Editor’s Note: FIFA 14 was released on September 27.
One of the best things about playing FIFA is the satisfaction you get out of buying talented youngsters and grooming them into world class players over the course of a few seasons.
Every year the FIFA player database gets updated and there are fresh opportunities to develop future stars, and FIFA fans looking for insights on which young players to buy.
Here’s a look at the best-possible starting XI you can put together out the most talented under-18 players available in FIFA 14.
The criteria is simple:
Let’s get started.
Luca Lezzerini (18, Fiorentina), Ruben Blanco (17, Celta Vigo) and Fabrice Ondoa (17, Barcelona B) are all tied at a Potential OVR of 80 – the highest rating for 18 or younger keepers. Lezzerini is the tallest, Blanco the best at handling but also the weakest while Ondoa offers a good mixture of height, strength and ability while also having a decent weak foot.
It’s slim pickings for keepers at the under-18 level, but as an understudy Ondoa should do quite well.
Our pick: Fabrice Ondoa.
It’s a choice between Calum Chambers (18, Southampton) and Gianluca Pollace (17, Lazio). Both are at a potential OVR of 80, with Chambers a marginally better defender (something you can attribute to his age advantage over Pollace).
While they’re relatively equal, we’ve gone for Chambers because it’ll take him less time to move up to the first team – although it should take both of them 2-3 years.
Plus Chambers should fit in nicely with the other Southampton starlets in this line-up.
Our pick: Calum Chambers
Kurt Zouma (18, Saint-Etienne) is the highest rated under-18 defender at a potential OVR of 85, and is an automatic pick.
The second berth is a 3-way between Doria (18, Botafogo), Nathan Ake (18, Chelsea) and Karim Rekik (18, PSV). All three are left-footed so they compliment the right-footed Zouma perfectly. They’re evenly matched so you can’t go wrong with any of them. Doria is the best defender but also by far the slowest, while Rekik is more progressed than Ake and can also fill in at LB.
Our picks: Zouma and Rekik.
Luke Shaw (18, Southampton) is miles ahead of the pack. With a potential OVR of 85 and currently the highest rated under-18 left-back at 71, he’s the player you want on the bench from the first season. He will be ready to take over from your first-choice left back in 2 years tops.
Our pick: Luke Shaw.
Right and Left Wingers:
I’ve combined this to highlight two of the brightest young talents in FIFA 14, Zakaria Bakkali (17, PSV) and Armindo Tue Na Bangna (Bruma) (18, Galatasaray), with both players capable of playing on left and right wings.
The gem of the bunch, 17-year-old Bakkali has the highest potential OVR rating in the game for anyone aged 20 or younger, but he’s definitely one for the future. Like the other potential wonderkinds on this list, he’s got great pace and ball control, but he’s still got some way to go to improve on his finishing and mental attributes. FIFA 14 lists him as one who likes to take long shots, and if he can boost that attribute to 80 or above then he becomes an interesting player to have in your matchday squad.
Lightning fast, good on the ball, can cross and take free kicks, decent passer and finisher and a 4-star skill rating, Bruma is your go-to transfer buy if you want to groom a young winger. Great on both wings, his high potential OVR is well-deserved based on some excellent real-life performances for club and country.
Our picks: Bakkali (right) and Bruma (left).
Picking 3 out of 4 isn’t easy, and this foursome is amongst the best in FIFA 14:
Olivier Torres (18, Atletico Madrid)
Leon Goretzka (18, Schalke)
James Ward-Prowse (18, Southampton)
Tonny Vilhena (18, Feyenoord)
All 4 are tied at a potential OVR of 85.
Of these 4, two players pick themselves. Goretzka is the best young CDM in the game and his current mental stats mark him out as a very intelligent player on the pitch.
James Ward-Prowse (our 3rd Southampton player in this list) is the best all-round midfielder in this list. Quick, reasonable defending stats and good mental and skills stats to round things off. He’s the one you want on the bench to replace any first-choice midfielder, even in the first season.
Torres is the more skillful player, with great current ball control, dribbling and short-passing stats, making him the sort of player you want in the team when you’re looking to retain possession. Vilhena has the more all-round game and he’s close to Torres’ current stats as well.
The choice is yours. With the rest of the team in mind (and especially the two electric wingers playing wide), my preference is to pick a more all-round player in the center and drive the play using the forward three players. Especially since Vilhena can do almost all of what Torres can do without being easily muscled off the ball.
You may even drop JWP for both Torres and Vilehna.
Our picks: Goretzka, Ward-Prowse and Vilhena.
This comes down to two players – Anthony Martial (17, Monaco, current OVR 63, potential OVR 87) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (18, Anderlecht, current OVR 73, potential OVR 87).
For Martial the low current OVR stats can be discouraging, as a striker Martial has good pace and strength but little else when starting out. His Heading / Finishing are in the early 60s, and would be expected to go up to the mid-80s if he’s fully developed. All signs point to a strong, fast, reliable, classic No. 9.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has a different set of attributes that may suit your team more. Good finishing stats, great physical stats and slightly lower speed stats make for a poacher who won’t be easily pushed off the ball. Decent ball-control and at 6’2 he makes for a very good target man but he’s not going to do much for you outside the box.
However, with two fast creators out wide and three midfielders adept at keeping the ball behind him, he might not need to do anything else.
Our pick: Aleksander Mitrovic.
GK: Fabrice Ondoa (17, Barcelona B, 80)
RB: Calum Chambers (18, Southampton, 80)
RCB: Kurt Zouma (18, St-Etienne, 85)
LCB: Karim Rekik (18, PSV, 85)
LB: Luke Shaw (18, Southampton, 85)
CM: Leon Goretzka (18, Schalke, 85)
CM: James Ward-Prowse (18, Southampton, 85)
CM: Tonny Vilhena (18, Feyenoord, 85)
RW: Zakaria Bakkali (17, PSV, 90)
LW: Bruma (18, Galatasaray, 88)
ST: Aleksandar Mitrovic (18, Anderlecht, 87)
These are the best youngsters you can buy in FIFA 14 in their respective positions.
For more player stats, make sure you check out EA’s top 50 players list.
Editor’s Note: FIFA 14 was released on September 27.