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FC 24 Career Mode: How to scout and develop youth players
One of the greatest joys of EA Sports FC 24’s Career Mode is to scout the next generation of talent and nurture them until they’re world class, continuing your team’s legacy without the need for hundreds of millions of pounds of spending.
It’s tremendously satisfying to develop young players, but a solid youth setup also helps to slow down Career Mode, maintaining a long-term challenge in a game that encourages you to buy the world’s top stars and dominate from the off. Here’s how to get started with scouting, signing, and training promising youngsters.
Hiring and assigning scouts
The first thing to address is the top of your youth academy funnel - namely, hiring a decent scout. Head to the youth staff page and assess your current options. The most important factors are their experience rating (reflecting how likely they are to find players) and judgement (how accurately they assess players’ abilities).
If your current scouts are no good, you can spend some of your transfer budget on a new one. When you’re satisfied with their skills, you need to send them to set up a scouting network. You can choose which country they’re searching in, how long they’re there for, and select specific player traits you want them to look for.
Perhaps I’m biased, but I usually like to fill my team with young English players, so I send my scout out on broad, long-term assignments in England and leave him to it. If you have different priorities then you might want to mix things up with shorter searches in different countries and with different criteria and parameters.
Reviewing scout reports
After a short set-up period, your scouts will begin to deliver monthly reports to your inbox. These consist of a list of players with rough estimations of their current and potential abilities (which is why the scout’s judgement rating was so important).
To filter this list down, I normally start with a baseline potential OVR rating - usually 80 if I’m managing a Premier League side, or 83 to 85 at a top team. If a player has no chance of exceeding this lower limit then it’s very unlikely that they’ll ever feature in my first team even if they develop perfectly, so I send them on their way.
If the upper bounds of a player’s potential are above my threshold then I turn my attention to their minimum potential. If it’s also quite high - say in the mid-70s - then I’ll recruit the youngster to see how they develop in my academy. If it’s lower, there’s a risk they’ll be a dud. I leave them on the report so my scout can take a closer look and return with an updated assessment of their potential ability next month.
Managing your youth squad
As with scouting, you’ll receive monthly updates on your youth squad as their OVR ratings improve and their potential ability becomes more accurate. It might sound brutal, but the main purpose of this report is to check who falls short. If one of your recruits’ potential OVR falls below your minimum threshold, don’t be afraid to let them go and free up space in your youth academy. Football is a harsh world.
If a player progresses to an acceptable OVR rating - usually in the mid-60s, for me - and plays in a position where he’s likely to get game time, it’s time for a promotion to the senior team to continue his development with the big boys. Beware that once a player leaves the youth squad you will lose visibility of his potential, so try not to promote players while their potential OVR range is too wide if you can help it.
Occasionally a player will essentially force a promotion. You’ll recieve an email telling you he’s unsettled, with a choice between adding him to your main squad or losing him. If a player is still in my academy then he usually has decent potential (otherwise he’d have been dropped), so I normally offer him a professional contract and then loan him out if he’s not quite good enough to play alongside the first team.
When the time finally comes, either through judgement or coercion, ensure your young players get some decent game time in the first team so they can reach their full potential. I normally treat them as though they have a few more OVR points than they do, filling my bench with youngsters and subbing them on whenever I’ve established a solid lead and can risk a few mistakes from inexperience.
Cup matches, which are arguably less important and are more likely to be against lower-level opposition, should be a big opportunity for young players to get some minutes on the pitch. Consider starting some young talent in the cup - particularly goalkeepers, who aren’t likely candidates to be subbed on during other games.
New for FC 24 Career Mode is a feature that allows you to hire and fire coaches of varying ability. This directly influences the speed and degree to which your players improve, so ensure you have enough coaches, that they’re as skilled as possible, and they’re suited to your playstyle to help boost your youngsters’ development.
Even when you try your best, circumstances (or the sheer number of youth players you’re farming) don’t always allow for everyone to get the minutes they need on the pitch. If a player isn’t playing regularly then don’t be afraid to send them out on loan. Incoming offers are always for loans with the option to buy and the other club will walk away if you try to negotiate, but don’t be put off by this bug - delegating the response to your director of football will allow you to renegotiate a standard loan.
Follow this pattern, exposing young players to first-team football via the bench, cup starts, and loans. You should see their OVR increase by a few points per season (you can check this on the Squad Hub screen). Eventually some will develop enough to earn starting places in your lineup, and maybe - if you’re lucky - in a few seasons’ time a new world superstar will graduate from your youth academy.