Football Manager is such a phenomenon in the football industry that even current managers of professional clubs use the scouting database to hunt for talent across countries and even continents.
Sam Allardyce is famous for his support of statistics and in the past has revealed he used FM’s database to build initial data on a pool of players he was interested in.
Former Rangers and Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish was famously informed of the talents of one Lionel Messi by his Football Manager-playing son Jon before the Argentine became a sensation with Barcelona.
Allardyce told TalkSport he thinks one day there will be a manager ‘managing at a professional level having learned his trade on FIFA and Football Manager.’
“I’ve watched my grandson on it and watched him buy players and sell them to get to the top of the league – it’s teaching him how to manage” Allardyce told TalkSport.
So we proceeded to conduct our own research using Football Manager and gathered information on young stars in the Scottish Premier League. After careful analysis we’ve predicted the top 10 hot prospects set to shine in the upcoming 2018/19 season according to Football Manager 18.
10. Moussa Dembele (Celtic)
We start with an obvious one in Moussa Dembele. He slips in at 10 because if excluded no one would take this list seriously. At just 20 years old (21 in two days) Dembele is the go-to young striker on FM18. His finishing, composure and pace stats are all 15 or above out of 20. Celtic will be delighted with his poise too as he boasts 15 for penalty taking.
9. Ross McCrorie (Rangers)
Less an unknown star after a standout debut season and more a youngster on an upward trajectory, Ross McCrorie is a firm favourite among Ranger fans after his debut in September 2017. The centre back has racked up 21 appearances scoring two goals in the real world while on FM18 boasting solid defensive stats for a teenager. Standout attributes include determination and bravery, 18 and 16 respectively.
8. John McGinn (Hibernian)
Another well-known Scottish youngster but who still has plenty more potential to delve into is Hibs midfielder John McGinn. He may have been capped by Scotland 9 times but McGinn is yet to really star in the SPL. However, according FM18 the 23 year old is a playmaker with exceptional prospects. An average of 13 out of 20 across the board for attributes makes John McGinn a solid CM and one to watch for the 2018/19 season.
7. Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic)
When Celtic signed Kristoffer Ajer in 2016 there were two opposed responses from supporters; ‘who?’, or ‘that wonderkid from Football Manager!’
Ajer is well known to FM users and his potential quality according to FM18 hasn’t decreased since joining Celtic. The teenager has incredible mental statistics to match some of the most experienced pros on the game and physical attributes to dominate any midfield battle.
6. Chris Cadden (Motherwell)
When I asked my Motherwell obsessed friend what he thought of Chris Cadden, his response took me by surprise. “He’s our very own Mo Farah who never stops running down the right flank and can cross the ball like David Beckham.” And it seems FM18 agrees. Cadden possesses 15 out of 20 for crossing and stamina stats and is certainly a player to look out for in the SPL in 2018/19.
5. Declan John (Rangers)
Declan John is destined to have a starring career when you consider his international and club icon mentors; Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard. FM18 certainly rate his potential giving the youngster decent physical attributes to succeed as a left wing back. After 23 appearances and 3 goals Rangers made John’s loan move permanent so he can shine once again in 2018/19.
4. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic)
Finishing stats of 15 out of 20 is all that matters to make this man notable on FM18. Here’s his story.
Odsonne Edouard signs for Celtic and eight days later scores in debut. Good signing. Odsonne Edouard scores hat trick against Motherwell. Great signing. Odsonne Edouard scores against Rangers in vital win. Hero. Odsonne Edouard scores in 5-0 Old Firm derby win to secure SPL title. Legend.
3. Harry Cochrane (Hearts)
There are not many younger hot prospects than Harry Cochrane. Aged just 16 years and eight months Cochrane opened the scoring in a 4-0 win over Celtic that ended their 69-game unbeaten run in December. 2018/19 is sure to be another unforgettable season for the midfielder who boasts incredible core stats for a 16 year old. Passing, work rate, teamwork and stamina all above 12, Cochrane is a midfielder to watch.
2. Freddie Woodman (Available on loan)
Woodman’s inclusion was a risk but one worth taking. The young Englishman has returned to Newcastle United following an underwhelming loan spell at Aberdeen, however, his potential is undeniable and his availability to Scottish clubs extremely open. Freddie Woodman is a gem of a talent in FM18 and the real world and most SPL clubs will be clamouring to get his signature. Do Rangers lead that race? Who knows. But whoever secures Woodman will gain a goalkeeper with an average of 12.5 out of 20 in goalkeeping attributes – a respectable hall for a position that deems individuals peak in their 30s.
1. Ovie Ejaria (Rangers)
Ejaria has been compared to Douglas Costa, Dele Alli and even Neymar. Ovie Ejaria was even dubbed the ‘English’ Paul Pogba by Sunderland fans during his loan spell last season. The wide-attacker has some big names to live up to but most importantly it is Steven Gerrard who knows his potential best having worked with him at Liverpool. His FM18 stats speak volumes boasting 17 for dribbling, 16 for first touch and 16 for technique. That’s a special individual and one certainly ready to excite the SPL.