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Draakon

Jong Ajax - player development question

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In Netherlands, some Eredivisie clubs have a B team/reserves team that takes part of the Eerste Divisie games, although those reserves can't win promotion.

I know that players over 18 yo would need competitive football to develop properly, so sensible thing to do would be to start looking for loan options if they've hit that age. However, in big clubs (such as Ajax) training facilities and coaching quality is far superior to any other Dutch club. And if the youngster is half-decent, most commonly Eerste Divisie clubs are interested, so they'd move to the same league that he played in Jong Ajax, just with worse training conditions.

My first question - do Eerste Divisie games that reserves play count as "first team football" in terms of player development?

Second question - what loan criteria should be met while deciding on loan? How good should training facilities be compared to my club or would it matter less than I think?

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My general rule of thumb, only loan him out if you never see him playing for your First Team and you want to reduce the wage load. Otherwise why would you want to send him out to a team with likely worse facilities. The only exception would be if you have no reserve team yourself and there is no room for him to get some first team football at your club.

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If you decided to send him on loan, I would look at the manager's profile.

If the manager is playing a similar style of football as you.

If the manager is good in working with youngsters(including the usual determination, discipline and motivation).

If the player has high determination to prove himself that he is worthy of a place in your team while on loan. 

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5 hours ago, Draakon said:

In Netherlands, some Eredivisie clubs have a B team/reserves team that takes part of the Eerste Divisie games, although those reserves can't win promotion.

I know that players over 18 yo would need competitive football to develop properly, so sensible thing to do would be to start looking for loan options if they've hit that age. However, in big clubs (such as Ajax) training facilities and coaching quality is far superior to any other Dutch club. And if the youngster is half-decent, most commonly Eerste Divisie clubs are interested, so they'd move to the same league that he played in Jong Ajax, just with worse training conditions.

My first question - do Eerste Divisie games that reserves play count as "first team football" in terms of player development?

Second question - what loan criteria should be met while deciding on loan? How good should training facilities be compared to my club or would it matter less than I think?

I've been playing a save with Ajax (just left) and I found if you keep them in the Jong team they don't have access to the better training that the main squad offers. Keeping them in the first team and making them available for the B team helps a bit, but I always check their training. If it says they need game time at a higher level I loan them out, the Eerste Divisie is pretty low on rated divisions.

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19 hours ago, Draakon said:

My first question - do Eerste Divisie games that reserves play count as "first team football" in terms of player development?

It does, but the higher the level of the competition, the more he will learn. 

19 hours ago, Draakon said:

Second question - what loan criteria should be met while deciding on loan?

I have the same set up in Spain, I managed to get my B team promoted to the second division. Players under 18 are free from subscription in any league and therefore I'm able to let my best young talents train with the first squad and make them available to play matches with the B team. This way they can be mentored by first team players at high level facilities, while getting play time on a decent level. Sometimes I'll play them in cup matches for the first team. Indeed it makes no sense to loan them out to a different club in that same second division (or comparable). You're loosing control and they have worse facilities. 

Only if they are past that age, I will have to make a decision: take them in on the first team if they are good enough, or loan them out if I don't see them getting enough game time in the first team (of course, provided that they will play for a team in a higher division then the Spanish second league). 

And yes, have a look at their manager and training staff attributes, take into account if they are playing continental matches perhaps. 

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Posted (edited)

To be honest, having a B club in a competitive league, especially countries such as the Netherlands or Spain where the B quad can reach the second division, is a huge advantage in FM for youth development. Your club has likely better facilities and coaching than clubs in the same league as your B squad, and you can keep a tighter leash on how the youngsters train; especially since the AI isn't particularly good at developing youth at all. I wouldn't loan out the kids unless they require football at a higher standard than what your B team requires, but you cannot feasibly make the player part of the rotation of the main squad.

Since you're Ajax, and having played in the Netherlands myself, there probably are some opportunities for you to play the kid in some matches and give him a dozen or plus appearances in the first team on top of his playing time in the B squad. Beyond that and as I said, only look for loan moves in clubs that 1) promise a Regular Starter status or better, 2) have decent enough facilities, 3) provide a higher standard of football than you can provide the kid with. But indeed, there's more often than not no point at all in loaning a player to a team in the same league as your B squad.

Well, there can be a reason to loan anyway: the player is in the shadow of another in the B squad who is better. The AI coaches won't rotate both players properly, and I suggest you keep your Youth squads as slim as possible: 11 players is good enough if you strictly have one per position. Loan away, sell or release the rest: they're not going to see much action because bar catastrophic injuries, they're not going to see much action on the pitch. You can handle having a position filled by a grey player if there's an injury happen, and worst case scenario, you can still send a main squad player looking for match sharpness to the Youth squad for a match or two.

