#FM17 Why do youth prospects do not meet their potential?

There are variety of reasons that prospects do not meet their full potential.  Some of the reasons you can control, others you cannot.  I have successfully created multiple wonderkids in both FM16 and FM17 and sometimes players that have high potential end up being big busts.

The reasons beyond your control

  1. Injuries.  Progress of your prospect can be set back by injury.  Serious injuries cannot be predicted and even the proper scouting of a player will not predict a future injury.  A season ending injury will likely set back his current ability by at least 10 points and possibly his potential.fm-2017-01-15-17-27-21-32
  2. Playing time given by coaches on youth teams/reserve teams/out on loan.  While there are methods (second head coach of the affiliate club, head coaching the U23 team) that are much more time consuming but the playing time on affiliate teams and reserve teams are beyond your control.  The coach of the team is not obligated to give your star prospect any playing time.  Playing time affects potential.
  3. Suspensions.  A player that keeps getting sent off will risk sitting out multiple first team games and that could mean him relegated to the reserve team to serve out his suspension.  The same is true if that is happening in the reserve team and he is simply not good enough for the first team.
  4. The first team player that is ahead of him in the lineup is simply too good to bench for him to get playing time.  The same is true if there is an excess of talent in the position that he plays.
  5. Roster rules for certain competitions.  Want to give him a chance in first team but there is no open roster spot available?  In some of the nations this is a problem, especially in ones that have strict foreign player rules.
  6. English work permit rules.  In England there are work permits and if you cannot get one for a prospect (which is likely the case), you must loan him out somewhere.  Since that team is not obligated to play your star player, he may be just sitting there on the bench.
  7. International Duty.  If your prospect has to miss time due to international duty and doesn’t play while away, there is nothing that you can do about this problem.  The problem is that it always happens on Checkatrade Trophy matchdays, which can strip your top talent valuable first team playing time.

The reasons that you can control

  1. Youth Intake Days.  While the intakes can be random (I heavily suggest save the day before the known date of the intake and reload as necessary), you can decide on what positions are in greatest need and reload until the best talent in that position loads up.  You can cut the useless players instead of signing them.
  2. Training.  While I leave most of the training to the assistants I often take over control of the individual training on positions.
  3. Scouting.  When looking at other team regens you can scout them.  I always avoid the injury prone players and the ones with possible attitude problems.  While the scouting does not predict future injuries, it will point out players with previous injury problems.  Also it is necessary to avoid players that have known attitude problems.
  4. Deciding on which players to loan out.  While loans can be useful on first team action they are not always a good thing.  I usually prefer loaning out players that do not have work permits, and usually young players that have no chance of gaining a professional contract.
  5. Tutoring.  As long as the senior player is at least 24 years old, you can control the tutoring process. You cannot control how the tutoring pans out.  Proper tutoring is necessary for some of the prospects.
  6. Giving playing time to prospects when rotation is necessary.  I recommend low priority cups, matches against inferior opponents, matches where the outcome means nothing, and preseason friendlies.  Keep in mind, injuries and suspensions may force a young prospect into the starting lineup or enter the game as a sub at some point of the season, even if it is a player that you rather not give the playing time to.

Hard Brexit and #FM17

Since I have not seen the effects of what the Hard Brexit does in Football Manager 2017 I created a custom database and a game save to find out why.

The short term effects:

  • Players pursue English citizenship.  As long the player has been in the nation for at least 5 years, almost every player in England pursues citizenship even the ones that see it as pointless when it comes to a soft brexit.
  • Several good players end up leaving on a free transfer because they are not grandfathered.  These are likely the quality players that had expiring contracts in the first two years but will not live long enough to get the 5 years in AND are fringe players on their national team.  This will mostly apply to some of the EU nationals that are under 23.
  • Player values of domestic players in the top two flights skyrocket.  It is not unusual to bid mid 8 figures for top players in the Championship.
  • Football in the lower tiers become just as important.  The “minor leagues” suddenly become viable feeder teams and the number of loans will increase.  Almost every club from the third through the seventh tier had match squads that had the limit of loans.
  • Domestic transfer market is stale and mostly involves free transfer and loans.

The long term effects

  • All the clubs in the top two flights take a serious approach in upgrading their facilities and put their focus on homegrown youth talent.  By the end of the 5th season, all the Premier League clubs, most of the yo-yo clubs, and some of the solid Championship clubs will upgrade to “State of the Art”.
  • Younger players often get more first team opportunities, especially in the lower flights.
  • When looking for a first team player in the transfer market, top flight clubs will only go in for the right player.
  • Feeder teams in Scotland and Gibraltar become extremely valuable.  Scotland usually has the better competition (but their top flight is only on par with Football League 1 at best) and remains in the EU.  Gibraltar only requires a player to reside in the nation for 3 years, their leagues are on par with Football League 2/National League, and it can be useful to loan out any player from 18-22 who are likely fringe players for top flight teams anyway, and has no known work permit rules.  Any player with citizenship from either nation always gains a British work permit.  (Note it may be necessary to use live editor to bypass the board on affiliate club requests and to ship players out on loans.)
  • Scotland and Gibraltar leagues skyrocket in UEFA coefficients in the first five years.  Their national teams also go up in rankings but nowhere near their domestic leagues.
  • England coefficient goes down considerably over a period of time to the point the top two flights are near each other on the rankings for the first time in four decades.
  • Coaching turnover based on results slow down considerably when it comes to clubs with more conservative budgets.  For the bigger clubs this turnover remains but not to the frequency as it was before.

