part of player development that is underrated the most. First team match experience will truly aid in the development of a player.
Points and CA/PA
Players will get ‘points’ for their current ability in matches. They distribute these points over their attributes in training. For example, Jan Jansen is a striker with a PA of 160 and a CA of 80. He played three good matches in a row and got 5 points for his CA in those matches, his CA is now 85. His individual training is focused on the player role ‘Poacher’. The 5 points that he ‘won’ in the last three matches are now being divided over the attributes that are important for a Poacher by this training.
Squad rotation system
Learn to rotate your squad more if you want to develop youngsters because players will develop better if they play in the senior squad. The more minutes he makes, the better his development will be. I know this could be difficult when you are top tier elite team, but take the risk.
Just keep in mind that you don’t overload them. When a player is making a lot of minutes, you should turn the intensity of his training down a little.
Sending players on loan
We can all agree that while you want to develop players, it is very difficult to hand all of your players enough game time during a season. Face it: we all hate to lose and preferably play our best players. So sending a player out on loan could help, right?
Well think again. Sending players out on loan to teams on lower league levels might increase match experience points, but with lower quality coaches and facilities available to the players. It will be a lot harder for the player develop his potential. Before you send out a player on loan, have a look at the club’s facilities and coaching quality. These should be a real deal breaker if development is the main goal of sending a player out on loan.