Searching for wonderkids in Football Manager has become something of a ritual for many of the game's loyal fans - us included - but much of that process is made more difficult now than it ever has been, thanks to the unreliability of scouts and a relatively new manager attributes mechanic which allows you to select your own level of player knowledge.
Uncovering the future greats of the game is both romantic and satisfying, but there's also a joy and sense of pride in being able to draw the most out of those you know are loaded with grand potential.
What follows is twofold. First, a quick explanation on player rankings and hidden stats on how player ability and potential ability work. Second, a full list of the 50 best Wonderkids in FM18.
How does player potential ability work for Wonderkids in Football Manager 2018?
A player's overall ability is split into two areas: current ability and potential ability. These are available to view in multiple ways however, with varying degrees of effectiveness:
- A player's attributes, rated out of 20. The accuracy of this depends on your in-game player knowledge, personal ability to judge players' usefulness and the quality of your scouting department
- A player's star rating, rated out of 5 stars. This depends on your scouting knowledge and scout's own Judging Play Ability and Judging Player Potential attributes. The longer you spend scouting a player the more accurate the star rating becomes.
- A player's hidden current ability and future potential stats, rated out of 200. These serve as an unoffical 'overall' stat.
'Hidden stats' sounds awfully mysterious, but in reality they simply function as a set of raw numbers which operate under the surface in Football Manager, and are, in fact, the most accurate way to discern your players' ability and potential.
These come in two forms: Current Ability and Potential Ability, and are only possible to view in the official Football Manager Editor or similar unofficial tools created by the most dedicated fans. Both are rated out of 200 and represent the opinions of FM's real-world scouts. It is always interesting to keep track of FM players who enjoy a high Potential Ability rating and observe whether they achieve such heights in real-life.
Finally, on top of that it's worth noting that these figures for Potential Ability are only the maximums possible, and not a guaranteed number. To reach that potential the player will need the highest possible rated training facilities, coaches, mentorship, training focuses and match time, too. So there's still plenty of challenge there for you, regardless of who you sign.
For reference, some of the worlds very best players rate around 195, but there are few others over 190 current ability at all.
Football Manager 2018 best Wonderkids list
We've decided that only players of 20 years of age or younger are eligible for a Wonderkid listing below:
|Rank||Name||Position||Current Ability||Potential Ability||Age||Club|
|1||Gianluigi Donnarumma||GK||151||186||18||AC Milan|
|2||Ousmane Dembele||AM (LR), M (RL)||162||185||20||Barcelona|
|3||Gabriel Jesus||AM (R), ST||150||184||20||Man City|
|4||Kylian Mbappe||AM (R), ST||147||184||18||PSG|
|6||Leon Bailey||AM (LR), M (RL)||139||179||19||Leverkusen|
|7||Moise Kean||AM (L), ST||116||178||17||Verona|
|8||Youri Tielemans||AM (C), M (C)||140||176||20||Monaco|
|9||Kai Havertz||AM (C), M (C)||133||176||18||Leverkusen|
|11||Rodrygo||AM (L), ST||96||175||16||Santos|
|12||Andrija Zivkovic||AM (LR)||143||170||20||Benfica|
|13||Franck Kessie||DM, M (C)||148||170||20||AC Milan|
|14||Abdelhak Nouri||AM (LRC), M (C)||117||169||20||Ajax|
|15||Federico Valverde||DM, M (C)||120||169||18||Coruna|
|16||Amadou Diawara||DM, M (C)||148||169||19||Napoli|
|17||Mikel Oyarzabal||AM (LRC), M (C)||141||169||20||Real Sociedad|
|18||Lewis Cook||DM, M (C)||124||169||20||Bournemouth|
|19||Theo Hernandez||D (L), WB (L)||134||169||19||Real Madrid|
|20||Jesus Vallejo||D (C)||136||169||20||Real Madrid|
|21||Ruben Neves||DM, M (C)||141||168||20||Wolves|
|22||Dani Cabellos||AM (C), M (C)||142||168||20||Real Madrid|
|23||Paulinho||ST||112||168||16||Vasco De Gama|
|24||Mateus Vital||AM (LC), M (L)||123||168||19||Vasco De Gama|
|25||Wendel||DM, M (C)||137||168||19||Fluminese|
|26||Charly Musonda||DM, AM (LRC), M (C)||130||168||20||Chelsea|
|27||Renato Sanches||DM, M (C)||140||167||19||Swansea|
|28||Nikola Milenkovic||D (C)||117||167||19||Fiorentina|
|29||Federico Chiesa||AM (LR), M (R)||139||167||19||Fiorentina|
|30||Goncalo Guedes||AM (LR), ST||143||167||20||Valencia|
|31||Benjamin Henrichs||D (RL), WB (R), M (C)||141||167||20||Leverkusen|
|32||Thiago Almada||AM (C)||91||167||16||Velez|
|33||Gabriel Barbosa||AM (R), ST||134||167||20||Benfica|
|34||Dayot Upamenco||D (C)||128||167||18||RB Leipzig|
|35||Kuki||AM (RC), ST||111||167||19||Cartagena|
|36||Breel Embolo||AM (R), M (R), ST||140||166||20||Gelsenkirchen|
|37||Carlos Sober||DM, M (RC)||142||166||20||Valencia|
|39||Jordi Mboula||AM (R)||112||166||18||Monaco|
|42||Reiss Nelson||AM (LR)||111||166||17||Arsenal|
|43||Gedson Fernandes||D (R), AM (R), M (C)||116||166||18||Benfica|
|44||Wilfred Ndidi||DM, M (C)||132||165||20||Leicester|
|45||Kieran Tierney||D (L), WB (L)||137||165||20||Celtic|
|46||Aaron||D (L), WB (L)||130||165||20||Espanyol|
|47||Thiago Maia||WB (L), DM||136||165||20||Lille|
|48||Adrien Bongiovanni||AM (LC)||102||165||17||Monaco|
|49||Christian Fruchtl||GK||106||165||17||Bayern Munich|
Additional reporting by Chris Tapsell.