So far the guides on this blog have covered finding great youth talent. But what about developing these prospects into world-beating players? Well, this guide should help you along that process. I’ll start by laying out what sort of contract to offer your youth players and how to avoid some common glitches, before moving on to how to actually develop the players.
*NOTE* I would recommend creating a backup save before you offer any contracts to youth players. If the contracts are declined quit, reload the backup save and try again with an improved contract offer. That way you avoid wasting what could be valuable time. Secondly, if you intend to send young players out on loan, create a backup save at the start of the transfer window. If you get no offers then reload and try again (although see point 3, especially the bit about a player’s age).
When you go into the Youth Squad screen you will see that the ages of all your youth players are listed. If a player is 16 or over they will have a green tick under the heading ‘eligible’. This means that the player is old enough to be offered a contract and join your first team.
If you press A (or X on the Playstation) you can go into the ‘offer contract’ screen. This is where you set out the terms of a contract with the player. Here you can set the weekly wage for the player, the length of the contract and the bonus per goal scored or clean sheet kept by the player. There is also a section where your Chief Executive suggests what you should offer the player. Interestingly, the weekly wage the Chief Executive suggests is often much lower than the default amount already entered into the ‘Salary (per week)’ area – for example, on my screen right now is a youth player whose suggested wage (by the Chief Exec) is £1,000 a week, but the default amount is £6,000 a week.
Here is my first piece of advice – totally ignore what the Chief Executive says. For a start, if you take the Chief Exec’s advice this can lead to the player rejecting the contract and saying the wages aren’t high enough. Secondly, if the player does accept the contract this can trigger the contract glitch (more on that later). So it is advisable to leave the wages amount more or less as it is.
Often youth players don’t even accept the default wages that you offer them. When this happened to me I went about increasing the wage offers by £1,000, £2,000, even £3,000, and all of them were rejected by the player. However, there is a very simple way around this. Trying something new, I kept the default wages the same but increased the length of the contract by 1 year. Hey presto – contract accepted!
Many people seem to have found that after they offer certain contracts to youth players the player’s status is permanently stuck to ‘contract accepted’. This means that whenever the user clicks on this player in the contracts screen (in an attempt to renew the player’s contract, for example), they are told that the player has only just signed for the club and the user has to wait until next season to renegotiate their contract. For example, if you sign a youth player to your first team and offer them a 3 year contract, for every year of the contract their status will be ‘contract accepted’. Even in the 3rd year you will be told that the player has only just signed their contract, when this is clearly not true. The result is that at the end of the 3 years the player’s contract automatically expires and they join the free agents. When the new season starts the player will have disappeared, lost forever.
So what causes this glitch? Well, no one is quite sure yet. It seems that if you offer a youth player a weekly wage of anything less than around £1,050 then the glitch is triggered. However, this glitch happened for me when I offered a player a sizeable amount less than the default wage, yet still higher than around £1,000. I think their default weekly wage was £8,000 – I thought this was ridiculous for a youth player, and offered them £4,000. They accepted, but the glitch was triggered.
However, fear not! It appears there are 2 possible solutions (other than offering your youth players at least £1,100)
- This seems to be the quickest and easiest way. Go to the ‘sell players’ screen and locate the glitched player. Change their status to put them up for sale or for loan (either loan option will do). Advance a few days, then go back to the ‘sell players’ screen and change the glitched player’s status back to normal (i.e. so they are not for sale or loan). Their status should now read ‘none’, rather than ‘contract accepted’. (Thanks to fianoname for the tip on the FIFA 12 forums).
- The other method is to release the glitched player during a transfer window, then resign them to a new contract. It seems that the contract glitch does not affect free agents – if you offer them a contract with low wages they will simply reject it, rather than accept it and become glitched. However, you must not try this method after the January transfer window has passed. This is because youth players released after this point very often disappear from the free agents when the new season starts. You will therefore have lost them before you have the chance to resign them. Therefore you must be very careful with this method!
Now onto the good stuff. Many people (including myself) have expressed frustration at not being able to loan out youth players. Most of the time during transfer windows it appears that there are just no offers forthcoming to take your players on loan. This is usually for one of 2 reasons:
- The youth player in question is 16. For some reason, other clubs never take 16 year olds on loan. However, they will quite readily take 17 year olds on loan. So, to avoid this problem, either put off signing youth players to your first team until they are 17, or if you have already signed them aged 16 you will have to wait to put them out on loan when they are 17. If your player is indeed 17 and you still get no loan offers then you were probably just unlucky – reload your backup save (at the start of the transfer window) and try again.
- The other possible reason is that the player’s wages are too high. If the default amount for weekly wages for a youth player seems unusually high when compared to other youth players, you may struggle to get them out on loan. However, this is not 100% certain. I had a youth player whose wages were £9,000 when all my other youth players’ wages were around the £4,000 or £5,000 mark, and he still got out on loan. This seems like less of a problem than the age problem – I was only able to loan out this £9,000 wage player when he was 17. However, just be aware of it when offering contracts to youth players. I would recommend that you don’t lower the player’s wages, but instead play him when you can to help him develop. This way you raise his OVR, making him seem more attractive to clubs looking to take players on loan. Sometimes you just have to be patient.
Loaning can be a great way to develop your newly-signed youth players. However, you have to make sure they go to the right club. Once a player is 17 (or over) and up for loan, if you get an offer don’t accept it immediately. Click ‘stall’, then go to transfers and look at that teams’ players. If you don’t think your loanee will get much game time (e.g. if you have a 60 OVR player and Manchester City offer to take him on loan), don’t accept it, because he’ll come back a season later without any growth. Try to send your players to teams where they’ll get game time, then they should come back a few points better.
If you either don’t want to (or can’t) send a player out on loan then you should make sure they get plenty of game time. This may be difficult if you’re a very good team like Barcelona, seeing as even your rarest and very best youth players probably won’t be rated higher than around 72 OVR. If this is the case then first of all make sure you don’t sign too many youth players at once! If you do, try sending some out on loan or selling some (once you can; you can’t sell youth players until the next season).
The best way to get youth players game time is to play them in the least important games and in cup games. When you do this, give them as much game time as possible. Simply put, if a youth player’s energy bar is green before these games, play them. If it’s important you don’t lose these games (i.e. if the board wants you to win a cup) then make the squad a mix of youth players and top class players. However, it’s imperative to give your youth players as much game time as possible in order to fully develop their potential. Once they’ve started growing and have reached a decent OVR this will obviously become less of a worry – you may pick them anyway thanks to their strong OVR.
If, on the other hand, you are playing as a weaker team, youth players can provide a vital (not to mention cheap) boost to your team. You may find that youth players simply slot straight into your first team. If this is the case then you should not struggle to give them game time, and you’ll find that they grow very quickly, especially if they have high potential.
Well, I hope you find these tips useful. They should help you bring the most out of your scouted players and help you avoid the pitfalls associated with youth players.