Nothing in PES gives you that feeling of supreme satisfaction more than assembling a team of potential wonderkids and best young players, training them to their full potential and delivering glory to your club season upon season thereafter.
It's the model Barcelona has historically sought to promote through a dedication to the La Masia youth academy, and there's no reason why you can't do the same in PES 2018.
We've compiled a list as to those players aged 21 or under that we think you should be looking at, whether your goal is to construct a team full of up-and-coming talent or to add just a couple of youngsters to ready yourself for the retirement of older players.
If you've moved onto PES 2019 and are looking for the highest-rated overall players in PES 2019, we've got you covered there too.
The best, highest potential wonderkids and players in PES 2018
Note that the following table lists clubs as per their real names. PES 2018 doesn't include officially licensed clubs in all instances, but we've a real team name guide here to help you change MD White to Real Madrid and London FC to Chelsea.
It's also worth noting that players listed below are done so using the club team they play for in PES 2018 as it stands at time of publishing.
That's why, for instance, O. Dembele is listed here as Borussia Dortmund player even though he has been transferred to Barcelona in life. The same goes for Y. Tielemans (Anderlecht > Monaco), D. Sanchez (Ajax > Tottenham) and a couple of others.
|L. Sane||Man City||LMF||21||83|
|D Alli||Tottenham Hotspur||AMF||21||83|
|Marco Asensio||Real Madrid||AMF||21||83|
|G. Donarumma||AC Milan||GK||18||82|
|K. Mbappe||Paris Saint-Germain||CF||19||82|
|O. Dembele||Borussia Dortmund||LWF||20||82|
|T. Werner||RasenBall Sport Leipzig||CF||21||81|
|J. Brandt||Free Agent||LWF||21||81|
|Gabriel Jesus||Man City||CF||20||80|
|T. Hernandez||CD Alaves||LB||20||80|
|D. Sanchez||AFC Ajax||CB||21||80|
|M. Rashford||Man Utd||CF||20||79|
|Mikel Oyarzabal||Real Sociedad||LWF||20||79|
|C. Pavon||Boca Juniors||RWF||21||79|
|R. Bentacur||Boca Juniors||CMF||20||79|
|S. Driussi||River Plate||CF||21||79|
|Renato Sanches||Free Agent||CMF||20||79|
|Dani Ceballos||Real Betis||CMF||21||78|
|A Harit||FC Nantes||AMF||20||78|
|E. Mammana||OM Lyonnais||CB||21||78|
|G. Lo Celso||Paris Saint-Germain||AMF||21||78|
|J. Gnagnon||Stade Rennais||CB||20||78|
|Diogo Jota||FC Porto||SS||21||78|
|C. Pulisic||Borussia Dortmund||RWF||19||78|
|B. Embolo||FC Schalke 04||CF||20||78|
|A. Christensen||Free Agent||CB||21||78|
|W. Ndidi||Leicester City||DMF||21||77|
|M. Locatelli||AC Milan||DMF||19||76|
|Ruben Neves||FC Porto||DMF||20||75|
|Adama Traore - 75 Teeside||Middlesborough||RWF||21||75|
|V. Kovalenko||Shakhtar Donetsk||AMF||21||75|
Other things you should know about wonderkids and high potential players in PES 2018
Based on the above, there are a couple of points worth bearing in mind when hunting down future world class talent:
- Unlike FIFA, PES 2018 doesn't list a player's future potential as a definitive number. Instead, players have a development depth as part of their attribute package that shows how they have developed over the years. From this graph you can make a rough estimate as to how they're going to progress in future and whether or not they're currently a development spurt.
- Taking the above into account, a player's age remains a key factor in judging their future potential. J. Brandt (Free Agent in PES 2018, Bayer Leverkusen in real life), for instance, has seen great growth in overall rating from the age of 17 to 21. You might want to bet on that continuing, or you might want to go for someone younger likes C. Pulisic. Pulisic is rated lower than Brandt now, but he is two years younger. Younger players might not be as good today, but they're more room to grow into tomorrow.
Looking for more help? See our resources on PES 2018 potential wonderkids and best young players, real team names, and, for those playing PES 19, PS4 and PC owners can read how to download option files in PES 2019 and likewise the highest rated best players in PES 19, too.
- Don't necessarily go straight for the highest-rated potential players. Although it's great if you have the cash, often you're better off doing a little searching around for players at smaller clubs or for ones without a club. Given that PES 2018 doesn't feature licenses for all teams, you can pick up some great young stars on the cheap from the free agent market. J. Brandt is a good example of this, as is Renato Sanchez given that the club he is contracted to, Bayern Munich, are not officially in the game.
- Keep an eye on any team roles your players acquire in Master League mode that relate to their future potential. If a youngster developers the 'Protege' role, for instance, then you should seriously think about playing them in every game as they will earn experience much faster than normal and, subsequently, improve their overall rating.
- Team roles of older players in your squad can also help developer a potential wonderkid, too. If you have a player with the elite role of 'Legend' or 'Virtuoso', for instance, then it's worth making them captain by default because that triggers a boost to the experience points earned for all teammates.