Football Manager 17 feeder club guide for EU/Great Britain

I have not been writing a lot of articles lately.  I have a new real life job.  I been playing some Elder Scrolls Online.  So that said, FM17 has been on the back burner as of lately.

If you choose to play in England or some of the EU nations with strict foreign player (i.e. non EU) rules (i.e. France, Spain, Italy) there are plenty of loopholes you can utilize to get the top South American or African talent to your club.

The best UEFA nations to set up feeder clubs:

  1. Serbia.  They allow 6 NonEU players and they consider any of the UK nations as EU once Brexit hits in the game. While the top flight now has a roster limit of 25, there is no squad restrictions within the 25 man roster.  Serbia has usually one or two Champion League qualifier spots and if you got the right personnel out on loan perhaps the club you pick goes all the way into the group stage.  The most important reason to go with Serbia is that it takes 3 years to nationality, most foreign players pursue it in order to play elsewhere in Europe before retirement.  Eventually Serbia joins the EU, making it even more valuable for teams from England in the event of a soft Brexit.
  2. Gibraltar – It may sound crazy to have one of the smallest UEFA nations towards the top of the list but when it takes 3 years to gain nationality it cannot be ignored.  The drawback is that their top flight only has 10 teams, you will need to use some form of live editor to loan your talent to the club of your choice, and work permits may be an hassle.  If hard Brexit hits, Gibraltar becomes top of the list as anyone with that citizenship will always gain a English work permit.  My recommendation is use in game editor, combine all the teams into a single flight, remove the work permit rules, make sure you can set this where it becomes a playable nation, and go to town.
  3. Belarus – Another Eastern Europe nation that takes 3 years to gain citizenship but a March-December season (similar what you find in the Western Hemisphere and Africa) and the fact it never gains EU membership puts it down on the list.  However, their top clubs usually have the best training, almost always makes it to the group stage in either the UEFA Champions League or Europa League, the foreign player rules are favorable in the top flight (but not to lower flights), and their transfer windows are not the same as most of Europe.  The reason why Belarus is not top of the feeder club nation is simple: foreign players apply to anyone without Belarus citzenship.
  4. Portugal – There is no rules regarding foreign players, and they only require an handful of “homegrown” players in their starting lineup.  The drawback is the 30 man roster limit, U19 players count as a roster spot, and you can only make changes during the transfer window.  In short, if your team gets decimated with injuries you are essentially screwed unless you are using live editor, and this is one of the reasons why Portugal is not top of the list.  It also takes 5 years to gain citizenship.  My recommendation is loan them to a team in the third tier or lower where the roster rules are much more lax compared to the top two fights, and use some form of live editor to ensure that they develop properly.
  5. Belgium – most of the top flight clubs in this nation has been scouting Africa in recent years looking for bargain prospects to bring in on their 18th birthday.  While these clubs are highly competitive, they are more interesting in flipping prospects for big profit – where in real life a $75K purchase of a player that got sold two seasons later for $18M.  While they focus on developing young players, they often take in non EU players on loan – because the foreign player rules are very lax.  The drawback is 5 years of residing in this nation – continuously – which puts it below Portugal.
  6. Norway – while the domestic top flight talent is god awful due to its relatively strict home grown rules, its UEFA ranking is on par with Belarus and Serbia, and there is a lot of parity in the top flight.  Every now and then a team does hit the group stage of the Champions League.  Lately this nation has been serving more of a de facto work permit feeder league for Premier League teams.  While the nation does have a homegrown requirement, it is clear that the foreign player rules are lax (9 player limit per 25 man squad), and the clubs are more focused in flipping top talent.  It does take 5 years to gain citizenship so most of the top European clubs prefer to loan them at 18 and leave them there until 24-25. Manchester City has gone this route with their African prospects.

The worst UEFA nations to set up feeder clubs:

  1. Spain.  In FM17, the new nationality rules took effect, essentially taking away the Spanish low division feeder club live editor exploit.  It now requires 10 years of continued residency and with very strict rules regarding non EU players on top of that (2 per 25 man roster in both La Liga and La Liga 2 – thus the reason to use low division clubs), makes this nation less desirable.
  2. Italy.  Like Spain has the strict non EU players rule and the 10 year citizenship, but it does allow for a larger roster size.
  3. France.  Only allows 2 non EU players, but allows for a roster of 99 and 5 years to gain citizenship.
  4. Germany.  Roster rules regarding non EU players are somewhat lax, but 10 years to gain nationality is the bummer.  The German language itself has gone somewhat extinct in this league as in real life the Bundlesliga uses English as an official language.  (German schools also mandate all students to take English classes until graduation.)
  5. Israel.  This UEFA nation is actually in the Asian continent right there in the ultra chaotic Middle East and will never join the EU. (It only ended up in UEFA because of political pressures, and it is why in real life UEFA never plays nice when fans make political statements in their matches.) As such, you will never see citizens of Israel ever play in England unless they got dual EU nationality.

