Best Young League One Players in Football Manager 2016

With lower leagues come lower transfer fees, and with less money spent comes less pressure. This is why it is worth sniffing around League One for any prospects ready to make the jump up to the second, or even the top, tier. The Championship starlets listed here certainly have more obvious potential, but these League One players and the right guidance could combine to produce trophies and international caps.

1. James Bree - Barnsley



A 17 year-old right-back, Bree certainly has the potential to go on to become a big cheese in the game. The diminutive player will be the battle of a bidding war by Premier League clubs at some point in the game; to win this battle, you’ll have to act fast or bid big. Bree is also capable of operating further forward on the right flank and in central midfield, but it’s at right-back where his strong work rate and tackling pay dividend. Mentally brave and resolved with determination, Bree’s attitude and natural ability should see him develop into an asset for a top-flight team. Breeliant.

2. Paul Digby - Barnsley (on loan at Ipswich Town)



In January of this season, Ipswich Town took this Barnsley youngster on loan in a move that confused most observers. This was not a transfer quite as high on the bizarre scale as Julien Faubert to Real Madrid, but Digby was struggling to make a mark on the Barnsley team at the time and so arrived in Ipswich with a weird reputation. Having been courted by Manchester United in the past, Digby rocked up at Ipswich to find out that Mick McCarthy wanted to make him into a centre-back. Should you do the same? His defensive skills are adequate enough that in conjunction with his remarkable mental attributes Digby could well develop into a commanding ball-playing centre-back; his potential is marked to take him into the Premier League. You won’t be able to sign him instantly because Ipswich have first option after his loan, but keep an eye out for Digby in a couple of seasons.

3. Ben Garratt - Crewe Alexandra



The shining light on Football Manager in a Crewe team that would go on to spectacularly underwhelm in reality, Garratt seems destined to don an England cap later in his career. This 21 year-old already boasts impressive handling and reflexes, with commendable agility for a man of 185cm. A fee of around a million should seal the deal, with a loan back clause likely to be high on Crewe’s agenda. Already well-suited to Championship football, Garratt could offer a decade and a half of dependable keeping for any club willing to take a punt. Highly recommended.

4. Rico Henry - Walsall



On a fact-finding mission I took charge of Tottenham Hotspur. Before I could say ‘wait, I have a Head of Youth Development?’ my Head of Youth Development had lodged a bid for this promising Walsall left-back. Along with Garratt, Henry is the pick of the bunch of these League 1 starlets and so £2.5million could be needed to snap him up. At this point Henry presents himself as a left-back better at going forward than going back, with frightening pace and a talent for dribbling and crossing. Nurture his defensive game, and you’ll have the complete full-back desirable for a Premier League outfit.

5. Che Adams - Sheffield United



Pace always frightens defenders, and Adams has bundles of it. A strong runner with blistering speed and acceleration, Adams is at his best when marauding down the right flank. Whilst his crossing requires some work, his finishing skills ensure that he can provide a goal threat from out wide. It could well take the best part of £2million to capture his signature, but that might prove to be a bargain. Goals coming from positions other than striker are always invaluable.

6. Louis Reed - Sheffield United



At 166cm tall Reed is patently not the biggest, but his stature in the game has the potential to be substantial. A canny operator with sharp passing and a natural eye for movement off the ball, Reed can compensate for a lack of height and strength with quick feet and precise vision. £800k is a considerable sum to pay for a 17 year-old from the third tier, but Reed has the ability to become essential for teams endeavouring to play passing football. If you can develop his finishing then you’ll have a midfielder adept at dictating games.

7. Fred Onyedinma - Millwall



Onyedinma is a tricky player who fits best just behind the striker, where he has space to exercise his range of dribbling, passing and long shots. Unfortunately, these flair players often come at a premium price, and Onyedinma will set you back a hefty £2million. Capable of utilising his pace in a wing position, that price does get you ample talent and potential in this 18 year-old.

8. Sid Nelson - Millwall



The only thing likely to put you off nabbing this prospect from Millwall is the price tag, with Nelson commanding upwards of £1.5million. Otherwise he is appealing in every regard, from his astounding natural fitness to his suitability as a ball-playing centre-back. If you want your team to pass it out from the back and you can’t quite afford John Stones, then Nelson is a viable alternative. His aggression will need to be kept in check, but will serve as a testament of his willingness to perform well for the team.

9. Ted Smith - Southend United



If Ben Garratt eludes you financially then this Southend youngster is an alternative worth considering. This shot-stopper will set you back approximately £500k, but still offers vast potential. With no glaring weaknesses in his goalkeeping skills, Smith is an option for Championship clubs as a second-choice keeper with a view to developing him into a long-term number one.

10. Jordan Willis - Coventry City



The bad news? Willis starts the game beset by damaged knee cartilage that will sideline him for the best part of 9 months. The good news? Willis is a physically capable centre-back, good in the air and difficult to get past. Make sure he answers the question on his fitness before swooping, but if he answers it well then a price tag of about £800k at the start of the game could soar in later months.

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Football Manager 2017 Blog: Best Young League One Players in Football Manager 2016
Best Young League One Players in Football Manager 2016
A look at some of the Best Young League One Players in Football Manager 2016.
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