I’ve played the career / manager mode (or equivalent) on every FIFA game since 98, so I’ve purchased my fair share of youth players in the game series. Every year I find at least one future star, so I’ve decided to share my current starting eleven in the hopes that you might enjoy using some of these players in your own career mode! I started my career mode on FIFA 14 as QPR, who have an above average budget for a Championship side.
None of these players will break the bank, but one or two of them will be slightly pricier than the others. I’ve tried to give an option to the position as well in the section ‘rotation players’. I’ll start by saying that I’m an Arsenal fan, and any time I start a new career on any FIFA game I always raid the Arsenal youth players first. It’s because I know them and how they play on the game, plus they’re usually reasonably priced!
GK: Thibaut Courtois – There are very few decent young goalkeepers on this game. At least, few that will amount to much over the course of a few seasons on FIFA 14. The majority of good young goalkeepers have already been snapped up by Premier League clubs, Lloris is staying at Spurs, De Gea is loved at Man United and Szcesney is set to keep the number one jersey at Arsenal. All of these players are fantastic, but the real future star is Courtois. The 6ft6″ Belgian is tall, reliable, athletic and reasonably priced (depending on when you bid for him in the season). He starts at around 84 overall, but has the potential to rise into the low 90s, which is amazing for a goalkeeper. He might be a little pricey, but he’s an incredible investment.
LB: Danny Rose – The Tottenham and future England international is a relatively decent player to have either as a starting left back, or a rotation left back, depending on your finances. I personally play him as my second left back, with David Alaba as my starting player. Rose starts on 73, but has the potential to grow to around 79/80 if you give him regular football. He’s fast, has a good tackle and he’s also pretty decent in the air. He’s relatively inexpensive, so he’ll make the perfect starter or rotation player for a pretty decent overall side.
CB: Eric Dier – The young, English Sporting CP centre back makes an incredibly reliable addition to your back four. He’s sturdy, commanding in the air and he’s bulky, which means he’s tough in the tackles and decent on the slide. He starts pretty low, around 73 overall. But give it a couple of seasons and he can go up to the low 80s, peaking around 82/83. If, like me, you relish young English talent, you should look no further than Dier for your starting eleven.
CB: Karim Rekik – This young Man City centre back makes a brilliant addition to your defensive roster. He’s relatively tall and incredible in the air, winning the majority of headers both in and out of the box. His standing tackle is pretty solid, though his sliding does leave a little to be desired at times. I tend to play either him or Dier with another, older centre back who acts as my captain. Players like Kompany, Vermerlan or Vidic all make brilliant commanding centre backs and they partner well with a younger centre back next to them. Players like the above are also quite quick, when it comes to centre backs, so they’re good at mopping up after missed tackles or headers, whereas Dier and Rekik are pretty slow and a little clumsy.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne – Another young Englishman for the right back position. Clyne is fast, stylish and can whip a mean cross into the box if you have him playing as a wing back or advanced right back. He starts at 73 overall, but can rise to 81/82 in just two or three seasons. He makes a brilliant starting right back, particularly if you pick him up early in a lower division and stick with him as you advance towards the higher leagues and bigger competitions.
CM\RW: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – I play The Ox in a bit of an unconventional position. I love him in the CM/CDM role, but it isn’t for everyone. Defensively, he’s relatively stable, making good tackles with his terrier like tenacity. But he’s best when running with the ball. He has an average pace, but seems to be almost un-knockable when he’s built up a head of steam. It’s hard to get him off of the ball and he can make some fantastic powering runs from deep in midfield, he’s a real box-to-box player. I don’t think that these skills are really utilised on the right wing. Though he is down as a right winger, I still believe that he is best when running at the defence and other midfielders. I currently play him as a rotation player with Aaron Ramsey / Paul Pogba, but at a starting rating of 77, you can’t really go wrong with him in your starting eleven. He has a potential of 85 overall, so although he is a little pricey, the investment is well worth it.
CM: Aaron Ramsey – He has really come into his own this season for Arsenal, finally finding the form that he was building towards before his horrific double leg break all of those seasons ago. Ramsey also starts on 77 with a potential of around 84/85 and, as a midfielder, he’s a real all-rounder. Much like Mikel Arteta, he plays well as a deep lying midfielder but, unlike Arteta, he can make explosive powering runs with the ball and has an above-average shot for a central midfielder. He’s a little more expensive than Chamberlain, but as a midfield duo in the centre of the park, they’re more than worth splashing the cash on.
CM/CDM: Paul Pogba – This man is pretty much the definition of brick wall. I see Pogba as the next Viera / Yaya Toure (not that Toure has retired yet). He is pricey, but he’s definitely one of the future stars to look out for. He’s powerful in midfield, with a good defensive and offensive header, decent standing tackle and reliable slide tackle. He’s great for breaking up play in the centre of the park, and his incredible shot power and long shot accuracy make him formidable from a distance. I’ve actually scored a goal from just past the halfway line with an absolute screamer strike with Pogba. He’s tough to beat both in defensively and offensively from a distance.
