Welcome back readers, this is Nathan Lewis’ look at some of the brightest young things in FM15.
Summer 2015 transfer update
We have the first big move of our Youth Prospects save! Lucas Romero has, as expected, been poached by a major European side. I didn’t expect it to happen this soon, but after impressing for Velez, he has been snapped up by Manuel Pellegrini. Will be drafted straight into the first-team, or will he be forced to bide his time? Let’s find out.
In other news, Salva Ruiz has been loaned out to Llagostera. A step up from last year, as he now will be playing in the Liga Adelante. Impress there, and he may be in line for a Valencia spot soon.
Let’s get on with season two, then:
Lucas will be living in an absolute dreamland right now. Having joined City in the previous, he faced a battle to play his way into selection contention, with Man City boasting the likes of Toure, Fernandinho and Fernando in central midfield. And that he did, starting 33 out of City’s 38 league games and performing very impressively with 3 goals and 2 assists. He was also a star performer for his national side, with 10 appearances internationally. A fantastic first season for Romero, and he could be starting a great career in Manchester.
Hojbjerg impressed again in Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich team, featuring in more games than the previous season. He seems to be used largely in a defensive position, as he rarely scores goals or assists. If he could add a clinical edge to his game, Pierre would be a force to be reckoned with, and with more and more first-team experience he looks set to develop into a world-class midfielder.
Another solid year of development for the promising Norwegian. Odegaard moved into the first-team for Red Bull Salzburg, and ticked along quite nicely in attacking midfield. Creating 6 goals for his teammates in his 12 appearances, Martin performed quite impressively, considering he is just 17 years old. He also gained the experience of winning a league title, and you get the feeling it is the first of many.
Last season was great for Jack’s development, with some sparkling performances in the Championship, before gaining first-team Premiership experience. This season on the other hand, was less positive. Now an established starter for Villa, Grealish scored 9 league goals and grabbed 5 assists. The only problem? It’s in the Championship, and Villa finished 9th. Another season of Championship football beckons, and perhaps one outstanding season could see his return to the Premiership, with Villa or without.
Having been ruled out for a large chunk of last season, Niklas slowly made his way back to full fitness and regained his place in the heart of Hoffenheim’s defence. He picked up where he left off, performing solidly, if not spectularly and will be pleased with his season. With Hoffenheim finishing only just above the relegation zone, perhaps a move to a bigger side is on the cards for a fit again Niklas.
Another season in the reserve side for Donis, and another impressive haul of goals. 19 goals from 38 games this time, and it is surely the right moment for the young German striker to make the step up into the first-team. If he is unable to gain senior football with Schalke, we may be seeing Donis move elsewhere to be the main striker for a lesser side. Next year could be crucial in the development of this sparkling German hitman.
Potentially the youth prospect with the most difficult challenge facing him, Joel Pereira showed few signs of taking great strides in his development. Promoted to the under-21s side, Pereira played only 4 games and spent the majority of his time on the senior substitutes bench. Perhaps it is encouraging that he is being used as part of the senior squad, but he has a long way to go.
At 21, Ruiz needs first-team football, and fast. It seemed that he would gain this on loan at relegation-threatened Llagostera in Liga Adelante, the Spanish left-back only made 11 appearances. Performing well enough when called upon, he will hope to return to Valencia for first-team football.
Next time: Season three of following our youngsters, and a look at how some of them fared in Euro 2016.
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