First Team Experience

Through first team experience a player will gain further improvements to his technical, mental and physical attributes on top of the increases achieved through training and tutoring. The hidden attributes Consistency, Dirtiness and Important Matches can also change slightly over time as a player gains match experience. These changes are based on performances and events, so if you have a young player who you suspect has poor Consistency, it would be beneficial to try to include him in matches against weaker sides where he is more likely to play well.

Experience should be gained as early as possible in a player’s career, although it will generally not be appropriate to put a young undeveloped player in your first team straight away. Therefore, this experience will need to be given in lower profile matches such as less important league games and cup games against lower league opposition. However, for any players in your squad who you think will be capable of playing for your first team or being sold for a decent amount in the future, it would be a good idea to try to get them first team experience by sending them out on loan. You should review all of your squads (senior, reserve and under 18s) for such players when you first join a new club and also at any point after signing new players.

Loaning out a player

Before loaning out a young player it is best to give him tutoring at your club first, if there is a suitable tutor. Waiting until the player has been successfully tutored before loaning him out will enable him to benefit from the resulting attribute increases that can help him establish himself at the loaning club, in addition to the possible increase to his Professionalism personality attribute that will help him improve more during training at the loaning club.

It is important that the player is also given good quality training. Therefore he should be given a mixture of time spent out on loan and time spent training with your own coaches.

A player can be loaned out either by offering him to clubs for loan or, more easily if your club has one, by sending him to a feeder club

Offering to clubs

To offer a player for loan select Offer to Clubs from his Transfer drop-down menu, then set the Offer Type to Loan. Generally, it is best not to request a fee from loaning clubs for a young player as they are unlikely to make a bid and you want as many clubs as possible to choose from. You can afford to be more flexible with the wages percentage that the loaning club will pay, but this should still ideally be set fairly low so that you do not restrict the number of clubs who make an offer.

It is advisable to always include a recall clause in the Loan Options so that you can terminate the deal early if he loses his place in the team, while similarly you should cut short a player's loan spell if he is not performing well since he will not gain much benefit from such an unsuccessful experience. You should also ensure that he is allowed to play in cup matches unless you have a particular reason for not wanting the player to be cup-tied on his return to your club.

The loan offer you accept should be based largely on the level at which each club plays, with preference going to teams in higher leagues. However, you should also ensure that the player will be given enough first team action to justify the move. Ideally, you should only loan to clubs which state that he will be a valuable first team player, and so you may want to specify this in the offer conditions by selecting First Team from the Squad Status drop-down list. To avoid this condition restricting the number of offers too much, you can make it negotiable by leaving the make loan squad status non negotiable box unticked. Similarly, it is best to accept offers where the player will be mainly played in one of his natural positions to increase the chances of his loan spell being a success. You can request that the player be used in a particular position by selecting a position from the Preferred Position drop-down list when offering the player.

In addition, you should note the standard of training facilities at the bidding clubs to make sure that he goes to the team with the best facilities. Training facilities can be checked in the Facilities section on each club's Information tab. If you do not consider the facilities at any of the bidding clubs to be good enough compared to those at your own club then it may be best to keep the player. Bigger clubs with better facilities may make loan offers after the player makes further improvements in training and from tutoring.

Finally, you should also consider the quality of the managers at the bidding clubs as you will want your player to play under someone who can get the best out him. In particular, when loaning out a young player, you should try to make sure that the manager of the loaning club has a good Working With Youngsters attribute, while Man Management is another attribute to look for.

Loaning to a feeder club

Feeder clubs can provide an easier way to loan out your young players. Available feeder clubs are shown on the Affiliated Clubs section of your club's Information tab on your Club screen. However, you will only be able to send players to those clubs where this is stated in the list of conditions of the relationship. If your club does not already have a suitable feeder club then you can request one from the Board Meeting section of the Boardroom tab by selecting Feeder Club from the Networking category. You can then choose from a number of reasons for requesting a feeder club and, if they agree, the Board will search for an appropriate option. Therefore, if you only want a club to loan players to you should give this as your reason to the Board. After a few weeks you will be given the opportunity to recommend a club out of those the Board have selected. Your recommendation should be based on the level at which the team plays and the standard of their training facilities, as these are the most important factors in developing your players at the club.

It would be advisable to have two types of feeder club for loaning players to. One of these should ideally be just one league below your own club. You can use this club for your highest quality youngsters who just need experience at a higher level to be able to break into your first team. The other type of feeder club should be two or three leagues below your own club. This club can be used to give other youngsters competitive match experience if you have not been able to pair them with a suitable tutor, perhaps because all your potential tutors are already mentoring other players.

To send a player to a feeder club select Move to Affiliate from the player's Squad drop-down menu and then choose the club you want to loan him to.

As with offering to clubs, you should make sure that the player will be given first team experience. However, this can only be done by judging the quality of players already at the club in the same position before sending your player, then recalling him if he does not feature frequently enough. 

Further Reading

Inverting the Pyramid - guaranteed to give you a greater tactical knowledge and understanding.

The Manager: Inside the Minds of Football's Leaders - learn how to think like a football manager

Will You Manage? - tells you the skills needed to be a great manager and gives essential tips for fantasy football success

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