CAM: Julian Draxler – Julian is by far my favourite player on my current QPR team, with a starting rating of 80 overall. He slots right in, and you can probably secure him for your team in the first season for around £10-£15 million. His potential is around 86-88, depending on how much you play him and how long you play for. After my first season with him in centre attack midfield, he had scored twelve goals and accumulated twenty-five assists, just in the Premier League tallies. In the next transfer window I was getting starting offers of around £30 million, and I continue to get those sorts of offers three years on. He really is an investment, but I refuse to sell him. He’s just that good. The best thing about him is his finishing, and he can score a goal from pretty much anywhere in the box. That means that he makes the perfect centre attacking midfielder and a fantastic backup striker.
RW/ST: Leandro – I first purchased this little Brazilian on FIFA 12 for my Norwich team, and he was sensational from the outset. He starts at around 75, but his rate of progression is outstanding, with him topping 82 in just two seasons for my QPR team on FIFA 14. I play him on the right wing / right forward position, but he fits in pretty much anywhere in attack. He has the potential of around 88, which is perfect for a striker that you can pick up for around £10 million early on. If you offer him enough money with a long term contract, you can be paying £20K wages for a player rated 84/85 overall. That’s the dream for a young striker!
RW/ST: Ezekiel – This young striker is incredibly speedy, so he’s definitely at home on the wing or in the right forward position. He progresses in the same way as Leandro and, play wise, they’re actually incredibly similar. He starts at 73, but has a potential of 84, so he makes a great starting striker a few seasons down the line or, depending on the quality of the rest of your team, a pretty decent winger / rotation striker.
LW/LM: Junior Hoilett – I must admit, I can’t take the praise for this player. He’s already on QPRs books, so when I took over the team he had already cemented himself as a popular winger on the left. He’s quick and has a brilliant finish. Even better, he starts at around 77 overall, so he can slot right in to pretty much any mid-table team. He has a potential of 82, so the little Canadian is one of the better budget left wingers out there!
ST: Romelu Lukaku – This man is a beast, a tank, an absolute monster. He has a potential of 86 overall, which is very good for a tall striker. Especially as he’s a bit of a power house. I bought him in my second season, when he was rated 78 overall. But, if you play him regularly, he will reach his full potential in just a couple of seasons. There’s only one drawback with the young Belgian, he’s incredibly left footed. Like, ridiculously so. He will scuff almost anything on his right foot, perhaps even if faced with an open goal. It’s weird, because his weak foot is rated at four stars, so he should be pretty good on his right. Still, anything on his left is almost guaranteed to hit the back of the net. The best thing about Lukaku is the amount of money that you can make from from his re-sale. I brought him in for around £8 million and I’m now getting offers of around £38 million. That’s one hell of a profit… not that I’m going to sell him.
Rotation / Cheaper Players
Here are one or two rotation and cheaper players that make great backups or half decent starters.
GK: Kasper Schmeichel – Much like his father, Kasper is smart, athletic and an absolute beast when charging out of the box. He’s a brilliant backup keeper and a reliable starter for a four star team.
LB: Luke Shaw – Luke starts relatively low, at 70 overall. But if you play him regularly, or send him out on loan you can get him to around 85 overall. That’s a pretty major increase, so patience is golden!
CB: Kurt Zouma – Kurt takes a little longer than Rekik to progress, but they’re very similar players. I have him as a backup defender on my team, and you really can’t complain with having him on the bench. For a lower rated team, he makes the perfect centre back. Plus, lower league sides have a really good chance of singing him on a season-long loan, which I would really suggest you do if you’re looking for an inexpensive decent defender.
CAM: Jonjo Shelvey – He doesn’t have brilliant potential, with a max growth of around 78/79. Still, as a backup player, he has a lot of potential. I like having him on the bench to bring in when Draxler is tired, or if I’m playing some of the lower teams in the league.
ST: Yaya Sanogo – Sanogo starts at 65, so it takes a lot of patience to get him to his full potential of 80. But, if you take the time to play him or loan him out, he’s fantastic to have coming off of the bench. He has a decent pass and a pretty good shot form inside the box. He makes a great super sub, often snatching the winner in the dying minutes for me.
The Old Reliables
These are the sorts of players that you’d bring in for a season or two, just to fill the gaps, especially if you’re starting in a lower division. One or two of them you might need to wait a season or three before they’re affordable, but they’re still worth the money!
Joey Barton – QPR (ready straight away) – he’s kind of like Marmite, you either love him or hate him. I love him, on FIFA at least, he makes great tackles and is an absolute terrier in the middle of the park. He plays with his heart on his sleeve, which is admirable for any player.
Thierry Henry – New York Red Bulls (ready straight away) – As an Arsenal fan, Henry is, in my eyes, an absolute legend. He can fit into pretty much any team and, despite his age, he can still perform.
Ashley Cole – Chelsea (ready after one season) – Despite the memes, Cole is still a decent left back. So, if you have a little cash lying around, he will do the job for one or two seasons!
Turner – Cardiff (ready straight away) – Turner is an absolutely solid centre back for Cardiff, and he works pretty well in other teams too.
Zlatan – PSG (give him a season or two) – What can you say about Ibra? He’s a God on the football pitch, both in his own eyes and the eyes of his fans. He’s a great striker and, after one or two seasons, he’s very affordable.
So there you go! A few players that will help you create a most epic team on FIFA 14s career mode! If you have any other players that you love using in the game mode, why not post about them in the comments section below! I’m currently looking for a good young CDM, so advise away!