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Football Manager 2012 – The Best Wonderkids Eleven!

Written by on Monday, 21 November 201129 Comments

Every year, a new football manager. Every year, new players to scout. But who are the best ones to go for? Which players should you go completely out of your way to grab? This is Soccer Gaming’s complete list of the best young talent available in the game. So when you’re about to start up your next FM2012 session, it would be best to have this list in mind – and put aside a few million to ensure that you’ll have the best squad around in five-ten years.

What follows is a fictional team comprising of eleven players all aged eighteen or younger – ie, all players who can be put in the youth team for at least one season. They’ve been fit into a traditional diamond four-four-two formation, my favourite play-style, with specific roles noted below. The list also comes with a substitute bench just in case you needed more. Prices are what I had to pay in my game, though naturally they may vary somewhat in yours. Without further ado, here are Soccer Gaming’s essential buys for your youth team in Football Manager 2012!

GK: Jack Butland, 18, £1.9million

Starts off as a youth team goalkeeper who wouldn’t get a shout in the first team. Would take a few seasons before he’s good enough to play in the Championship, approx six seasons before he’ll be a good lower-table Premiership goalkeeper. At 28, he’s a solid top-four goalkeeper.

DR: Romario, 17, £700K

Just a really good right-back. Can also play as a wing-back but lacks the attacking ability to be a substantial threat right away – instead, employ on auto. At 24, his physical attributes alone will be worth their weight in gold. Does eventually become an unstoppable wing-back at 28, though at this point you should retrain him in the MR position and play as a winger.

DC: Tomas Kalas, 18, £5million

Quickly becomes very good. By 2014 he’ll be a backup in your team, by 2016 he’ll be a first team player. May want a backup contract to start with, but his wage demands aren’t too high so he’s worth the outlay. I recently sold him for £37.75million in 2019, so there’s your proof.

DC: Giuseppe Pestia, 17, £1.7million

Another solid DC. Pestia could turn out to be the best in the game, but in mine he had lots of injuries and so I can’t tell you for sure. By all accounts could be a key player in your team, but he never reached his potential on my game. Maybe give him a specific training schedule that’s less intense. Just a thought.

DL: Jack Robinson, 17, £16.75million

The valuation is a bit of a guess as I tend to play as Liverpool and thus can’t be certain, but that’s as high an offer I got for him in his development. Robinson eventually becomes worth the outlay – though it takes him a while, he will become one of the best DLs in the game.

DMC: Lorenzo Crisetig, 18, £250K

Easily turns into one of the best DMCs in the game, his development does take a little while but it’s worth it if you like having a deep-lying playmaker. Quickly becomes good enough to play as an anchor man as well.

MR: Raheem Sterling, 16, £10million

Raheem has finally been recognised as one of the brightest young talents in Britain by the FM team. I turned down an offer of £10million from Chelsea for him in 2015, hence the valuation. Becomes an unstoppable winger, explosive and equal to Messi in 2020.

ML: Lucas Moura, 18, £27million

A bit of a pricey one, this youngster. Sao Paulo actually ask for around £50million to begin with, so keep him on your radar for the first couple of seasons. Sooner rather than later he’ll want to move to a bigger club and that’s when you can grab him for less. The board actually intervened on my game when I made the £27million bid in 2013, so really his age should be noted as 20. Still, he’ll go straight into your first team and can turn into one of the top five players on your game by 2020. Very good when employed as a winger – but if you go 4-3-3 I would suggest playing both Moura and Sterling as inside forwards.

AMC: Leandro, 18, £10million

Leandro is a really useful player, not least because he’s capable of playing AMRLC or even as a ST. Nonetheless, when used right his ideal position is AMC, specifically as an advanced playmaker. A relatively large outlay but easily worth the money. Similar to Eriksen or Pjanic on FM2011.

ST: Erick Torres, 18, £4million

A player that is frustratingly named if you’re a Liverpool fan. Can also play as an AMC, but you’d be mad to. Becomes a genius defensive forward or an above-average complete forward by 2016. In a 4-3-3 formation with Moura and Sterling, employ him as a deep-lying forward on support duty and watch his assists rack up.

ST: Carlos Fierro, 16, £1.2million

Fierro has the potential to be a very good player. Snap him up early because he’s a great substitute by 2014 against lower-league teams. He’s also very good in important matches, so if you bring him on against Chelsea there’s a chance he’ll do well. Needless to say, in ten years he’s the best out-and-out advanced forward in the game. He’s got the exact perfect stats for that position, no doubt. Pairs up brilliantly with Torres.


SUB 1: Laurentiu Branescu, 17, GK, £1million

He’ll never beat Butland to the number one jersey, but he’s oddly happy with Carling Cup matches and otherwise being a backup… for the most part. You will have to sell him in the end as, eventually, he gets sick of sitting on the bench. But you’ll get a lot for him and, who knows, on your game he may develop faster than Butland and therefore be a better first choice for a while.

SUB 2: Kara, 21, DC/DMC/CM, £1million

Okay, this one is cheating somewhat, he’s 3 years over the limit. But he’s just ridiculous – Currently the best player in my team as either DC or DMC. Just a brick wall that strikers can’t get past, and hardly ever misplaces a pass. Excellent player.

SUB 3: Ross Barkley, 17, CM, £18million

A good, solid CM if you want to play a traditional 4-4-2 style formation. Versatile enough to be put on the auto CM setting and work quite effectively alongside a playmaker, but you should think about playing him as a box-to-box midfielder by the time he’s 25. Doesn’t have a lot of pace, but that benefits him as he gets involved in plays more and has a good stamina.

SUB 4: Mateo Kovacic, 17, CM, £4.9million

Can also play as an attacking midfielder, but works substantially better as a CM on attack setting. Again, should be played alongside a playmaker as he doesn’t link up with Barkley very well – worth signing at any rate (as he develops faster than many of the other players on this list) but would work best in a Christmas Tree formation.

SUB 5: Muhammed Demirci, 16, AMRLC, £1.5million

I love any player who can be in attacking midfield and work well on the left, right or centre, as it benefits my typical approach – start 4-4-2 diamond, change to 4-3-3 if it isn’t going well. He never really fulfilled his potential in my game, but he still gets a lot of games due to his versatility as a substitute. A safe bet, but he won’t rock your world.

SUB 6: Andy Polo, 16, AMRL/ST, 500K

Andy Polo is a cheeky boy. He starts off with very little to recommend him, save for some nice pace, acceleration and stamina stats for a youngster. It’s the little things however, and an above-average work rate and flair, coupled with being equally adept with his left or right foot, seems to suggest that he could be a star. You have to wait a few years, but by 2015 he’s a good player for the Carling Cup. By 2018 he’s fantastic cover for Sterling and Moura, and by 2020 he’s a star by his own right. A really amazing winger, not so good as an inside forward however, so bear that in mind. Works in a 4-4-2 using wingers.

SUB 7: Adam Campbell, 16, ST £2.8million

And finally, we have Adam Campbell – this year’s overrated English youngster. A bold statement I know, as we have both Flanagan and Sterling on this list with high ratings – but at least both of those Liverpool players have at least begun to show signs of class, whereas Campbell has very little to recommend him. Still, it’s worth taking advantage of the fact and Campbell will be the best poacher in the game by 2020. You’ll get him on your top scorer list often!

…and that’s it! The Wonderkid Eleven, presented by Soccer Gaming! Did I miss anyone out who’s become brilliant in your game? If so, tell us about your top eleven in the comments below.