Player development is a vitally important part of managing your club. If done effectively it will help you to secure long term success both on the pitch and financially, as it will give you a continuous supply of quality players coming through who you can then either play in your first team or sell on for a profit.
The benefits of focusing on youth are discussed further in the Squad Building guide.
The Player Ability & Performance guide explains current ability and potential ability in detail.
There are three components of successful player development. The first is youth intake. In order to continually produce quality talent you will need to ensure that young players with good potential ability are being regularly brought into the club.
The other two components involve the actual development process itself and so are interlinked. They are optimising player improvement and shaping player development. You will need to improve the current ability of your developing players so that it fulfils as much of their potential ability as possible, as early as possible, and also shape the distribution of their current ability so that they can perform effectively in your tactics.
You should ensure that new potential talent is being brought in regularly and that each position is covered. A big club with a good youth system is likely to have at least two players in every position in its youth squad.
You can source young players both internally and externally.
Once a year you will have the opportunity to offer youth contracts to players who have come through the junior teams in your youth system. This is the most financially efficient way to recruit young players in the long term, but may require an initial investment in the relevant facilities, as detailed below, for players with good potential ability to come through.
The staff member you place in charge of bringing youth players into the club (either your Head of Youth Development or Youth Manager) will influence the type of players who come through the junior teams, as explained in the Coaches guide.
You can also look elsewhere for young players with good potential ability using your scouts or the player search feature. However, you will have to pay a transfer fee if a player is already owned by another club, meaning that this method is more expensive in the long term.
Despite this, if the development of the players you buy is successful then it still allows you to bring players into your senior squad at a lower cost than if you were to buy already established players, and to potentially sell on for a profit those players who do not make your first team. It also enables you to sign high potential players even if you are not currently able to recruit them internally from your own junior teams, or simply to supplement your internally sourced talent. Furthermore, it allows you to target particular types of players, for example, players with particular attribute ratings, preferred moves and personalities, which can make the development process easier.
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