Any Football Manager fan will admit that seeing how accurate the game is at predicting real-life events is all part of the appeal.
No more so than when it comes to those players we love more than any other – A footballing wonderkid!
Here we take a look at a team of young Premier League prospects you can start to track in the virtual world of Football Manager to see how their stock rises in comparison to reality.
One thing is for sure, the emergence of a young talent can have just as big an impact in both worlds.
Keeping an eye on potential superstars is an important tool when it comes to predicting a team’s chances of bagging real-life glory.
Tracking wonderkids with Football Manager might just give you a pointer on how the end of the current season will pan out.
A Premier League prospect in every position
Below we have selected a young talent for every position. We have focused on players that are already starting to have an impact in the Premier League and may even have a say in their team’s current campaign.
We have gone for a 4-3-3 formation and picked mainly players aged under-21, bar a couple of exceptions.
Striker – Mason Greenwood (Manchester United)
Greenwood has eight Premier League goals to his name this season and has played a big part in Manchester United’s recent run of form.
He is already showing that having a star youngster in the ranks can prove pivotal during key moments of the season. A host of new bookies in the UK market have already reacted to United’s recent form by cutting odds for a top 4 finish. Betiton now make them just 1/2 to do just that.
Deployed from out wide in recent matches, Greenwood has caused all sorts of problems for opposition defenders with his neat footwork and clever runs into the box.
The 19-year-old could be deployed more centrally given time and looks another top prospect off the United production line.
It might not be long before he is known as one of the best finishers in the league, as well as among the best wonderkid strikers on Football Manager.
Right Attacking Midfield – Pedro Neto (Wolves)
The young Portuguese winger has played a key role for Wolves this season, both in their push for a top 4 Premier League finish and in the Europa League.
Still mainly used as an impact player, he is edging closer and closer to pushing Adama Traore and Diogo Jota for a starting birth at Molineux.
His direct style and ability to surge past people from deep make the 20-year-old a hot prospect to keep an eye on.
The likes of Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi and Liverpool’s Harvey Elliot are other wide men to track.
Left Attacking Midfield – Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
It’s been a fine first Premier League season for Pulisic with the American looking almost impossible to mark when drifting around the edge of the box.
Team-mate Mason Mount nearly got in here until you realise Pulisic is the same age at 21.
The former Dortmund player could even end up filling the void left by Edin Hazard at Chelsea, which itself highlights his exciting potential.
Attacking Midfield – Phil Foden (Manchester City)
When Pep Guardiola suggests he has no need to buy a replacement for David Silva because he has Phil Foden, then you know the 20-year-old has some serious talent.
He’s had to be patent at City but more game-time is bringing more goals. Next season could be when we really see him blossom for both club and country.
Centre Midfield – Billy Gilmour (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s cup exploits have handed Scotland youngster Billy Gilmour a chance to shine. He did just that and also has a handful of Premier League appearances to his name.
He’s aged just 19 but has a calm composure about his play, reads the game well and already plays like a much more experienced professional.
Centre Midfielder – Declan Rice (West Ham)
It’s easy to forget that Declan Rice is still only 21 given the amount of key appearances he is racking up for the Hammers this season.
There were a few other names that are worth a mention here, Wolves’ Morgan Gibbs-White or Newcastle’s Matty Longstaff perhaps, but Rice had to make the cut.
If West Ham are to stay up this season then he’ll be vital to their chances when sitting protecting the back-line. Other clubs are queuing up to sign him and it will be interesting to see how he progresses should he make a move higher.
Right-Back – Reece James (Chelsea)
Make no mistake, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold is the best right-back in the Premier League and potentially the best in his position in the world.
However, he’s an obvious pick, so instead we’ve gone for Chelsea’s Reece James as a more intriguing name to follow on Football Manager.
The 20-year-old is composed on the ball, positionally sound and has the engine to get up and down the right flank.
Left-Back – Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
This was another tough call between the young Arsenal wing-back, Manchester United’s Brandon Williams and Wolves’ Ruben Vinagre.
Saka is still only 18 and has already had a fine impact for the Gunners. He’s capable of playing further forwards but has settled in well as a left wing-back at times this season.
His biggest asset when in that role was the amount of assists (5) he has chalked up when getting forward down the left.
Centre-Back – Eric Garcia (Manchester City)
City have struggled to hit on the right blend of centre-back options this season following Vincent Company’s departure.
While Fernandinho has filled the role well, 19-year-old Spaniard Garcia looks a fine long-term successor.
He’s already been trusted by Pep Guardiola despite his inexperience and can continue to progress.
Centre-Back – Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea)
Tomori starred during Chelsea’s fine start to the season and has already been on England manager Gareth Southgate’s radar.
Good on the ball, athletic and powerful, at just 22 he has all the attributes needed to maintain his push to the top.
Goalkeeper – Aaron Ramsdale (Bournemouth)
The Bournemouth goalkeeper has certainly been busy this season for relegation-threatened Bournemouth.
The 22-year-old won the European Under-19 Championships with England and is now the first-choice stopper for the under-21s.
A string of consistent showings for Bournemouth mean a full international call-up is in the offing.