SFraser Posted April 15, 2011 Share Posted April 15, 2011 Introduction I have written some threads on this before but they tended to be very user unfriendly, and I am also really enjoying the strides FM has taken recently towards being more "naturally football-like" rather than a good but very abstract simulation of football. In that vein I want to produce a guide to developing youngsters that does two things: A: Actually works and people can follow for success. B: Discusses player development in a wholly "football-like" way. Player development is one of the toughest parts of the game and for very good reasons. It requires a lot more attention invested into the day-to-day going-ons at your club, it is very long term with very few quick results and quick feedback, and it requires a great deal of risk taking and faith in players. While most of us will have developed the odd gem every so often, few of us will have managed to replicate the feats of Wenger and Ferguson when it comes to consistently developing First Team players as well as a whole raft of other players that can be found playing in teams slightly below the top 3-4 teams in European Leagues. I think the reasons for this are obvious. First of all player development is not easy in and of itself. It's not necessarily difficult but it's not a plug and play element of the game. You get back what you put in. Secondly FM itself ingame rewards football thinking while almost all player development debate and discussion revolves around min-maxing and mechanic busting and long complex discussion about abstract concepts. No one has yet written a footballers guide to player development in FM that is good enough to actually help people. I will break this guide down into the following sections for ease of use and ease of referrence, and to stop myself wandering a bit towards the end like I tend to do: Section 1: Why Develop Players? Section 2: What Can You Expect? Section 3: What Do You Need? Section 4: Preparing Players. Section 5: Developing Players. Section 6: Conclusion/Final Thoughts. Section 1: Why Develop Players? The main reason why managers start to develop players is money. Cristiano Ronaldo cost Manchester United a heck of a lot less than he cost Real Madrid and even if Ronaldo was earning £10 million a year at Manchester United in wages the club would still have made an overall profit in his sale on top of his contributions to the team. This crucial financial element never changes and is one of the key factors that should always be taken into account when starting the whole development process at your club. The manager should start developing players based on the idea that they can be sold atleast for as much as they cost the club during their time at the club. Youth Development is all about a zero sum game in terms of cash, with the odd gem that makes the entire process profitable whether he is sold for megabucks or kept as a first team player. It is unearthing this gem from an overall no cost or minimal cost process that is the point of youth development. Instead of spending £25 million on a winger, you spend £25 million and recover £25 million over a period of several years of youth development and eventually unearth that winger, or discover someone else that benefits your team and allows you to play with some other winger in your team or even without wingers. It's about improving your team for the minimal cost possible. Some clubs are in a position not to have to do this due to having megabucks, some clubs are in a position where this is all they can do to keep competing at a specific level. Other clubs are in a position where they don't have to do this but can't afford to let gems pass to their rivals and develop into players that become awesome for the opponent team. Youth development is a key part of the whole football process going on in FM. Believe me when I tell you that you will regret it when you arch rivals suddenly line up against you with some Off-The-Ball 18, Anticipation 18, Composure 18, Finishing 18 teenage forward that you hadn't spotted in the game before. In my current save precisely this happened recently. A youngster that looked a bit promising but was very young and a bit of a risk turned up at some obscure Dutch club and the top sides in my league were all keeping an eye on him. None of the top sides made a bid and he went to Tottenham. A couple of seasons later he turned up in the Tottenham line up looking like the following image and the top four let out a collective d'oh. Klinsmann is in charge of Tottenham with his 20 Motivating and I play them next with one first choice Centreback suspended and the other first choice Centreback unfit after just returning from injury. Yay. He might only be third choice forward with those stats in my club, but I would still rather own him and then sell him to Valencia or Roma rather than see him line up for Tottenham and potentially move to Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona or Milan. Regardless of whether I want to develop players, am any good at developing players, could be bothered developing him etc. let Tottenham develop him was a management error on my part. It was a player development error. Player development can also be a very active and front line part of the contest between clubs. It might start off as a financial issue but as you spend more time with this area of the game it starts to grow and develop itself in terms of importance and function. The financial basis for player development starts to evolve, into a battle for who can find the next gem and for who can deny the competition access to the future stars of the game. The financial issue might be the basic reason for developing players, the race for the next generation