Once a player reaches the age of 18 it is important for his progression that he gets regular, good quality match experience. Without this it is unlikely that his current ability will come close to reaching his potential ability.
How to Give Young Players Match Experience
A player will gain some match experience from playing for his club’s youth and reserve squads, but will gain much better match experience from playing for its senior squad, or for other clubs’ senior squads on loan, depending on the level that the clubs compete at.
If you have a young player who is already good enough to play fairly regularly for your senior squad (say, in at least one in every three competitive matches) then this is usually the best way to give him match experience.
However, you are likely to have many players who, when they reach the age of 18, are not yet good enough for regular playing time in your senior squad.
You may still be able to give such players occasional senior match experience at your club. For example, you might be able to feature them in league matches against weaker teams near the bottom of the division, in cup matches against lower division opposition, in insignificant league matches near the end of the season or as substitutes in matches you are winning comfortably.
However, the benefit of such match experience to player progression is limited due to the lack of regular playing time, while the quality of the match experience may also be lacking if the level that your senior squad plays at is higher than is appropriate for those players, making it difficult for them to perform well and learn.
Therefore, to give your young players regular, good quality match experience it is often necessary to send them out on loan to other clubs.
Managing Playing Time
In general, the more playing time a player is given the more likely he is to have good progression.
Younger players (and older players) in particular are likely to need more rest.
How to Use the Loan System Effectively
To ensure that the players who you loan out get regular, good quality match experience at their loan clubs you need to use the loan system effectively.
Basic guidance on how to loan out players and details of the different loan terms that can be used are provided separately below.
Choosing a Suitable Loan Club
It is very important to consider the suitability of a club before you send a player there on loan, especially when loaning out young players.
For a loan move to give a player good progression the following two conditions should be met by the loan club:
- The loan club should compete in a league division that is at an appropriate level for the player’s current ability (neither too high nor too low).
- To give a player good quality match experience you should loan him to a club at an appropriate level. A player would not be sufficiently challenged at too low a level but may struggle to perform well at too high a level.
- Advice on what level is appropriate for a player is provided in his coach reports (under Current Ability (Division) in the Pros or Cons) or scout reports (under Recommendation) and can be judged from his perceived current ability or playing attributes. To help you compare the levels of foreign league divisions with domestic divisions you can check their Reputation star ratings by clicking Globe icon > Browser > World then going to the Competitions > Leagues screen.
- The loan club should regularly select the player in its senior starting line-up.
- To give a player regular match experience you should loan him to a club that is likely to play him often.
- To judge how often your player is likely to play you should consider the squad status given in each loan offer (discussed below under Loan Clauses). For extra assurance it is also advisable to check the quality of the players who are likely to be competing for the same playing position as your player.
If you have a choice of clubs that are likely to meet the above two conditions for a player who you are loaning out then you can also consider the following aspects of the clubs to try to increase the likelihood of the loan move giving the player good progression:
- League performance.
- A loan move is more likely to give a player good quality match experience if he and his loan club perform well. Therefore, it is advisable to give preference to clubs that are more likely to be performing well near the top of their division.
- To judge how well a team is likely to perform you can check the club’s position in the league table and their recent results. If the season has not yet started then you can check the club’s Media Prediction on its Overview > General screen under Competition.
- However, a loan to a struggling club is still better than a loan to a club at an inappropriate level, or no loan at all and insufficient senior match experience.
- Quality of training.
- A loan move is more likely to give a player good training progression if his loan club has a good quality of training. Therefore, it is advisable to give preference to clubs that have better training facilities and coaches.
- In particular, you should look for good ratings in the Determination, Level Of Discipline, Motivating and (for young players) Working With Youngsters staff attributes among coaches.
- However, for players aged 18 or older the quality of training and training progression are not as important as the amount and quality of match experience (and match progression).
- Quality of the manager.
It is advisable to closely monitor the players who you have out on loan and consider recalling any who are not playing regularly or not playing well.
You can view a list of players who are out on loan on the Transfers > Loans screen. You can recall players directly from this screen but only if a can be recalled loan option has been included in the loan deal (discussed below under Loan Options)
You can ask one of your scouts to provide match reports on a player who you have loaned out by right-clicking his name and then going to Scouting > Get Match Reports and choosing a scout.
Players Returning From Loan
When a player comes back from loan he may be good enough to play for your senior squad. If not, then to try to develop him further you can loan him out again, possibly to a club that competes at a higher level than his previous loan club if he has improved.
However, if a player appears to have reached or almost reached his potential ability but is not good enough for your senior squad then you should consider selling him before his contract nears expiry.
Ideally, it is advisable to renew the contracts of young players before they get to within two years of expiry to help you to sell the players who you have developed at higher prices, as well as to help you to secure those players who you want to keep. You do not need to wait until a player has returned from loan before offering him a new contract.
Using an Affiliated Club
To make it easier to loan out players you may want to use an affiliated club that agrees to take players on loan from your club.
Details of how to obtain an affiliated club are provided below under Loaning to an Affiliated Club.