Football Manager Guides | Scouting
One thing we all love as Football Manager players is finding those special wonderkids or top-rated newgens. If you’re a smaller club, it’s about finding that player who can potentially make you millions in sell-on fees. For bigger clubs, it’s about getting the best talent at the best price.
So these are some of the tools I use to help me find the best wonderkids and top-rated newgens in Football Manager. First, I will show you a quick and dirty way to find all the wonderkids, then show you how to find and scout the best potential players generated by the game.
But first, let’s answer the important question…
WHAT IS A WONDERKID
Simply put, a wonderkid is a media description given to a player under the age of 21 years old who has a high current ability level relative to his age. This does not mean that he will be a world-class player in the years to come, or that he has a high potential ability.
You see sometimes we put too much emphasis on signing wonderkids for our teams when the reality is a wonderkid doesn’t always develop as expected. Take, for example, Ravel Morrison. He was once hailed as the ‘best he had ever seen’ by Sir Alex Ferguson. What went wrong?
For him it was his personality, for others it could be injury proneness, a lack of playing time, or poor training. Additionally, they may have already reached their potential ability, so there is no further room for them to develop.
That being said, there is a quick and simple solution to finding them.
FIND THE BEST WONDERKIDS
This one might sound a bit obvious, but the player search screen allows you to set some powerful views and filters to help you find some of the wonderkids and best youth players available. Moreover, you can also add additional columns to view various descriptors of players, for example, media description. This is the label the media give to players, e.g., wonderkid.
From the player search screen, add the media description column to the search results table. This will be the quickest and easiest way to find all wonderkids in the game.
Right-click the header > insert column > General > Media Description
Once you’ve added the media description, and any other parameters to the results table that are important to you and simply select the media description heading to sort the results. Once sorted, scroll down and look for wonderkids and there you have it. All wonderkids in the game revealed.
Simple. You can even use the ‘promising’ description, as this will also highlight players who have the potential to be stars of the future.
However, as mentioned, a wonderkid label by the media isn’t the be-all and end-all of finding youth players. So let’s go back to basics and find some youth players with high potential.
FIND THE BEST YOUTH PLAYERS
So, once we’ve found and scouted the wonderkids, chances are they’re probably quite expensive. With a high current ability, they’re probably already playing for their first team, on a decent contract and all of that adds up to an inflated transfer value (see above transfer values). So let’s go find some high potential, low-risk youth players.
Setting search parameters
From the player search screen I will usually set the following parameters:
- Age is between 15 & 18
- Determination is at least 15
- Personality is <preferred personalities (see below)>
I’ll also make sure that they’re actually interested in a transfer to my club.
Once I have set these parameters I will scout the players returned. To do this quickly, you can select the tick to the left of the top player, hold shift, and select the one next to the bottom player. This will highlight them all. Then right-click > Scouting > Get Scout Report
I will do this for all the personalities that I find desirable. If I am at a smaller club I will sometimes add a filter for the value of the player, too, as scouting costs money, so I should only be scouting players who I can actually afford to bring to the club.
It is important to note that on this screen, the players returned to you depend on the level of your youth packages. If you have the world package then all players in the world are returned to you, Europe covers just European players etc.
When searching for wonderkids I like to ensure they have the right personality to play for me; this being a personality trait that shows the player has high levels of ambition and professionalism as these two, along with their determination will ensure they work hard not only on the pitch but on the training ground, too.
The types of personalities I will search for include: Model Citizen, Model Professional, Professional, Perfectionist, Driven, Determined etc. There are plenty of personality guides online so I won’t list out everything here.
I just try to find players with high ambition and professionalism since a players ambition determines how much a player wants to achieve success at the highest level, and his professionalism determines how good his attitude to training and performances on the pitch. Coupled with a high determination you have a player on your hands who will set the right standards for those around him.
So, this is how I do it via the player search screen, but there are also some other ways I find players, who perhaps don’t have the best personalities, but I could shape them with training and mentoring.
FIND THE BEST HOT PROSPECTS MANUALLY
Another piece of information available to you as a manager is the hot prospect of each club in the game. To view this, simply head to the profile of any club and their captain, vice-captain, the key player and the hot prospect will be shown.
