Player development – when it doesn’t work
It’s always great to see the green arrow near each of the attributes in the player profile. It’s great to see players growing and improving as the game progress. But it’s not always only about the positive player development. What if it doesn’t work?
I’m still doing a very similar approach as I wrote about during previous FM editions and FM20 as well in terms of the players’ development.
I have my own way, I’m doing things I like and things I feel they are alright. Not something from the specific development guide or article.
As we spoke recently with @fmFutbolManager in my FMSlack channel, I’m sure some development results could be better in my save if I would do everything with some insight. But I like my own system.
What went wrong?
I remember when I published the post about the player development back in March this year, TedRedwood was interested in players who didn’t make it. In players, their development was not as good as I expected.
It took me some time but I remember his idea and I decided to put some of these players together now.
We are in the half of the 2026/2027 season. My eighth in Mexico within FM20. I went back through the save and decided to write about several players. Yes, I have a save file at the end of each season so I was able to check their development screens back.
The first player is the extreme situation immediately at the start of these players list.
He was my second signing of the save when I found him as a free player and I waited until December 2019 before he became our player. His main position and roles were AM/Enganche.
I’ve used 4-4-1-1 with AM player during the first part of the save so it was ideal. But he was trained as Roaming Playmaker in CM position.
He made progress only in one attribute as he was able to improve Strength by 3 during 1 and a half-season. He improved some mental attributes as well but nothing dramatic.
It didn’t matter where he played, he was so inconsistent and I can’t trust him.
But the whole potential went to the bin. I sold him in December 2021 to Chivas for €1.1M. They didn’t see it and give us a lot of money. He got number 54 (later changed to 17) and they moved him to the B team.
He spent 5 years in Chivas’ B team, he made only 4 appearances for the 1st team and he retired from football in summer 2026 when he was only 24 years old.
I had some period during this save when I liked to scout young American and Canadian players.
One of them was wide midfielder Brian Mirabelli. We signed him for free in 2021/2022 season from Toronto FC Academy. I set him to train as Complete Wing Back, as I like to do with wide players, especially with wingers.
My aim was to have him as a backup for the AML/Winger role and coverage for Emiliano Ozuna but it didn’t work out. He spent the majority of the time on-loan back in Canada with FC Edmonton. It’s important to say Edmonton had the same (bellow average) level of their facilities.
He got some chances in the first team, mainly during pre-season, but it was not enough and his development stagnated. At least in my eyes.
It resulted in a free transfer to York9 FC. You can see there is absolutely no development.
Another Mexican talented player, this time a central defender originally from Pumas. I bought Brandon for €67K as one of the players before the first season in the top tier in summer 2020.
Even as 18 years old player, he looked solid, for a young central defender. Decent Marking and Tackling, good Acceleration and Pace in combination with the fact he would fit the domestic strategy and rules.
He developed slowly. And after a damaged knee cap injury (only 4 weeks out), his bravery & determination dropped.
Herrera spent one-year on-loan with our feeder club, played 40 competitive matches in the second tier and Copa MX but it was not enough.
No club wanted him for another loan or transfer, even for free and he retired in 2025 when he was 23 years old. He was trained as Ball Playing Defender. Nothing worked and it doesn’t matter what I tried as the additional focus.
I would not say the case of this Colombian midfielder was a total failure. But disappointment for sure.
I signed José Preciado for free from Deportes Quindio in January 2021. He played most of the time as CM(A) or DLP(S) in that time when we’ve used 4-3-3 with flat midfield or as AM(S) within 4-4-1-1.
He was trained as Box To Box midfielder with Attacking Movement to boost Composure/Anticipation/Decisions in the first part.
The main change in his development after three years in the club was he turned in natural CM player. But his development in overall was not good.
He spent the next two seasons on loan before he was sold to America de Cali. I tried Final Third or Attacking Movement but his mental attributes were probably frozen.
His contract with América will expire in June 2027 and he was moved to the B team and is transfer listed…
It wasn’t easy to select the fifth player but I decided for Diego Montano in the end because he is a little bit different case. Because he was on-loan with us for two years from Club América.
I shared his picture in the El Buitre” Search Filter post what is base mainly on mental attributes. The initial thought was to retrain him to the full-back role but I gave up due to his technical attributes, mainly crossing.
Montano was trained as the Half Back with additional focus on technical and also physical attributes. He played mainly as our Half Back, it was a joy to watch when he hit this goal but in the end, he was forced out of the line-up.
Mainly because his development stalled and our own players were better and I wanted to give them more playing time.
Probably his versatility and possibility to play in more than one or two positions/roles were the cases I rather prefered my own players.
He is now back with Club América and when he is playing, it’s a different position/role every time. He played against us in the last Apertura play-off final. One match as the central defender, the second match as a defensive midfielder. But he has also full-back (both sides) or central midfielder within his report card. Btw. he has number 11 as DM/D(RC)/CM.
It was hit or miss in this case. I could develop a good player for us and bought him from Club América (they wanted €5M after the first season of the loan) or I could develop a good player for Club América. The first option fell with the end of the loan. Not sure even about the second one.
I would be able to write about many other players for sure. There are some other players I signed at the beginning of the save and they are retired or in some lower league.
I always like to check the transfer history screen and find the transfers from summer 2020 after the promotion. I signed 7 young players for a total fee of €254k.
Erick Vargas is our number 1 keeper, Luis Hernández moved to Vitória de Guimaraes last summer for €5.25M and Josué Manuel Dojaquez to Shakhtar in 2025 for €13.25M.
I made the comparison of Ramiro Jiménez and Josué Manuel Dojaquez in 2021 and 2025.
Midfielder Kefren Castillo (also shared him in the player development post) went to Deportivo Toluca for €2.7M. But mainly because I had too many midfielders and he wanted too much money.
Not every bought player or newgen is able to make it.
These five I shared all had/have a neutral personality. Nothing that would help them to develop better probably. I tried the same tricks and the same way as for other players but despite their high or very solid potential, it was not enough.
As always, thanks for reading, @FMRensie.
Don’t forget, you can join FMSlack via THIS link. My channel is #fmrensie but there are many other interesting channels to talk about FM.