Everything you need to know about the youth intake in Football Manager & how clubs produce newgens
”Oh it’s Christmas time, mistletoe and wine
Children singing Christian rhyme”
Around youth intake day I always start humming Christmas songs to myself. The increasing feeling of anticipation and excitement from the day of the intake preview to the actual youth intake day is as close as I get to the build-up to my childhood’s Christmases. The hope of finding a Sega Mega Drive or a He-Man figure is now replaced with the tingling feeling of hope that maybe once the rumours of a golden generation will finally prove to be correct!
Begging for a Mega Drive until my parents gave in might have worked as a child, but it doesn’t make my youth intakes any better. There are ways to increase the quality of the youth intakes though and the first step is to actually understand the mechanics behind them. In this article I’ll explain how the youth intakes work and hopefully give you an idea or two how to maximise your own chances to find a wonderkid under the Christmas tree!
A guide to youth intakes in Football Manager
I’m currently doing a “Youth Academy Challenge” on my Youtube channel with Swedish club Brommapojkarna. In this save I’m only allowed to use players produced in my own academy, which restricts the number of players I can use but puts great emphasis on youth development. Lucky for me, youth development is what I enjoy the most with Football Manager! I like it so much that I decided to make a video about it to accompany this guide!
I will keep this guide general, but I will use examples from my own save to highlight certain aspects.
Let’s start off by looking at the factors that affect the youth intakes in FM21. To simplify things, you can break it down into 3 areas:
- The Nation
- Club facilities
- Head of Youth Development
Nation – How good and how often?
The first factor to take into consideration is which nation the club you are managing comes from. In FM21 every nation has a ”Youth Rating” between 1-200 that determines the average quality of newgens created into game, the higher the better. It also determines the likelihood of a generational player created in that particular nation. You can get a closer insight into the nation’s youth rating in our overview of the scouting regions.
Top 10 ”Youth Rating” nations:
- Brazil (163)
- Germany (155)
- Italy (144)
- France (140)
- Argentina (140)
- Spain (140)
- Egypt (138)
- Turkey (124)
- Holland (122)
- Nigeria (120)
There is no way for you to affect this rating in the game, but at least it can give your hopes of finding the next Pélé a reality check. Brazil is the most likely country for the next generational newgen and will also produce the highest level of newgens generally.
Did you know?
The location of club also affects the type of players you get through your youth intakes. In Brazil, players tend to be more technically gifted and creative (flair and technic), while the Scandinavian players are more hard-working and aggressive and less prone to create unexpected magic. For instance, an Italian fullback will be weighted with better defensive attributes compared to a Brazilian wingback, where his attributes are weighted more towards attacking attributes. These player templates are hidden in the background and will determine what types of player you get at the youth intake in cooperation with the influence the Head of Youth Development got over the intake and his capabilities to create ‘freak newgens’.
You can certainly affect the next important factor though, and that’s Club Facilities.
Three of the club facilities affect the actual youth intake. Youth Recruitment, Youth Facilities and Junior Coaching. One of them determines how good pre-intake players your club can attract and the other two determine how well they develop from that point until the actual youth intake day. You can get a better insight to the different training facilities and its levels in this guide.
Before we look at the Youth Recruitment rating, let me explain the concept of ”pre-intake players”. In the recent versions of Football Manager the newgens aren’t ”born” on youth intake day. No, they are there from an earlier age even though you cannot see them. They are referred to as “Juniors” and are hidden, just like the Professionalism attribute. I like to think of these players as members of the Academy based in youth teams (e.g U14, Y13 and so on), training and fighting to earn a place in your U18s squad. On youth intake day they become available to you, but you can affect their development before that. If they haven’t already been poached from you, that is!
Yes, this is an actual feature in the game. If you are managing a club with a good youth setup but a low reputation, you could see yourself lose Juniors to clubs with a higher reputation! This will show up as a news item like the one above and the player will come through at a future intake for his new club. I lost Melker Jonsson, potential star striker to IFK Göteborg and there’s nothing I could do to stop it.