On the player name, simply right-click > Scouting > Get Scout Report
You can do this for as many clubs around the world as you wish, or that your budget allows for. Bear in mind that the higher the reputation of the club in comparison to you, the higher the fee and less likely the player is to join you. Typically I will look through the Scandinavian leagues and some of the lesser-known ones like the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange League in Israel, for example. These are realistic places for me to be scouting and looking for top youth players.
FIND THE BEST HOT PROSPECTS THROUGH SCOUTING
Another way to find some hot prospects is to just let your scouts get on with it.
If you take control of your scouting, then you can set up an assignment to find hot prospects manually. This way might take a little longer, but the rewards can be worthwhile.
Within scouting, select Assignments > Create New Assignment
You can then set these values as best to suit you and your situation. For me currently, I really don’t want to be spending more than €7.5M on a player. I also want to make sure their determination is at least 15, and that they’re no older than 19 years old. My scout’s opinion of the player’s potential ability must be at least very good and finally, the player must fit within my current tactic, which is a 4-4-2.
These reports will then filter through to you when players have been identified by the scouts.
FIND THE BEST YOUTH INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS
Another method I use for scouting players is to look through the international under 19s and scout the players with high average ratings or stand out stats.
Now obviously, this isn’t as foolproof as the previous methods, but it can sometimes find a gem of a player who performs consistently. To scout those with high average ratings, rather than holding shift, this time I will hold control or command, depending on whether you’re on Windows or a Mac, and then select every player I want to scout.
I will normally do this at around the time of international tournaments that I have some good data to work with. You could also just scout the tournaments directly, which would leave it to your scouts to find the best hidden talent.
Create a new scouting assignment and then from the scope simply select a competition to scout, e.g., the U-20 Elite League. You can also go to that tournament while in progress and look at the player data to find any stand-out players. The data is presented the same way the normal league stats are presented. A quick and easy way to do this so you don’t forget is to set up a screen flow (see next point).
What’s more, you can customise the data shown to you by selecting the white arrows on the mini-tables. Here I will look at the basic data for a quick overview.
FIND THE BEST NEWGENS UTILISING SCREEN FLOWS
Another hidden gem of a feature in Football Manager is the ability to set up a Screen flow to automatically display an array of tournament screens to you, automatically.
Preferences > Screen Flow (you might have to search for it)
From here you can set up a number of different rules based on criteria you set, e.g., show me detailed player stats from the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. What this will do is take you to the detailed player stats during the competition so you can see detailed stats on the players involved in the tournament; at this point, you would probably want to scout the high performing players to get a view on how good they really are.
You can use screen flows to follow competitions you’re interested in, and then the teams and players as well. Once you’ve set up your screen flows you should have a nice list, something like this.
I will usually go to the stats > player overview screen on matchdays as my preferences; however, you can change this to suit what information you would prefer to see.
Once set up, those competitions and the information requested is displayed for you, to save you having to remember to go in and check on player performances.
FIND THE BEST NEWGENS FROM YOUTH INTAKES
This method requires a lot of time because the number of scout reports you’ll receive back is going to be huge, but each league will detail all transfers for the league per season. It’ll show you things like loan deals, free transfers, released players etc. but you can also see youth intake here.
This isn’t a method I use, personally, but it is something you can do to make sure you have every single youth prospect scouted and on a shortlist.
As before, you’re going to want to scout all these players to identify the hot prospects. You can do this quickly by selecting the top player, holding shift and then selecting the bottom player. Then as before you right-click and scout them.
As mentioned though, it is going to take your scouts a while to get through these players, particularly if you ask your scouts to scout players until they have full knowledge of the player.
Finding the best youth players and wonderkids in Football Manager takes a lot of patience but the results are extremely rewarding if done right. You can build up a talented youth squad who have the potential to furnish your first team with players for years to come. Additionally, it can become quite lucrative for you to sell these players on with additional sell-on clauses.
Personally, I will also go for the lower valued players, to ensure we are not taking too many risks on potential. Finally, I will make sure my training facilities and coaches are the best they can be to help the players reach their potential.
If you have any other methods of recruiting the best wonderkids and youth players, please do let me know. I’d love to hear how you do it.
As always, you can get in touch with me in the comments below, via twitter @fmfutbolmanager, or my slack channel #fmFutbolManager — if you’re not a part of the Football Manager Slack community, then you can join here!
Until next time.
Cover Photo by Adrià Crehuet Cano on Unsplash