Wonderkids are for me the best and most enjoyable part of all the Football Manager games in the series and in the 2014 this is no different, in fact I have changed the way I play the game entirely just to make sure I get the most out of the young superstars that the game has in abundance, more on that later.
If you didn’t already know, a ‘wonderkid’ is essentially a totally awesome young player who has the potential to set Europe alight with his talents. It is important to note though that not all wonderkids are equal and even though one lad has the potential to be 4.5 > 5 stars, it does not mean they will make it to the promised land.
A combination of training, stewardship and most importantly game time are needed for a child-prodigy to make it to the worlds stage in Football Manager 2014.
What is immediately noticeable in FM 14 is the seed-change from those wonderkids of 2013, I only found a couple of players who were the go-to kids of the previous version who were good enough to sign for either of my two saves so far, but have they been replaced or simply ‘graded’ differently? Only time will tell.
Anyway, I did tell you that I have changed the way I play to ultimately benefit the growth of the wonderkids in Football Manager 2014, what I mean by that is instead of playing as Arsenal, which I have done on every single FM ever, I have started as Southampton, for two reasons.
Firstly, the Saints have a decent selection of young prodigies already, James Ward Prowse and Luke Shaw are the standout names but they sit on top of high quality training and youth facilities.
Secondly, hundreds of wonderkids never make the grade and it is so disappointing to see a player who once had the potential to be Lionel Messi, turn out to be the next Emile Heskey. So I wanted to manage a club who could attract youngsters but also be able to throw them straight in to the first eleven.
So, on with the wonderkids.
For me the frustration with lists of wonderkids online is the fact you never know what ‘level’ of youngster you are looking at, for example if you’re the West Ham you need to find a different level of wonderkid to if you were managing Real Madrid.
For that reason each of the 7 wonderkids I mention below is a) available to buy at the start, b) willing to sign for most PL clubs, c) capable of being one of Europes elite and d) won’t cost you tens of millions to buy.
First up is James Ward Prowse – the Southampton youngster has awesome stats for a midfielder from the off and is a ready made Frank Lampard of the future.
Second up is Andreas Chirstensen, a young defender from Chelsea who is a newbie to FM and to be honest a newbie to me in the real world scene but is available on the cheap and has the potential to be incredible.
Angel Correa, an incredible Argentinian attacking midfielder available for a few million who has the potential to be the next messiah of world football.
Oliver, young, Spanish, Central Midfielder – Need I say more.
Adnan Januzaj has started to show some incredible real world skills for Man Utd and this has been replicated in FM 2014, this kid looks the nuts and scores from the off from the heart of my Saints squad. Available from the start, but he does take some ‘persuading’ to join mid-table PL teams.
Gabriel Barbosa is an incredible poacher, with stats in all the right positions and available for a few mil, though beware of the work permit implications in the contract.
Gedion Zalaeam has been within the Arsenal youth set up for a few years now and is now in their full PL squad in the real-world, the FM editors haven’t missed this kid and who can blame them, potential to be 4.5 stars (it was 5 at one point) and a midfield maestro in the making. He will join bottom half teams on loan or slightly better teams for the odd million or two.
There you have it, 7 awesome Football Manager 2014 wonderkids that any PL manager can go out and buy today. If I could only choose one, it would be Ward-Prowse or Adnan, depending on whether I was managing the Saints or not.
Have fun, let us know any awesome wonderkids you spot in the game using the comments below.