Hiya chaps, welcome to the second season of the tracking of my Wolves’ trainees. As you’d expect, some have progressed really well, some not so much. But I’ve written a short analysis of each player’s respective situations and what I’d hope for them this year. 15 becomes 14 and two others will need to seriously buck up their ideas unless they wish to be shipped out too. Lay on…
note: the screenshots have the player’s old attributes as well as new attributes so you can easily see the development they’ve made over the season rather than having to go to the old article again. The player’s old attributes are on the left, and new attributes on the right.
Gheorghe Petrea (RB, Full Back, aka #2)
Fairly Ambitious to Fairly Determined
Well, what a year it’s been for the young French right-back. Of all the young trainees I’ve chosen to follow, Petrea has made the most impact. At the age of 19, he’s broken the first team and after Dortmund activated the £21m release clause of my starting right-back, Petrea pushed himself into the starting #2 role. Over the season, he made a massive 51 appearances for the club as his value shot up. He even made it into the Premier League Team of the Year.
Petrea developed his attributes well too. Defensively, he’s become an excellent RB, and there’s very little that gets through him. If he can continue to develop his attacking skills (such as an increase in crossing to 14) then he’ll be the complete right-back. Since the squad overhaul in the Summer resulted in Fred leaving, Petrea may, on occasion, be required to cover at CB. With his recent gains in strength & positioning, he’s more than adequate for that role too, now. More of the same please, Gheorghe.
Andre Demuth (CB, Central Defender, aka #5)
It’s all ended as quickly as it begun for Demuth. He spent the season on loan at Bayern and they liked him so much they put a massive bid in for him. I was a fan of his but you don’t reject £32million for a player like him. Good talent, but he was never going to break into the starting lineup anytime soon and father time is beginning to catch up on him. Wish him well.
Mohammad Tran (CB, Central Defender, aka #5)
Tran spent the season on loan at PSV, where he had a fairly good year. He even ended up winning the Dutch equivalent of the Young Player of the Year award, finishing with a more than adequate average rating of 7.25. However, as with Demuth, there was very little attribute increase, perhaps because PSV’s training facilities aren’t as good as ours.
With Fred and Demuth gone, there’s a slot in the first team for a reserve central defender. And Tran will be one of the guys scrapping for that slot and some first tam action. Hopefully he can become more well-rounded as well as a fairly significant increase in his composure attribute. Solid progression thus far.
Suat Ates (CB, Central Defender, aka #5)
Fairly Professional to Resolute
In comparison to Tran, Ates spent the season with the Under 18s, and seems to have progressed at a much better rate. Particularly mentally, Ates has come on leaps and bounds under the tutelage of Santiago Cuello, first team central defender.
Last season I suggested that Ates would get a loan this time around, however, I’m prepared to make him the reserves team regular CB as well as occasional cup games and pushing for more regular first team action alongside Mohammad Tran. However, his jumping attribute really does need some serious work before he’ll be considered for regular first-team football.
Andoni Galindo (CM, Defensive Midfielder, aka #4)
Unsporting to Fairly Determined
Whilst the transition to two central midfielders rather than three has meant less game-time for some, I still managed to squeeze Galindo into cup and easier league matches. All in all he made 15 starts throughout the season, and appeared in 11 league games. However, it’s his attribute increase that has impressed me most. Firstly, he’s obviously been hitting the weights as his strength increased from 9 to 14, which is outstanding. Aside from that, there were good increases in tackling, determination, stamina, and quite a lot else. However, importantly, Galindo is now up to 19 work rate meaning he should develop into a 20 work rate player which will be vital as he will form part of a two-man central midfield partnership.
After the squad overhaul, two players who battled for a central midfield spot were sold, so Galindo should find games easier to come by. Hopefully with more regular first-team football he can push on and make some even larger attribute boosts this year. The main aim of the year will be to make him into a more well-rounded player than the tackle-and-pass ball recycler that he currently is. But he’s certainly got the potential for it.
Mirko Tesic (CM, Defensive Midfielder, aka #4)
As a very similar player to Galindo, Tesic was in direct competition with Galindo for the few games they had an opportunity to play in this season. And Galindo came out on top. However, Tesic should see more chance this year, particularly against the leagues lower teams with a stand out #10, and in cup games.
The aim is similar to Galindo’s – right now, Tesic is very much a ball recycler however he needs to be far more than that to operate as part of the deeper 2 in my 4-2-2-2. His training will be modified to ensure almost all areas are worked upon.
Maxime Teixeira (CM, B2B Midfielder, aka #6)
Fairly Professional to Professional
Last season, when this process started, I got a little bit excited about Teixeira because of his good base stats and marvellous potential. And I’m starting to feel like my faith has been rewarded – he’s now probably the best 16 year old I’ve seen on FM in a long time. He had 16 starts in all competitions, although mainly in the league, where he more than held his own, with an average rating of 7.12. However, this was often operating as the deepest midfielder which isn’t really ideal, but is necessary currently as is offensive attributes aren’t quite up to scratch.
