How to Maximise your Youth Intakes in FM21

Youth Development is a massive part of everyone's Football Manager save. Developing our youngsters into world beaters brings an almost unparalleled sense of satisfaction, and FM21 gives us more control over the youth development process than ever before. Starting from well before Youth Intake Day, and running through years and years of a Newgen's time with the club, developing youngsters is an engaging and rewarding process.

K19x has come to The Byline to look at the very start of that journey: maximising your Youth Intakes to give you the best chance of unearthing those Wonderkids. 

How to Maximise your Youth Intakes in FM21

I should stress at this point, that even with the best possible Facilities, Staff and infrastructure, there is still an element of chance on Youth Intake Day. That elusive ‘golden generation’ might happen in your first season, or it might never materialise at all…

There are parts of the mix on Youth Intake day that we, as managers, cannot control: your Nation's Youth Rating and Game Importance have an impact on the overall quality of youngsters in that nation. Youth Rating refers to the potential quality and quantity of youngsters coming through, while Game Importance is how highly the country places football in their hierarchy of sport (so, for example, Italy's would probably be higher than that of Australia). We cannot directly affect these, and they are hidden within the game, although they do explain why some nations seem to be Golden Boy factories, both in-game and in real life.

So, what about the things we can control? Facilities and Staff are the key areas here: your facilities affect the Quality and Potential of your Newgens, while your Staff have more influence in developing their personalities before they hit your intake screen. There are three key infrastructure points to maximise here: Youth Facilities, Junior Coaching and Youth Recruitment.

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Youth Facilities

These are the training facilities available to the 'juniors' at your club. 'Juniors' in this sense means the Newgens you're bringing through behind the scenes - your Intake players will use these youth facilities until Intake Day, when they then switch to using the club's training facilities. Improving your Youth Facilities will help to improve the development of your youngsters prior to Intake Day.

Your youth facilities are different to Training Facilities, which are the facilities your players use once they generate on Intake day - these affect the development of your youngsters, and we'll look at that in more detail in a later piece.

Junior Coaching

This is the other side of the Youth Facilities coin, as it were. While your youngsters are developing in your Youth Facilities, they are being coached by your Junior Coaches. Again, I want to stress that this is before Intake Day: We can't hire specific coaches for this, merely continually ask the board to improve it.

Your Youth Facilities and Junior Coaching ratings determine how much your Newgens progress up until Intake day, when their CA and PA is finally set, and they generate into your game.

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Youth Recruitment 

This is slightly different: This relates to how your club goes about finding the youngsters who become your next Golden Generation when Youth Intake Day rolls around. The easiest way to think about this is to imagine that your Youth Recruitment is the network of scouts going round local and national schools and youth setups to recruit the best youngsters to your club. The better your Youth Recruitment, the more likely you are to recruit the best young talents from your nation. It should be said that lower Youth Recruitment ratings don't mean it's impossible to sign the shining stars from each generation, but it certainly makes it more difficult…

So, in summary - before your Youth Intake email even hits your Inbox, there is work we can do to maximise our chances of a 'golden' generation (or even just one good talent) - but that work doesn't just stop there. 

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A good Head of Youth Development can make or break a player's chances really early on: it is vital that we are working with a Head of Youth Development who has a good Personality, and whose preferred styles and formations dovetail with your own plans for the club. This is because your Head of Youth Development influences the 'type' of players produced in each intake. By 'type' I mean the positions and styles that are coming through: If you have someone in the role who favours a technical 4231, you more likely to produce a lot of technical midfielders - or at least more than someone who has likes a more old-fashion Route One 4-4-2 as their Head of Youth Development.

The other impact - and in my opinion the most important - that your Head of Youth Development has on your club, is personality. I don't mean they're great to have as dinner guests either. I'm talking about the impact that your Head of Youth Development has on the personality of your intake players. There is a chance that they can pass on their personality to the youngsters coming through your youth system, so it is important to find someone who has a good personality, as well as matching your technical style and formation.

While there is never any guarantee of quality in a Youth Intake, it is clear that by maximising your Youth Recruitment, Junior Coaching and Youth Facilities, and installing a Head of Youth Development who matches your tactical philosophy and has one of the 'elite' personalities (we all love a Model Citizen), you can increase the likelihood of seeing a ‘golden generation’ come through at your club.

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