Finding the best young players is one of those ‘never-ending’ quests for any diligent football manager.
By ensuring your club has a healthy stock of talented youngsters, managers give themselves the squad depth to ride out any injury crisis and a cost-effective way to improve the first team in the medium to long-term.
It’s why virtual managers will cross their fingers before each year’s youth intake, hoping that a ‘wonderkid’ will be delivered by the FM gods into their laps.
Even if you’re managing Barcelona your academy isn’t guaranteed to deliver the next Messi into your hands each season. So you’ll probably need to dip into the transfer market to boost your options.
At the start of any new save, this is a simple task. All you need to do is fire-up Google and search for the right fan-researched shortlist to find the best young players.
However, these resources cannot help you with finding the new players the simulation generates and adds to its database every season.
Called ‘Regens’ (or Newgens) these players are unique to your game, so you’re going to have to do the hard yards to find them yourself.
Now there are some comprehensive and extreme ways to find these ‘Regens’ that to my mind are likely to eat up your scouting budget and your time in a less than optimum manner.
So I wanted to share the three quick(ish) ways I’ve found to scouring your Football Manager save for the best Regens around:
1. Sort out your scouting
Okay, so let’s start with the obvious. If you’re starting out as a club in the Premier League, Bundesliga or Serie A, then with Google at your fingertips why spend your virtual budgets on finding twenty-somethings?
What I’d recommend is spend the time getting your scouts whipped into shape, so you’re giving your club the best chance to spot a Regem (a trademark, not a typo) before the big teams.
While it’s tempting to just employ scouts with high ‘Judging Current & Potential Ability’ attributes, you should ensure that you prioritise regional knowledge so that you have eyes on the ground across the globe.
In my opinion, you should put particular emphasis on the countries which produce the best talent, Germany, Italy, France, Brazil, Argentina, England, Portugal, Croatia & Belgium.
Even when your club is at an elite level, you can only cover so much ground, so make sure you’re not wasting all your time on one country – there’s only so much talent worth having in one place. Some of my favourite scouts are below:
Quick Scout Shortlist
- Kevin Cruickshank (England & Scotland)
- Kieran Scott (England)
- Brian Riemer (Scandinavia)
- Radu Baicu (Eastern Europe)
- Mark Prizant (South & North America)
- Christos Orkas (Southern Europe)
- Finidi George (Africa)
Once you’ve got a set of scouts you’re happy with, you need to set them up to foucs on finding for Regen talent within their allotted region and/or country.
For each scout, I set the following instructions:
- Select desired Scope, in the example screenshot below I’ve selected ‘Eastern Europe’
- Add ‘Age is at most 19‘ to ‘Additional Conditions’
- Add ‘Scouted Potential is at least Good’ to ‘Additional Conditions’
- Set ‘Duration’ to ‘Ongoing’
- Then press ‘Start Assignment’
Each of your scouts will STILL make recommendations for the first team, because they’re trying to be helpful, but you’ll see a steady stream of youngsters to assess in your scouting meetings.
If you have specific positional/role needs to this, then by all means add them in, personally I’m just looking for talent that can be moulded into a first-teamer or trained up to be sold-on for a profit.
2. Periodically Search International Youth Teams
After you’ve had your first youth intake, wait until the first round of international fixtures and then go and check all of the youth teams for the major footballing powers across the globe – again focusing on the countries that are most likely to have a steady stream of youngsters coming through.
You’re likely to see a bunch of players from the high-profile clubs – who are worth scouting and keeping an eye on, as their playing pathways are often restricted – but as you go through each of the youth teams (U19, U20, U21) the key things that I always look for are:
- Any 16 & 17-year-olds in these age groups should be checked out
- Players wanted by other clubs – especially the big clubs who have great scouting networks
- Using the hover feature to quickly check attributes
- Any abnormally high player values
In the example below, I’ve selected the Belgium U21 in 2029. Using steps 1 and 2, I’ve identified four 16-year-olds at a much higher age group than they should be.
Upon closer inspection, we see that Zebre (Juventus) are interested in Dieter Van Daele and that the player has pretty amazing stats for his age, as well as some first team starts.
Now you can either go full tilt and sign him up at a reasonable price or send your scouts to check him out properly.
By doing this periodically across each of the large footballing nations, you’re going to spot some gems like Dieter Van Daele who I’m probably going to sign for around 10 million without scouting because at worst he’ll end up being worth double that by the time he’s in his early 20s.
3. Targeted Player Search filters
Lastly and the least targeted tip of the lot is a good old-fashioned Player Search. The method I use here is really subject to a little trial and error and only as effective as the scouting package you’ve signed up to.
The theory here is along the same lines of logic in the previous step and trying to identify really young players who are deemed good enough to already be getting first team minutes at their club.
After loading up Player Search, I create a search that only shows players between 15 & 16-years-of-age and have at least 5 All-Time League Appearances games (see screenshot below).
Again, as with step 2, you want to pay attention to the ‘Wanted’ players here, but a quick scan of their attributes should give you a feel for if they’re a dud, worth an immediate offer or further scouting. This is the least reliable method, so I’d advise scouting.
Let’s look at some examples of what to expect. In this search, the players are sorted by value and I’ve taken the time to scout one of the of players that looked interesting.
Aitor Goni is a decent find, although I’m not keen on that natural fitness rating as I play a high pressing game and his determination – which is key for development – is also a little on the low side for my tastes.
There are so many ways to organise this data depending on how much of a deep dive you’re looking to do.
In this example, I’ve sorted the players according to their average rating and found two potential players that are worth a little more investigation.
As recommended earlier, I’ll be scouting both players to check if they are worth any investment.
By taking the time to set up your scouting correctly in step 1 and periodically doing the manual checks in steps 2 and 3 a few times a season you should be able to stay ahead of your virtual rivals.
I hope these tips help. If you want to discuss this post, please follow me on Twitter and shoot me a DM.
Here’s a little gallery of the players I’ve found using these methods over the past few seasons on my current Newcastle United save game.