Is there anything more fulfilling than sitting at home watching the EFL Highlights and seeing players you’ve signed on your Football Manager save from two years ago turning into a cult hero?
Yes, you’ve got your Brazilian free agents that save your season in January and African journeymen but the EFL is the best pyramid to look at to sign the cheapest wonderkids for your save on the newly-released Football Manager 2024.
We’ve put together a full XI of the best wonderkids in the 2023-24 Football League season using FMScout‘s database of players.
GK: Coniah Boyce-Clarke
Jordan Pickford may be England’s No.1 for the time being but Boyce-Clarke might have a chance of replacing him in the next 10 years. The Reading prospect only has one first-team appearance but already has played for Jamaica at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. With Reading struggling financially, he might be a perfect option as a backup for a good price.
LB: Juan Larios
Southampton have a strong past when it comes to promoting youngsters through the ranks and Larios looks set to join the strong club. The 19-year-old has already been through the ranks at Sevilla, Barcelona and Manchester City and has been capped at U19 level with Spain.
CB: Charlie Cresswell
One of Leeds’ most exciting young players at the minute is centre-back Charlie Cresswell. A member of England’s 2023 UEFA Euros Under-21 winning side and son of cult hero Richard, Cresswell has Football League pedigree in his blood and spent last season on loan at Millwall.
Cresswell is struggling for game time at his boyhood club this season but Daniel Farke has praised his attitude.
CB: Callum Doyle
Yet to make a senior appearance for his parent side Manchester City, Doyle is currently on loan at Leicester City and has played in two playoff finals with two different sides in the same number of years, helping Sunderland win promotion from League One in 2022 and nearly achieving the same fate with Coventry the year after in the Championship. He’s one to sign for those big finals after a long season.
RB: Calvin Ramsay
Coming through the ranks at Aberdeen, Ramsay is currently on loan at Preston from Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp smashed the Dons’ record transfer to sign him for £4.2 million last year and already has Champions League experience, coming on as a late sub vs Napoli.
Initially a central midfielder until Under-15 level, he found form on the right side of defence during a youth tournament. Nine assists in his 39 Aberdeen appearances, shows the Scot could be handy from a set piece or two.
LM: Matheus Martins
Matheus Martins might just be the best option for a Brazilian wonderkid in the EFL. The 20-year-old started out at Copa Libertadores holders Fluminense before moving to Udinese this year. No surprise that he’s on loan at Watford then. Martins managed to make 30 appearances in his last season at the Brazilian giants before moving over to Europe.
CM: Alfie Devine
Known for his antics with Danny Drinkwater on the pitch during an Under-23 match with Spurs, Devine is currently on loan at League One side Port Vale and has already trained with the England senior side. His goal last week put Vale into the EFL Cup quarter-final for the first time and has received praise from the likes of Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho with the current Roma manager describing him as “a player with instinctive runs into the finishing areas.” One to keep for those underdog cup runs.
Alfie Devine. pic.twitter.com/PS2yRIAgal
— thfcreport Academy (@thfcreportAcad) October 31, 2023
CM: Yasin Ayari
Already a full international with Sweden, Ayari is currently on loan at Coventry from Brighton. AIK brought him through their ranks and if Swedish atmospheres are anything to go by, Ayari will be more than able to handle those intimidating away ends across the EFL.
Sky Blues boss Mark Robins described him as “a versatile player who can play across the midfield area, but predominantly central, and is technically adept too with pace and energy.”
RM: Yaser Asprilla
Let’s face it, you’re already thinking of signing him because of the surname but Asprilla could easily follow in the footsteps of Tino. Colombian side Envigado sold him to Watford in January last year and he has already made 50 appearances for the Championship side. With a goal already for the Colombian national side, Asprilla might be your best bet for a right-sided midfielder to sign in an EFL save.
ST: Emre Tezgel
Stoke’s 17-year-old wonderkid has one of the highest potential ratings on the game, despite only making three senior appearances. He is Stoke’s youngest-ever senior player and has already bagged hat tricks for England U16s. 19 goals in 35 games at U18 level is very promising and he is one to keep an eye on.
ST: Liam Delap
Into his third loan spell across the EFL, Delap is one of the latest to come out of Manchester City’s seemingly never-ending factory of youth talent. Son of throw-in hero Rory, Delap could follow in his dad’s footsteps up front and be inspired by Erling Haaland. Pep Guardiola described him recently as “A killer, a typical British striker, an incredible finisher. He is the type of striker we don’t have.”
Delap is currently on loan at Hull City and has bagged four goals in 15 games so far. With Champions League and Premier League experience under his belt already, Delap looks set to be a very promising player.