A season has passed in our save monitoring some of the hottest young prospects in Football Manager 15. Some will be pleased with their progress, while others will hope to drastically improve their plight in the coming seasons. Let’s look at our prospects:
The only of our youngsters based outside of Europe, Velez’s Romero are halfway through their season, meaning Romero has only made 14 competitive appearances for his side. A regular starter for his side, the young midfielder has impressed, also making four international appearances since September. Utilised largely as a ball-winning midfielder, Romero has played very consistently, and performs the more simple duties to allow his more creative teammates to flourish. It will be interesting to see whether a European side comes in for him in the coming transfer window, given his impressive form.
Player development is often a debate between keeping the player with your side, or loaning him out to gain first-team experience. In this case, Aston Villa chose to loan Grealish to Championship side Fulham. Given the opportunity to play first-team football, Jack played well, contributing to Fulham’s top-half finish. Played in his natural position at right wing, he claimed two Player of the Match awards, scored five goals and provided 3 goals for his teammates. His good form earned him a recall and a starting position wide right in the Aston Villa side. Given this opportunity, Grealish claimed his first two Premier League goals. Sadly for Aston Villa fans, and probably Grealish’s development, Villa finished bottom and were relegated.
Starting off at one of the most reputable and famous football clubs in the world, Hojbjerg faced some of the sternest competition for a first-team place. And for the majority of the last season, he appeared on the substitutes bench for Pep Guardiola’s side. He certainly impressed in his multiple substitute appearances, grabbing two league goals and an assist. Starting in Bayern’s German Cup matches, Hojbjerg scored 3 goals from midfield, and grabbing one assist. An all-round decent season for the Danish midfielder, and hopefully he can force his way into the reckoning for a starting spot next year.
There was always the possibility that one of the youngsters would suffer a long-term injury, and unfortunately that fell to young defender, Niklas Sule. Sule had been a first-team player for Hoffenheim prior to his injury in February, and will be disappointed that his damaged cruciates will put him out for at least 7 months. He will be targeting a return to fitness and first-team football before the end of 2015. Had his injury not curtailed his season, he may well have gone on to have a brilliant year.
Odegaard was always too good for the Norwegian leagues, and it wasn’t too long before he was snapped up by a foreign team. Man Utd? Chelsea? Liverpool? Nope. Red Bull Salzburg of Austria paid £800K for his services, and plugged him straight into their youth team. Given his young age of 16, Odegaard had a fine season, scoring 8 goals and making 11 assists. His solid form earned him a call-up to the National side, although he sat on the bench throughout Norway’s match against Greece. I get the impression it will be a few years before Odegaard reaches the highest levels of football.
Another player involved in youth football for his side, Avdijaj tried his best to convince his employers he was worthy of a call-up to the senior side, scoring fifteen goals in 34 appearances for Schalke’s Under-19s. He did eventually make it into the main squad, starting one match, and coming on as substitute in three.
Ruiz will be relatively pleased with his season having been loaned out to a Spanish regional side to gain first-team experience. Down with Barakaldo, the left-back performed well, if not spectacularly, and will hope to return to Valencia to challenge for a spot in the main squad.
As Manchester United’s fifth or sixth choice goalkeeper, Pereira has a significant task ahead of him to unseat David De Gea, and his hopes will not have been raised too much by a season spent in the Under-18s side. He has recently signed a new contract with the Manchester side, so clearly seems to be in this for the long haul. A long, long road for Pereira, and you get the feeling he will have to leave Manchester to get his big break.