Football Manager 2018 - Who Will Be the Wonderkids?

With 2017’s wonderkids now identified, here are six players worth looking out for in Football Manager 2018...

Football Manager 2018 - Who Will Be the Wonderkids?For the true disciples of Football Manager, scouring youth rosters for wonderkids is often the first action in guiding a cash-strapped club up through the brutal slog of the Football League. For optimal results, familiarity with young stars in the U23 squads of select Premier League clubs, all with a particularly rich history of producing young talent, will be crucial to making the best start. With 2017’s stars now identified, here are six players worth looking out for in Football Manager 2018 wonderkids shortlist...


Defence – Matthew Pennington (Everton) / Callum Connolly (Everton)


Everton became the first Merseyside club to win a Premier League trophy in 2016/17 – albeit the inaugural Premier League 2 trophy, won by the Under 23 side with 48 points from 22 games. It was a just reward for a new generation of players emerging from Everton’s academy, and along with other defensive wonderkids like Andreas Christensen, several of these are set to enjoy a huge stats boost in Football Manager 2018. At centre-back, Matthew Pennington has shown flashes of potential, and even scored at Anfield in his first Merseyside derby. A keen tackler and true Englishman, Pennington, now valued at around £85,000 on Transfermarkt, would be an asset to any FM 2018 manager in dire need of more aggression in defence, although his composure requires improvement.

For his part, right-back Connolly debuted in April 2016, when Everton laboured to a 1-1 draw at home to Southampton. Against a fit and determined Southampton side managed by Koeman, Connolly was perhaps the only player in blue who appeared remotely interested in stemming the vicious Saints onslaught. He drew the adulation of Everton fans in the aftermath, and as such, his omission from the first team thereafter remains a mystery, although his profile has been massively boosted by being a part of a title-winning youth team.

Brian Clough and Peter Taylor‘Brian Clough and Peter Taylor’ by Russ Hamer via Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

After guiding Nottingham Forest from obscurity to consecutive European cups, the Brian Clough and Peter Taylor double act is the inspiration of many Football Manager fanatics.

Midfield – Ryan Kent (Liverpool) / Josh Onomah (Tottenham)


Never to be outdone by their city rivals, Liverpool FC also thrust several youngsters into the limelight in 2016/17. The gamble seems to have paid off as the Reds finished fourth and, as of 29th May 2017, are a mere 12/1 to win the 2017/18 Premier League title according to bookies. Of the new inductions into the Liverpool first team, Welsh striker Ben Woodburn has shown the most potential, but for a more flexible ‘impact’ player with the potential for longer-term growth, Ryan Kent is worth watching closely. Kent remains a part of the U23 setup at Liverpool, but enjoyed a stellar FL Championship season on loan at Barnsley, after making 42 appearances and winning the club’s ‘Young Player of the Season Award’ as reported on This is Anfield.

With the ability to play on the right wing as a support striker, Kent will offer the flexibility and youthful stamina necessary for managers who must cope with a lack of resources, combined with the inevitable mid-season injury crisis. Josh Onomah is another player who has broken into the England U21 setup recently, and he too has shown great pace, leading to high expectations for his overall growth in FM 2018.

Chelsea 1 Leicester 1‘Chelsea 1 Leicester 1’ by CFCUnofficial via Flickr (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has a bright future ahead after a great loan season at Ashton Gate. See also: Tips for developing a youth squad

Striker – Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) / Joel Asoro (Sunderland)


After netting 23 goals in 41 games for Bristol City in 2016/17, as noted on Soccerbase, the tall and powerful Tammy Abraham will be the subject of a loan war between lower league teams – possibly even a bottom-half Premier League team – in the coming weeks. In FM 2018, Abraham will be a hot pick for anyone starting off with a reasonably well-off Championship club, such as Aston Villa or Sheffield Wednesday.

However, for those Football Manager users opting to begin their FM 2018 adventure the hard way, perhaps at crisis-riddled League Two dwellers Coventry, an alternative player demanding less in the way of wages should be sought. Though armed with just a single first team appearance for Sunderland, Swedish youth Joel Asoro could be that ideal alternative. Though he has yet to truly prove his worth on the big stage, the fact that giants – such as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – are already known to have scouted him will give FM 2018 managers a lot of food for thought.

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FM 2018 Blog - Football Manager 2018: Football Manager 2018 - Who Will Be the Wonderkids?
Football Manager 2018 - Who Will Be the Wonderkids?
With 2017’s wonderkids now identified, here are six players worth looking out for in Football Manager 2018...
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FM 2018 Blog - Football Manager 2018
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