USA 5 Tier Pyramid for #FM17

Here is a USA Custom League that makes 5 tiers playable, now available on the Steam Workshop.


  • Addition of the MLS Expansion teams
  • Corrected affiliation agreements
  • Clubs may freely transfer players between B Clubs and Academy Clubs that they own
  • Merger of NASL and USL into a Single Division 2 league
  • Removal of the US Cup
  • Lack of promotion/relegation system based in real life (USA culture treats lower tiers like a minor league system similar to baseball)
  • MLS Clubs have salary cap of 6.5M
  • Rules regarding homegrown in the top 2 tiers
  • PDL is a U23 league that allows 3 overage players
  • USADA is U19 league
  • NPSL allows over 19 players with a limit.


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Notes: still not gotten the USA/Canada not being foreign worked out – will come at a later update along with more affiliation updates.

Conte 3-4-3 Premier League

Been fooling around with a new tactic based on recent success by Antonio Conte at Chelsea. It is a relatively simple 3-4-3, used due to the weaknesses in the back and midfield at Chelsea and it has yielded 5 straight clean sheets in real life.



While the instruction is to play narrow, the ball playing defenders try to intercept the pass and get it cleared out of the area to the midfield.

Below you may download the file for the tactic:

Steam Workshop

#FM17 – youth development and Brexit

Since Brexit is factored in Football Manager 2017 there will be adjustments for clubs based in the UK when it comes to youth development.


The Brexit can begin anywhere from 2 to 10 years after the start of your save.  In the first season it is very important to sign as many cheap young EU talent that you can find – there is some prospects in Spain on Amateur contracts that are ripe for purchase – and some of them are FL Championship potential.

When Brexit occurs, the priority now becomes homegrown youth development, especially if scenario 2 or 3 is used.  Scenario 3 is “hard” Brexit, and that will make football down in the Conference North/South just as important as football in the Premier League.

This screenshot shows scenario 1, the soft Brexit with “business as usual” for England clubs regarding EU players.

This article shows scenario 2, where existing players in England are grandfathered, but new players must obtain work permits.

This screenshot shows scenario 3, the hard Brexit with no grandfather clause given to existing EU players playing in England.


Terminate (or allow the contracts to expire) on your U23 and U18 head coach.  If the head of youth development is also the U18 head coach, remove him from that position.  You need to be in control of your youth team and reserve team playing time and if possible, individual training.  Being the head coach allows you to do that.

What type of prospects that you should be signing actually remains unchanged from Football Manager 2016.  For the Premier League teams, you want to sign players that have FL Championship Potential as those players are likely top flight potential for any other nation in the world.



For personalities, it is Ambitious, Fairly Ambitious, Professional, Fairly Professional, Determined, Fairly Determined, and Driven.  While Balanced is okay, just don’t waste your time with any other personality.

However, the most important aspect with UK clubs will be upgrading the facilities for both training and youth.  For a few clubs this will not be a priority (Burton, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United) but for everyone else it got to be done.  It is best to approach the board just after the end of the season when it is more likely that there is money available and with the players on vacation the crews can get in and start upgrading.  Since the average upgrade can get into the 5M to 10M range later on, the board is more inclined to approved the upgrade requests in late May than at any point in the midseason.  It may be wise to alternate the years you upgrade until you hit the max levels, as there is a cooldown on when you can make another board request.  Later in your save you can upgrade youth recruitment and add some feeder clubs, but that is not a priority at the beginning.

Notable #FM17 changes

Here is some notable changes to #FM17 for the players used to #FM16:

  1. It now takes 10 years to gain Spanish nationality in FM17 for certain groups of players

In #FM16 it only took 2 years for anyone, making Spanish affiliate clubs very valuable for getting around England work permit regulations.  Spanish clubs were exploiting this for bringing in young South American talent and as a result the laws were changed in Spain.  While there are some exceptions to this rule, anyone looking to bring in Brazilian talent to Spain will be in for a shock.

2. Scouting reports in the inbox have been improved in FM 17

I saw this as an welcome change – as you saw their strengths and weaknesses as soon as you get the player report in the inbox.

3. England leaving the EU has been factored in but not for the first two seasons:

Since players that join the clubs prior to this are grandfathered, it becomes very important to bring in cheap EU talent ASAP in this game.  Once Brexit is factored in, it will be very important in upgrading domestic facilitates just to stay competitive as work permits will be impossible to obtain for foreign players unless they are regulars for their national team.  This in turn will put priority on home grown talent and feeder club affiliates and make matches in the England 6th tier as important as matches in the Premier League.  Once the 2017/2018 season ends, Brexit will factor in.

4. Physiotherapy have changed for the better

There is now a club doctor option, which can be used to shorten recovery times of minor injuries and illnesses.  Some injuries now have three treatment choices.  In addition, players that recently returned to full training will be given recommendation of minute limits for matches.