Football Manager Guide to Youth Intakes - what are they?
It's everybodys dream to get a 5 star regen in the yearly youth intake, a promising talent who can develop into the new Lionel Messi, next Cristiano Ronaldo or even have the current ability to feature in the first team from time to time as a sub.
Youth intakes, are quite simply acquiring new players in Football Manager – so called regens – through your youth system. This happens once a season, on a different date depending on the country. It is easy to spot in game as a message in your inbox will appear – for example: "Real Madrid announce intake of new youth players". You can see the full list of all the youth intake days for Football Manager and FMC in this list to regen dates.
How do I get a good youth intake?
The players you take in to your club will differ in potential, but there are ways of ensuring that you will get more quality players than not. This will depend on your clubs reputation and facilities.
Important facilities, when developing your own players are as follows in descending order of importance;
1) Junior coaching
2) Youth recruitment
3) What staff you choose to handle intakes
4) Scouting network/knowledge
5) Youth facilities
I will now cover each of them explaining the different mechanisms that influence youth intakes. Most of your current level of facilities can be found in your club overview screen menu – facilities sub-menu.
Junior coaching - Increase Current Ability of Regens produced
Junior Coaching, is in my opinion, one of the most important facilities when it comes to developing better youth talents, and is an important facility to upgrade in the Talent Factory Challenge.
Junior Coaching is a term for how good all the regens in your youth recruitment program have been trained and developed before they enter your club through youth intake. Having a better coaching team of junior coaches will affect the regens average level in regard to current ability. By spending more money in this area it will make the regens to a closer level to the reserve team, or even a potential option for the first team bench. This will give you an opportunity to introduce them faster to higher levels of football, enchancing their development.
As seen in the screen above my current level of junior coaching with AFC Wimbledon is excellent.
All available levels of junior coaching are as follows, in order from worst to best:
Youth recruitment - Increase Potential Ability of Regens produced
The youth recruitment can be explained as the scouting range of the regens that are coming into your youth academies. In other words, it determines how broad the area you secure youngsters from is, depending on your level of youth recruitment facilities. It can vary from recruiting from your local area to the entire world!
While junior coaching influences the levels of current ability of your regens, the youth recruitment increases the chances of getting players with more potential. The different levels of youth recruitment are as follows, from worst to best:
- Fairly Basic
- Above Average
- Well Established
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, your club reputation will be of importance if you want to upgrade your current youth recruitment levels, as well as stable finances to cover the expenses. Clubs like Hayes & Yeading will never be able to have high levels for youth recruitment, compared to a club like Juventus. There is a huge difference in reputation between a non-league club and a Serie A champion. It is fairly logical as well – you don't need extensive recruitment at H&Y, as you will never be able to attract and recruit youngsters from other countries or continents. If you are Juventus on the other hand, you will. In other words – who would you rather play for, Juventus or Hayes & Yeading? (Unless you're a local who supports H&Y, of course...)
Again, have a look at my facilities at AFC Wimbledon. It says fairly basic youth recruitment, and it rightly reflects it, as I get players from a broader area than just Wimbledon, with youngster coming from other cities and even nearby countries like Wales or Ireland.
Head of Youth development - The Importance of Backroom Staff
With the release of Football Manager 2013 a new backroom staff role was introduced: The Head of Youth Development will supervise the youngsters in training and give you feedback on their training progress. The Head of Youth Development will act as a coach for your youth players, but is also able to handle youth intakes.
A successful youth intake will simply come down to his personality and judging ability by deciding which player who will make the youth squad from the intake and who he recommends you to sign. I primarily look at his judging player potential attribute, so that he can pick the youngsters with highest potential from the intake. Secondarily I look at his coaching attributes with working with youngsters being the most important, so that he may be a good addition on the training ground as well. Tactical knowledge attribute is a nice bonus, so that he may pick youngsters who would fit my tactical system in the future.
You can read more about what this staff role requires in regard to the most important staff attributes and who can be described as good personnel for this staff role.