Did you know?
The likeliness of Junior poaching is not only determined by the reputation of the club but also about the youth recruitment level of your club. A club with exceptional youth recruitment will have a more wide-reach Academy networking that may let you poach players of home and foreign origin on a more regular basis than one with a limited youth recruitment level. These poached Juniors will appear in the game at the next appropriate Youth intake as long as the HoYD considers the player to have developed accordingly to the rest of your Juniors. For instance, a player may have been poached at the age of 14, but won’t come through or appear in the game until they will turn 16 within that season. It all depends on the minimum age allowed within the nation.
Now, let’s move on to the stuff you can actually affect.
Youth Recruitment – Your place in the Pecking Order
Every club has a ”Youth Recruitment” Rating between 1-20. It can be described as how good a club is at recruiting Juniors to their youth teams. Ie the club’s place in the pecking order when it comes to getting players from the national pool. The clubs with the highest rating nationally and regionally get the best players. There are exceptions to this, you can still get a great player as a club with a lower rating, but this is how it works in general terms.
The Youth Recruitment rating is displayed in-game like this:
1-2 = Limited
3-5 = Basic
6-8 = Fairly Basic
9-11 = Adequate
12-14 = Average
15-16 = Good
17-18 = Excellent
19-20 = Exceptional
The Youth Recruitment can be raised through interactions with the board, but it will be a costly and time-consuming project, especially for a club on small budget.
Junior Coaching – Your quality and quantity of coaches for pre-intake players
Once the pre-intake players arrive at that hidden back room at your training ground, it’s time to get to work. How high your ”Junior Coaching” rating represents the quality and quantity of coaches for your Juniors. This, together with “Youth Facilities”, will determine how much your Juniors develop until they become available to you on youth intake day. The rating ranges from 1-20 but is displayed in-game like this:
1-2 = Basic
3-5 = Fairly Basic
6-9 = Average
10-13 = Adequate
14-16 = Good
17-19 = Excellent
20 = Exceptional
Youth Facilities – Your quality of training facilities for pre-intake players
The “Youth Facilities” rating represents the training facilities available for your Juniors. Together with Junior Coaching, this affects how much your Juniors will develop. Just like with the other ratings it ranges from 1-20, but is displayed slightly differently:
1-3 = Poor
4-5 = Basic
6-7 = Below Average
8-9 = Adequate
10-11 = Average
12-13 = Good
14-15 = Great
16-17 = Excellent
18-19 = Superb
20 = State of the Art
If you increase ”Youth Recruitment” you will get better pre-intake players, and if you increase ”Junior Coaching” and “Youth Facilities”, your pre-intake players will develop more until the youth intake day. Sounds easy? Well, facilities are not all that matters though. No, the man (or woman) in charge plays a big part as well!
Head of Youth Development – ”The Godfather”
Your Head of Youth Development is the staff member responsible for youth intakes and basically everything that happens before that. Therefore I like to look at him as the ”Godfather” of your Academy. With great power to recruit Juniors, help them develop and then send them to the youth intake day. But with great power comes great responsibilities! How can we help our HoYD help the kids?
This is the HoYD I’m using in my save. Recently retired player Mattias Moström. He ticks several boxes for me, even though he isn’t ideal. He is the best one I can find with my club reputation, and I’m going to explain in what way.
Three things are more important than others for your Head of Youth Development:
- Preferred Formation and Playing Style
The ”Working With Youngsters” attribute is important in the development of Juniors, as well as ”Determination”, ”Level of Discipline” and ”Motivating”. The higher the attributes, the more he will improve the players.
”Judging Player Ability” and ”Judging Player Potential” are also important. They reflect the ability of the Head of Youth Development to assess the players at two times; first at the youth intake preview and then on the actual intake day. You can learn more about the Head of the Youth Development staff role in Football Manager and his responsibilities in this guide.
