I’ve always considered myself quite good at finding the right newgens for my team. In fact, it’s probably one of the aspects about FM that I enjoy the most. Finding a young starlet and developing him to his full potential. I sometimes jokingly refer to it as newgen hunting. In my head, I imagine myself being a sort of Steve Irwin, creeping up on unsuspecting footballers. “Crikey! That’s a big one! He might play at centre-back!”
Whilst I leave you struggling to rid yourself of the mental image of me tigering through the bush, preying on unsuspecting footballers, allow me to explain what this blog post is about. I want to describe, in as much detail as possible, the strategies I use to track down newgens and establish valuable signings from overrated crap.
Where and when to look for them?
Where to look; the usual suspects
A good hunter knows where to find his prey and a good newgen hunter is no exception to this rule. When you’re hunting for talented players it pays off when you know which clubs have a habit of producing talented players. These are often big clubs in a country, but there a few unexpected entries in the list for best youth academies in the game. I’m not going to bore you with a copy and paste job and instead just link you to a fairly comprehensive list you can find here, on MyPassion4Footballmanager.
Where to look; youth tournaments
One of those aspects people tend to overlook is the fact that scouts can be sent out to scout specific competitions. That means you are able to scout the various youth leagues of each and every nation. What makes even more sense is when you scout the various international youth tournaments. These tend to be the better players a nation has, playing in a single tournament. Various European clubs also compete in a youth Champions League and an Italian Invitational Youth tournament, all worth scouting.
Where and when to look; the yearly intakes
Outlined below is the date list for when newgens are created in each country allowing you to have a jump on the AI controlled clubs by getting in early to scout, evaluate and sign these newgens. Setting the important nations for your save up as a note in your manager notebook might a good idea to remind you that a new batch of players has been generated in that particular nation.
27.1 – Costa Rica
28.1 – Honduras, Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Netherlands Antilles, Suriname, St Vincent, Guyana, Grenada, El Salvador, Cuba & Bermuda
23.2 – Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzeg., Estonia, FYR Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Georgia, Andorra, Albania, American Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Armenia & Malta
2.3 – Mexico
7.3 – Australia, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine & Wales
12.3 – Austria & England
16.3 – Slovakia
17.3 – Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Cyprus & Indonesia
19.3 – Bulgaria, Slovenia & Romania
25.3 – Denmark & Netherlands
28.3 – Serbia & Spain
2.4 – Argentina, South Africa & India
18.4 – Uruguay
7.5 – Mali
6.6 – Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela & Trinidad & Tobago
20.8 – Sweden & Hong Kong
27.8 – Canada, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, U.A.E, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Macau, Yemen, Thailand, Tajikistan, Syria, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Palestine, Pakistan, Oman, Northern Mariana Islands, Nepal, N. Korea, Mynamar, Mongolia, Maldives, Macau (China PR), Laos, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Guam, East Timor, Chinese Taipei, Cambodia, Brunei, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Bahrain & Bangladesh
29.8 – Burundi
2.9 – Malaysia
7.9 – Chad
18.9 – Chile
19.9 – Brazil
20.9 – Russia, South Korea & U.S.A
22.9 – Iceland & Republic of Ireland
24.9 – Finland
27.9 – Colombia & Singapore
2.10 – African teams (I’ve found this to be true if you don’t have any African xml’s loaded. If you do then dates tend to vary)
7.10 – China PR & Norway
15.10 – Peru
1.11 – Belarus
Helping you remember the intake dates; creating notes
If you’re anything like me, these dates tend to slip your mind. That’s why any manager worth his salt will create reminders for himself. Missing out on that one talented player could prove costly. FM offers a system that lets you create automated notes.
Creating notes is fairly simple. First, you click on the calendar, mentioned as Step 1 in the screenshot below.
Next, you click the full calendar option, marked as Step 2 in the same screenshot. This pulls up an entirely new menu. You want to click on the drop down menu, located top right. This pulls down the various months of the year.
After scrolling to the date you wish to enter a note for, for instance January 27th for Costa Rica newgens, you can click on yet another down down menu for that date, which opens up a number of possibilities.
Naturally, you will opt for the Create a Note option. Selecting this options pulls up a screen which enables you to create the note.
Create the note, as displayed in the screenshot above. Don’t forget to view the buttons on the bottom right. Be sure to make the reminder a yearly occassion, so you don’t have to create the same note every year over.
How to look; making scouting easy
The easiest way to check the yearly intakes is not by clicking on each individual club. No, there’s a pretty much foolproof method ingrained right into the FM game-mechanics. It’s a bit hidden and in my eyes, one of the best kept secrets of the series. I didn’t find out about it until FM14 came out and I know there are many others who didn’t and don’t know about it.