Even though it is advantageous to sign a head of youth development staff member, you can also choose other staff members to handle the youth intake such as the assistant manager, under-18 Manager or Director of Football. You can decide who shall handle the youth intake at the staff responsibilities and section Youth Development. Personally I choose the Head of Youth Development staff member for this task, as it's what the staff role is intended for.
An example of, and my favorite Head of Youth Development staff member is Phil Cannon from Blackburn.
In additional to the personality and mental attributes of the backroom staff members is his preferred formation. It could be advantageous to make sure the backroom staff members responsible for youth intake has a similar preferred formation as yours, if you are looking to increase the chances of getting a specific player type for a certain position.
Youth Facilities - Better Youth Training Facilities
This factor is not a main issue in regard to this topic but is an important part of youth development and our Football Manager Challenge Talent Factory.
Youth facilities can be described as the training facilities used by the players currently in your youth team. Good youth facilities will help your youth players improve more and influences their current ability and make them able to increase the probability to reach their potential ability in additional to other factors in youth development. Youth facilities are a described rating for how good the club is to improve their youths and regens current ability.
For a manager who favours youth development this factor will be "more important" than training facilities, as it is here the talented youngsters will spend one of the most important time in their player development progress. It's in the youth training facilities that they will train on a daily basis, so top facilities will boost their training performance and growth in attributes. In addition better youth facilities will boost your reputation (this also applies to training facilities), which will give you a higher possibility of acquiring good players and boosting your youth recruitment level. They are, however, quite expensive to develop if you're managing a lower club, and it is therefore better to focus on junior coaching if you're short on funds.
Scouting Network and Scouting Knowledge
Scouting is also very important for increasing the amount of future regens from the intake. Scouting knowledge and setting up your scouting network is two important elements to increase the pool of new talents and transfer targets. But in regard to the youth intake, scouting is also of highly importance! Read on to get to know some secrets you might not be aware of in regard to this issue.
There are two terms in this section. When we talk about scouting network we refer to the squad of scouts and chief scout who travel the world in search for new talent and perhaps some exciting targets.
The scouting knowledge is a clubs knowledge level for a specific nation or a specific region.
In the matter of youth intakes and increasing the probability of getting better regens, your scouting knowledge is of great importance. It is a deciding factor in finding suitable talents, combined with having a good youth recruitment program.
As you can see from the screenshot of the scouting knowledge of Wimbledon in 2018, my board is yet to allow me scouting of the entire world, but I am able to scout Europe, and I'm doing just that. I have maxed out my knowledge of several countries in Europe, some through scouting and some through the knowledge of my backroom staff, such as Ruud van Nistelrooy who has given me full knowledge of Spain and Holland.
Q: So what does this have to do with recruitment?
A: A lot! Since the possibility of acquiring youngsters from abroad is higher once you max out your knowledge of a country.
Here is a great example:
The Yearly Youth Intake day has arrived!
We'll leave our basic guide to youth intakes in Football Manager and let FootyManagerTv have his say about how he handles youth intakes with this great video. In this Youtube video you will get more tips and hints about squad management and how to spot the best players in the yearly youth intake! So a big thanks to FootyManagerTv!
This covers our tips on how to handle youth intakes. Remember that youth players with high potential will not succeed without guidance. The same applies to youngsters with lower potential, eventually becoming much better than predicted. It all comes down to training, loans and you introducing your players to first team football. Here is a good example. This English regen started with 2 star potential, and look at how he progressed!
You can find all the new youth players coming through the yearly youth intake in their own sub-section of the Under-18/19 team. Just locate the tab Youth Candidates and see the assistant manager's recommendation and reports of all the players current and potential ability.
How to develop youth players in the correct manner will be covered in a future article.
We hope you enjoy our tips on Youth intakes and how to increase the probability of getting better regens. You can share your own tips in the comment field below! Have a fantastic Football Manager weekend!
Thanks to Daniel Hübner and FootyManagerTv for sharing their Football Manager experience.