The intake preview is a rough estimate of what you can expect from your actual intake this season. The better the HoYD is at assessing this, the more accurate the predictions will be. The assessment is based both on quality and quantity for different positions of your intake players, so make sure you read all the lines. Green text is for positive assessments and yellow for the negatives. We all love to find the line of text ”This is a terrific group of players coming through, and has the potential to be a golden generation”. Don’t read too much into that though, since that is only your HoYD’s way of telling you that a high enough number of players are coming through that are above a certain CA/PA level. It doesn’t say anything about the ceiling of these groups in terms of CA/PA. Instead, you should focus on green sentences describing player quality. If we look at my intake preview above, the sentences ”Looks a great prospect”, ”has the potential to go far” and ”has caught the eye” are descriptions of individuals worth looking at! So, this means that I will most likely get a decent goalkeeper, defensive midfielder and striker from the next intake.
The HoYD’s personality has the potential to rub off on the pre-intake players, like a mentor in a mentoring group. Do you have a ”Model Citizen” as a HoYD? Then chances are higher that you will see players with the same personality turning up on youth intake day!
My HoYD Mattias Moström has a “Driven” personality, which means that his Determination is at least 18 and his Ambition at least 12. Two important attributes when it comes to player development. He is lacking a bit of Professionalism though. If he would have had a Professionalism attribute of at least 14, he would have had a “Perfectionist” personality instead. Two out of three is as good as I can get in a HoYD at the moment, but ideally, you would want a “Model Citizen” or “Perfectionist”, since they guarantee high values in Determination, Ambition and Professionalism.
The personality of your other youth coaches are also said to have a smaller effect on the personalities of players coming through, but in reality the head of youth development will count double.
Preferred Formation and Playing style
Except for personality and attributes, there are more factors to consider when you pick a HoYD. The HoYD’s Preferred formation and Playing style also affect the sort of players you get through your youth intake. The Preferred formation determines the positions of players coming through. My HoYD’s Preferred Formation is a 5-3-2, which suits me well since I’m using a tactic without wingers in my Brommapojkarna save. This makes it less probable for wingers to come through in my intakes.
The HoYD’s Playing Style affects the sort of players you get through. With a technical playing style you get more technical players etc. My HoYD uses a standard playing style which means that we will have a more general style of players coming through, determined by the player type of the region as mentioned earlier in the article. Since I’m playing a more technical style of football, I would have liked a more technical playing style as well, but you can’t get everything with the budget I have!
Youth intake day
On the actual youth intake day you get more information than from the preview.
You get to meet the players and you get to know a lot about them, like their attributes, age, preferred foot etc. You also get a review of their current and potential ability in the form of a star rating. Don’t read too much into these star ratings though, as they don’t represent the true CA and PA of your players. They are merely representations of perceived current ability (PCA) and potential ability (PPA). I will not go into more detail on what affects PCA and PPA more than the fact that your HoYD’s JPA and JPP play a part.
Do you remember my prediction of getting a decent goalkeeper, defensive midfielder and striker? Let’s see what we got!
A 5-star potential defensive midfielder, a 4.5-star potential striker, and a 4-star potential goalkeeper. Exactly as predicted by my HoYD. He seems to have a good enough JPA and JPP to get his predictions right! He also states having shaped the mentality of Victor Johansson (Determined) and Cristian Moreno (Fairly Professional).
Finally I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but I actually think the JPA and JPP of your HoYD are even more important than you think! I think these attributes come into play when he recruits the pre-intake players as well! So, having a HoYD with high JPA and JPP helps you get better Juniors regardless of your ”Youth Recruitment” rating!
That’s all for this guide into Youth Intakes in Football Manager. What you do with them once they arrive in your U19s is a completely different story!
I hope you enjoyed this guide and that it gave you a few insights into how youth intakes work in Football Manager!
This article was written by @Mikaelinho. you can find more content of his on his Youtube or join his Twitch streams to interact with him whilst playing Football Manager.
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