As with the other two, Teixiera will get more game-time this season. Physically, the kid is lacking, but he’s only 16 years of age and that should improve massively over the next two years. Hopefully with this season we can turn Teixeira into more of a ball-carrier from midfield, in the Yaya Toure mould. If he has gains similar to last season, though, I’ll be a happy man. Still unhealthily excited over this kid’s development.
Rousset’s spent the last season out on loan at Premier League side Fulham. He was one of their key players, appearing in 27 of their league games, to an average rating of 7.20. However, his attribute gains weren’t as I’d hoped. The plan was to bring Rousset back into the Wolves fold this year, however, I’ve managed to retrain my star #10 into a deep-lying playmaker as an additional option in the deep midfield two, meaning Rousset’s presence would be superfluous. As a result, he’ll be going out on loan with the idea of impressing potential suitors for a move next year, unless he performs extraordinarily well. I haven’t completely given up hope.
Marcio (AMR, Winger, aka #7)
Last season I talked about how Marcio was likely to benefit from my switch to the 4-2-2-2 system. However, in the end, he was just shut out by the ever increasing talent of Remy Maurel, this year named European Golden Boy for the second consecutive season as well as English Young Player of the Year. However, Marcio did still get the occasional game, and still remains a top prospect. It’s vital that he’s a flair player and we saw a small increase in that this year as well as a good progression in his dribbling skills.
Whilst it’s important that Marcio offers something very different to Maurel’s AP role, we still need Marcio to have the ability to drift inside and help the midfield battle if necessary. Therefore, this year, I’ll look to make him a more well-rounded player rather than the specialist winger & dribbling package I had for him last year. After that, it’ll be key to work on his end product as he’ll need to contribute to the team’s goal tally in the long-run. More games is the order of the day for this kid, though.
Out of all the trainees, Furlan had easily the worst season. And it pains me to watch as he was such a bright star at one point, but injuries appear to be taking hold of his career. A torn calf early on and then two troublesome ankle injuries meant that he was either injured or recuperating for the entire season. As difficult as it is, Furlan will need to make fairly major progression this year and attempt to push on into the first team if he wants to stay at the club. And to do that, he needs to be injury free. If not, then a transfer awaits.
Luca Giordano (AMC/ST, Deep Lying Forward, aka #8/#10)
Balanced to Fairly Determined
Giordano was a player I didn’t pay much notice to this time last season, but he’s flourished in the Under 18s. Mentally he’s changed very little, which is a shame as he’s fairly poor there, but he’s made small, yet important, gains technically. More of the same this season except he may find himself in the odd cup game as the deep-lying forward if the rotational system allows.
Alain N’Dioro (AML, Inside Forward, aka #11)
Not much to say about N’Dioro that I haven’t already said about Giordana – their player progression has been remarkably similar. However, as we almost always play with a left winger, and N’Dioro is slightly more well rounded than his Italian counterpart, he should see slightly more game-time this season. Hard to predict, though, this kid.
It threatened to be a really frustrating season for David Barnes, as, despite his 20 Premier League goals in the previous campaign for Reading, no team wanted to take him on loan. Yep, not one. This annoyed me somewhat but we got on with it and stuck him into the rotation whenever possible. Whilst I thought he’d struggle for games, his ability to slot in on the left-wing was very handy amongst an injury crisis, and he started 23 games. Whilst he wasn’t in top goalscoring form, often due to his support duty, he contributed well and finished the season with an average rating of 7.35, with 5 goals and 11 assists.
This year will be similar but Barnes will be given more of a role going forward as his goalscoring attributes have improved even further. His ‘golden advanced forward four’ of finishing, composure, anticipation and off the ball are 18, 17, 17 and 20 respectively meaning he’ll score goals whenever he plays. Physically, Barnes is also developing into an absolute machine, with pace, power, strength, balance, everything you could ask for. If we can develop his jumping to combine with his heading ability, we could have another Didier Drogba on our hands. Very pleased with this guy.
Having gone through the trainees early last season, Saldana seemed just another one of the bunch to me. However, after a few comments on the blog, and on Twitter, a few people seemed to quite like him. This led to my estimation of him rising and rather than loaning him out I decided to keep him on and put him in as a rotational player. Despite competing with the more rounded Barnes as well as an Argentinean winger with 20 dribbling & crossing for games, Saldana still got a few. In the end he got himself 20 starts, but was very average in those in terms of end product. He linked play up well when on the left hand side but only contributed 4 goals and 2 assists for the season.
It could have been a much better season for Saldana if he hadn’t torn his groin whilst in a good patch of form. But he’s recovered, and if he stays healthy, should see much better attribute gains this year. One promising thing is that he’s becoming far more than a striker now, he’s a legitimate option in any of the front four positions which means he finds it easy to get game-time. Promising.
Blanc spent the year at Premier League relegation candidates Norwich, who eventually survived by a point. You’d think this would be a good experience for Blanc, who racked up 11 goals in 31 games, whilst also missing 5 weeks with a broken rib. I’m yet to decide whether to loan him out again – a few attributes such as anticipation need some serious work, but there’s very, very little space for him in the rotational system and he’d get little to no game-time. This could leave him rotting in the reserves in a vital year of his footballing development. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know.