Searching for wonderkids in Football Manager has become something of a ritual for many of the game’s loyal fans – yours truly included – but much of that process is made more difficult now than it ever has been, thanks to the unreliability of scouts and a relatively new manager attributes mechanic which allows you to select your own level of player knowledge.
Much of the romance is, of course, in the self-discovery of your own favourite hidden gems, but there’s also a simple joy in knowing you have the best of the best in your squad, and it’s down to you to get the most out of them.
Below, we’ll be doing two things: first we’ll quickly explain our rankings and how the hidden stats for player ability and potential work, and second we’ll be ranking the top 50 best players under the age of 22 in FM17.
How does player potential ability work in Football Manager 2017?
A player’s ability is split into two factors: their current ability, and their potential ability. These are available to view in multiple ways however, with varying degrees of effectiveness:
- A player’s attributes, rated out of 20 – depends on your in-game player knowledge and personal ability to judge players’ usefulness
- A player’s star rating, rated out of 5 – depends on your scouting knowledge and scout’s own Judging Play Ability and Judging Player Potential attributes. Also relative to your club’s size.
- A player’s hidden ability stats, rated out of 200 – an objective rating which servesm as an unoffical ‘overall’ stat.
‘Hidden stats’ sounds awfully mysterious, but in reality they simply function as a set of raw numbers which operate under the surface in Football Manager, and are, in fact, the most accurate way to discern your players’ ability and potential.
These come in two forms: Current Ability and Potential Ability, and are only possible to view in the official Football Manager Editor. Both are rated out of 200, but occasionally a range is given instead of a raw number for the Potential Ability stat, as a representation of FM’s real-world scouts not wanting to commit to an exact number for a player’s future potential. In those cases, a range means that a player’s potential is randomised on each new save.
Finally, on top of that it’s worth noting that these figures for Potential Ability are only the maximums possible, and not a guaranteed number. To reach that potential the player will need the highest possible rated training facilities, coaches, mentorship, training focuses and match time, too. So there’s still plenty of challenge there for you, regardless of who you sign.
For reference, too, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Manuel Neuer are the only players with a Current Ability rating between 190 and 200 – which should give you some idea of the below players’ potential calibre!