When you click the globe icon on your menu-bar, it pulls up the menu displayed above. You want to click on the Transfers tab next.
At this point, you just click the continent you wish to scout or opt for world if you’re not that picky. This pulls up all the transfers from this continent or the entire world within a specific month. Fortunately, we can apply another filter.
We can see every youth intake within this period, which allows us to scout them all. A second little suggestion here. You can use multi-select by holding shift and click on the first and last player in the list. You can select and scout upto 500 players at once this way. Prepare to have your inbox flooded with scouting reports.
What to look for when you find them?
Key stats for his position/role
As with every statistic ever, you have to know how to interpret them if you want to gain any useful knowledge. In the flurry of information a player profile offers, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. First impressions can be deceiving. Let’s look at our case study to prove my point.
Francois Delannoy looks like an amazing talent initially. Given the fact that I am a top club already, a four star rating is not easily achieved. His pedigree seems to check out as well. PSG is a big club, so the chance that he’s a genuine top notch talent is definitely there. So why would his stats be deceiving?
When we look at his actual stats, we can see his talents don’t really match the position he plays in. This lad would be much better off playing in midfield. A player with a silky-smooth first touch and superb technique, but not too strong in the air and lacking in the mental department when it comes to what, given his position, should be his primary task; defending.
Whilst it is true that his stats can be improved by training and tutoring, he doesn’t seem to be a natural defender. The offensive part of his game is much better developed than his defensive skill-set. His best role would be that of a Ball-Playing Defender, but he needs quite a lot of work before he’s good enough to break into first team. He could probably be re-trained into a midfielder, which seems to suit his skill-set a lot better, but either way, you’re going to have a lot of work on your hands before you can get value out of this player, which seems a considerable risk for a player who will surely be an expensive acquisition.
To summarise, when you are scouting for new players, you want to look for the attributes they need in the positions or roles they are playing in. A player who is brilliant at a lot of things, except for the things you need him to do in the position he plays in, is ultimately not the kind of player who makes your team stronger.
Personality; The development curve
One of the more elusive yet at the same time important factors is the development curve you expect your newgen to go through. You want a player who can develop into a star and sometimes underdeveloped youngsters with the right attitude and stats can turn into little diamonds, but how do you see which players are worth signing?
In the past, like so many other managers, I believed that the progression of newgens was mostly determined by their determination. After reading excellent research by Shrewnaldo and Maestro Ugo (the research can be found here and here), I learned that professionalism is the driving factor behind the development of newgens. Sadly, it’s a hidden factor, but I have copied a graphic from Shrew’s work to showcase the importance.
The figure below shows the varied increase in a player’s attributes where 4 identical players were created with every attribute set to 10 except for professionalism which was set to 1, 8, 14 and 20 for Pupils A to D respectively.
As I mentioned earlier, the professionalism is a hidden attribute, which makes it pretty darn difficult to see which players we need to sign. Fortunately, the personality of a player offers us some insight into the level of professionalism a player has. For a brief guide on personalities, I’d like to refer you to this guide right here. This guide in itsself pretty much shows you which personalities you should go for.
When we apply this to our case study of Francois Delannoy, we see more evidence as to why the young Frenchman may look like an amazing signing at first glance, but could turn out to be a costly mistake. His development would be mainly driven by his personality, but when we look at his personality, we can see it’s not a favorable one.
A casual personality means low professionalism and low determination. Whilst the latter is really not all that important, it is often tied in with the former. Players with higher determination do tend to have a decent level of professionalism. If you’re really interested in the exact numbers for a certain type of personality, you should look at this guide right here.
To summarise, we are looking for players with high professionalism. This means looking at their personalities and there are a few personalities we really want to look out for:
- Model citizen;
- Model professional;
Those are the personalities that are certain to guarantee a high degree of professionalism, whereas the other personalities are not necessaribly bad ones, but not sure-fire winners like these ones. Please note that I realise you can change a players personality by means of tutoring, but it doesn’t hurt to scout in advance for favorable personality traits.
Make trawling reports easy; The right view
So there are a great deal of factors to take into account. Are we supposed to manually click on each and every player to see how they hold up? Nope, not really. A custom view goes a long way. Just tweak the current view FM gives you, add some important factors and you can get a decent impression at first glance. When you want more information, you can always click the profile again.
This view offers us all the information we want to see, except for the positional attributes. There are too many variables here to include them all into a single view, so if you do want to see this information, I recommend you click on the profile and check manually. This view does help in filtering the players available.