Questions on player development and Friendlies (Cup, tour etc)
After finally figuring out how to arrange friendlies for any of my teams (u18, reserves, First team) against almost all opponents and how to make sure they are accepted as well as won't be cancelled - several questions came to mind as to what use different type of friendlies would have on player developments/reputation/value etc (For those interested I will post my findings on how to succesfully setup Friendlies/cup and tours in a later post in this thread)
It seems the general concensus is that Friendlies are only good for a) match fitness and b) generating income for lower clubs. However the consensus also seems to be that playing First team football games is the best way for a player to improve his stats (ability) - But is it the only way ?
It seems to me that there is a correlation to how well a young player performs and how important a game is and what rating the opposing team has ie playing a young player in a cup final against Man United in which he performs well, will somehow add a boost to his skill development.
However if that is the case, then there would be no benefit in a U18 player, even playing in U18 games such as U18 league or U18 cup - however a U18 player who only does training but doesn't play any games won't develop as quickly (if at all) as a U18 player involved in U18 games - this to me suggest that the boost in skill development, does not directly relate to whether he is playing for First Team or U18 team, but rather relates to a) Match Importance and b) How diffcult/highly rated an opponent is and c) how he performs against them.
A) Match importance:
This one you can't do much about in relation to league games - except try out now and again young players in the First team in certain games and/or as subs - but in the game it warns that frequently changing a players squad status will negatively affect his moral - so my question here is - frequently changing a U18 player back and forth from First team to U18 - will that not cause moral problems ?
Also to me - playing youth players in First team mathces should be the exception rather than the rule - as it is hardly a sustainable standard tactic to use in your youth development program.
To me the normal route for a youngster to break in to the First Team is 1) Plays a couple of years in the U18 and occasionally picked for the reserve team then 2) Moves to the Reserve team performs well for a few season's and then slowly and surely 3) Starts to get his First Team games.
B) How diffcult/highly rated an opponent is
For this part it seems to me that the game first of rates in what type of game the U18 player plays in, but also that it rates how a player performs and against what type of opposition. So if we say that the highest boost a U18 player can get to his development is playing a Champions league final against one of the top 4 clubs in the world (as rated by Club/Team reputation) so say this boost is = 100% - where as not playing at all = 0% boost. Ofcourse then this would make sense that if a player is played in First Team games he will see stronger development boosts as opposed to playing in the U18 league - as the opposition he will face are tougher/rated higher. However this also raises the important question -
Does the match importance count for so much more than the quality of opponent that say playing a First Team game against Hull (if you are one of the Top 4 in EPL) counts for more ie more boost than playing a Friendly game (Any type Freindly/Tour/Cup or League) against say Barcelona U18 or even Barcelona First Team ?
And if so - How much more or less does it count ?
Also does it make a difference what type of Friendly ? ie Friendly league/Tour or Cup or just reg Friendly ?
Also What if your U18 player plays a Friendly for your First Team against say Barcelona - would that count more than a First Team league game against a much lower opponent ?
C) how he performs against them
This also seems to play a part in any boost a U18 player may get from playing a game ie if player is constantly under performing - then he won't get as much of an increase - again this makes sense and also goes along the line that playing the player in a Friendly against a good rated them like Barcelona U18, where he has a chance of "not making a fool of himself" he would perform better and hence get better boost than being totally outplayed in a First Team playing a league game against a EPl team ?
My temporary conclusion to this is that ofcourse playing a U18 player in League games (more important games) against older more experienced, higher rep players will give the player the highest boost to his development provided he performs well. However playing a U18 player in a Friendly will also bring some boost agaiin depending on level of opposition and perhaps also the type of Friendly ie a Tour or Cup win may have a higher "value" than a regular Friendly - similar an Away win/good performance against strong team would also provide a higher boost.
Also there is the whole area of player/club reputation - so say my Liverpool U18 team regular plays Friendly tours against all the Top 4 teams in Italy and win's some and also my U18 players performs well - that would in my mind lead to my squad reputation to increase which in turn would lead to player reputation to increase.
So isn't it reasonable to assume that your U18 player being exposed to playing against top teams abroad (even in Friendly) will be more "visible" to scouts/other managers and hence his reputation/value will increase faster/more ?
Also will playing friendlies against such teams not also build up positive relationships with those managers ?
I will add some more info/questions to this thread later - but just wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts / experience so far