of top players and denying rivals the next generation of the top players might be the "mid-game" aspect of player development, but eventually when you spend even more time on this area of the game the reason why you should develop players evolves again and take the game to a whole new level. The truth is that the main reason why you should develop players is remarkably simple. It vastly improves the game as an interactive experience. It radically enhances the experience and enjoyment of the game. Once you start getting youth development and player development working well then your club literally becomes a group of players that you are moulding, manipulating and interacting with regularly to push your club forward. It's only when the majority of your time in FM is spent moulding and developing and evolving both your players and your team that FM truly spreads it wings as the greatest management simulator around. Players turn from spreadsheets into characters, characters you can radically adapt along certain lines while along other lines retaining key crucial traits that are a nightmare to adapt. Thus players can greatly grow under your management yet still retain their own individuality and unique behaviours. And once you get to this level in FM you no longer see dots or dodgy looking stickmen in your replays, you see people, you see individuals, you see carefully sculpted and brilliantly simulated players. And this is when FM becomes a work of utter genius and a computer game that for a football fan is without rival. Section 2: What Can You Expect? Me enthusing loudly and prolifically about FM is nothing new and so the question "that's all great and all but does it actually work out that way?" is completely valid. It is important to know whether or not the effort and attention required to involve yourself in Player Development can actually pay off, and indeed what sort of returns can actually be expected? Because surely if one gem is developed every ten years, a First Teamer every five, and someone for Backup every 2 then it is hardly worth the time and effort getting the sleeves rolled up and micromanaging a whole bunch of extra players. This is one hundred percent completely valid and so this section of the guide is devoted to showing what can be done in game when you commit to the player development process. This section will show what I have achieved in my current save obviously using the very approach I am writing about in this guide. I will tell you that what you can expect from Player Development is very, very impressive atleast in the first decade or so of a long term save. What I have achieved in my current save is beyond anything I have achieved before by a large margin and I take great pleasure in stating that this save was done 100% "pure" with no sneaky peaks at hidden attributes or PA values or any of that sort. It is actually quite interesting to me that the save where I put down the utilities that enabled me to see the guts of the game, see the workings of players and formed some of the basis for all my previous guides on different areas of the game is the save where I have run my club almost to perfection. I was at the heart of a lot of discussions on mix-maxing and this and that, which I now find ironic because although it did furnish me with a lot of knowledge about how things work, I have found that how you achieve maximum success in FM is by treating it on entirely footballing terms. All my recent guides and threads now follow in this vein, and it is because I am thoroughly enjoying this football game even more by treating it like football. What you can expect from youth development when you approach it with detail and commitment and on footballing terms is the following: These are all the players in my First Team Squad I have personally developed in my six seasons at Manchester United in my current save: Defenders Midfielders Forwards The oldest player here was 19 at game start, the youngest was 12 and is therefore a pure newgen, infact I believe only two out of the six here are real players but I could be wrong. I personally hunted out each of these players and had to buy them all. They cost me a grand total of £25.8 million altogether and are now worth £98.6 million altogether. That is an increase of £72.8 million in six years. Four World Class players and two highly excellent young defenders that look as if they too will become World Class. That's over half a first team for a World Class club like Manchester United in only six seasons, and the sixth has barely started. You will notice that these players are all busy players. By busy I mean that when they play they tend to do something. My fullbacks both have assists from two starts, my striker has 8 goals from 5 starts. Even the underperforming Douglas Costa has two assists in 7 appearances. These players are not for show they are for winning football matches and you will notice that every single player barring the youngest has a Determination score of 18 or higher. I am infact packing two 19's and a 20 Determination in a bunch of players that came to my club at age 19 or younger. These players are top, top level footballers. If I can do this so can you, but I will be honest and say I do not expect the vast majority of you to pour over the details of the game like I do. I do pay an enormous amount of attention to detail and consider every weakness anywhere in my club to be an error made by me. But like I said the games gives back what you put in, so it is up to you. Take a year to play six seasons and you too can produce players of this calibre on a regular basis. It is entirely up to you. Link to post Share on other sites More sharing options...
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