I think all of us know this situation. You have an average Youth Intake with one or two players with some potential, you are disappointed you don’t have a new wonderkid in your youth team and you decide to not offer contracts to almost all of new young players because they are not good enough.
I had it many times in my saves in the past and this year’s save with Reading FC is not different.
The Youth Intake in the United Kingdom is at the beginning of March every year. I’m in the 2029 year and I finished the last season with only two good young players from the Youth Intake. One goalkeeper and one central defender. Both with a good potential to become at least rotation players for the First Team.
I like to watch the development of players. Not just only my players but if I found interesting player/regen during the save I like to scout him time from time and it’s interesting to watch how he performs for his club despite I’m not able to sign him for my team.
But when I release young players from my own Youth Intake because they are not good enough they disappear from my eyes in 99%. That was the case of Mark Parker. One very random regen who didn’t receive a contract offer from our club in 2023.
In that time he had Determination attribute at 20 and his personality is Driven. That was something I should consider in that time but I decided he is not good enough and I have better central defenders in the First Team and also in U23s and U18s.
Tottenham signed a contract with him and he became a member of their Under 18 squad. As I said I completely forgot him. After two years in Tottenham youth team, he went on loan to Sheffield Wednesday and in summer 2025 he moved to West Ham for a fee around £3.6M.
And that was the moment when I found out I released this player as I received a message about his transfer.
One year later he moved to West Brom for £7M and he played 35 matches in Championship and 34 matches in Premier League in next two seasons. He was wanted around the nation and Huddersfield bought him for £5.5M.
After another 30 Premier League matches he moved to Hull in summer 2029 for £6.75M and Reading received some fee for as a part of his development as a solidarity contribution.
When I saw it’s £336k I was surprised and I check his profile to see how he developed during the six years.
His psychical attributes developed good but his determination dropped from 20 to 15 and his personality is now Spirited.
I decided to send my best scout (CA 17/PA 18 judgement) to watch him. He would be a decent signing for most Premier League sides in summer 2029 and he could be used also as a defensive midfielder.
To be fair, his star rating is a two and a half but If I would be short of central defenders and he would be available to sign I would sign him right now. But I have enough central defenders.
After his move to Hull, he played 33 Premier League matches during the 2029/2030 season and he moved to Everton for £6.25M in summer 2030 and he is also in England national team.
I made a comparison with my six central defenders including experienced Jake Cooper but also young players.
I know he is not a superstar but it’s interesting to summarise some things and take a look back that I maybe made a mistake(s) during the save. Maybe he should be our main defender with the right development. Maybe.
This short piece is over.
I know it’s about a different thing but when I wrote this I remembered the article “What We Look For In New Players; Limiting Chances Of A Transfer Debacle” by Guido Merry.
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