Edited by Xavier Lukhas

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6 hours ago, Xavier Lukhas said:

To be honest, having a B club in a competitive league, especially countries such as the Netherlands or Spain where the B quad can reach the second division, is a huge advantage in FM for youth development. Your club has likely better facilities and coaching than clubs in the same league as your B squad, and you can keep a tighter leash on how the youngsters train; especially since the AI isn't particularly good at developing youth at all. I wouldn't loan out the kids unless they require football at a higher standard than what your B team requires, but you cannot feasibly make the player part of the rotation of the main squad.

Since you're Ajax, and having played in the Netherlands myself, there probably are some opportunities for you to play the kid in some matches and give him a dozen or plus appearances in the first team on top of his playing time in the B squad. Beyond that and as I said, only look for loan moves in clubs that 1) promise a Regular Starter status or better, 2) have decent enough facilities, 3) provide a higher standard of football than you can provide the kid with. But indeed, there's more often than not no point at all in loaning a player to a team in the same league as your B squad.

Well, there can be a reason to loan anyway: the player is in the shadow of another in the B squad who is better. The AI coaches won't rotate both players properly, and I suggest you keep your Youth squads as slim as possible: 11 players is good enough if you strictly have one per position. Loan away, sell or release the rest: they're not going to see much action because bar catastrophic injuries, they're not going to see much action on the pitch. You can handle having a position filled by a grey player if there's an injury happen, and worst case scenario, you can still send a main squad player looking for match sharpness to the Youth squad for a match or two.

Thanks, that's solid advice.

My approach so far has been to loan them out to another Eredivisie club if they offer regular starter position to my player (= higher level football and more starts than he'd get in Ajax).

I've come to conclusion that around 20-22 players to my first team at the start of the season (one to each position) should be OK for Ajax, then fill the gaps with youngsters as the season progresses. It means that I should keep around 18-20 players in Jong Ajax. If B-team squad is too thin, U-19 players are called up to fill the spots and that means U-19 players will get incredibly high match load that could lead to too many injuries.

 

Jong Ajax can't use players over 23 years old in the league games. That's a bit disappointing, because there's no point in making older players available for reserves - they can't be used by Jong Ajax manager anyway and as a result they can't regain match fitness playing for reserves (after injury, for example). They can play for Jong Ajax friendlies, but friendlies are rare, because the team has so many league fixtures. So, when my first team players return from injuries, I have to find a way myself to give them game time as subs and build their match fitness. Or just go with it and start them if their physical condition is good enough, although match sharpness is low.

What I like the most about Eredivisie is that I can name 12 subs. Compared to Premier League, for example, that's a huge advantage to youth development. I can rarely fill my bench with first team players (some are out because of injuries or low fitness) and usually can take 2-4 youngsters with him to any league game. Depending on how things evolve on the pitch, they might get their chance in second half without risking too much, but giving them bits of match experience in much higher level.

 

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6 minutes ago, Draakon said:

It means that I should keep around 18-20 players in Jong Ajax. If B-team squad is too thin, U-19 players are called up to fill the spots and that means U-19 players will get incredibly high match load that could lead to too many injuries.

I'm going to insist on that part, because in real life, it's true. The real Jong Ajax usually has something like 16-18 players maximum to give everyone a chance. In FM, there's no point. Eleven is enough. If there are missing players, you can get a first team youngster  who isn't subject to U23 rules to show up... and I heard that IRL Ajax does just that: fly young bench players from a squad to another during the day so that they're present for a Jong match after being on the bench for the main squad the day before. Tifo had a good video about how la Masia screwed up. Part of the issue is having too many players and not giving them enough opportunities in the main team.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b-EzUmWx7E

I've set up my own U19 and B team in the Netherlands to maximize their growth: eleven players, loan, sell or release the rest. My main issue is that my B team is a bit low in the leagues, but I've recruited young also-rans and other sorts of released cheap players that most likely have little hope of featuring for my main squad due to a lack of potential. Hopefully I can turn a profit on them in the process, but I doubt it: the main goal is to promote the B team so that when I get the buying power to get good youngsters, I also have the facilities and setup to make the grow. Yes, I'm that merciless: I have recruited players I know won't play for the main squad to advance my club's profile. :lol:

fm_2020-07-31_12-17-38.png

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I am also managing in the Netherlands currently, with PSV. This means I have jong PSV in the second division, but also a sattelite club fc Eindhoven in the second division i loan the players to that are excessive in my b-team. But the strange thing is that i keep getting trainer suggestions that the players in my b-team need a lot more playing time (even though they are playing every match in my b-team), and their development shows this. They don't seem to be developing as well as you would expect given that they get match experience in a division that suits their ability. Players that developed very well in my -19 suddenly barely get any better once i promote them to my b-team, even though they get match experience now. The strangest thing then is that I notice that the players that were not very good and therefore I loaned to fc Eindhoven are suddenly developing well, even though they play in the same division and their facilities are a lot worse. Is anyone else experiencing this lack of development for players of for example jong Ajax or jong PSV or am I alone?

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