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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Training. While I leave most of the training to the assistants I often take over control of the individual training on positions.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.