FIFA 18 scouting guide: the best way to develop your players

Welcome to the FIFA 18 scouting guide!

The most in-depth and authoritative youth academy guide out there

Whether you’re a youth academy veteran or are yet to send your scout on his first mission, my guides will help you discover the next generation of superstars in FIFA 18.

This guide will show you the best ways to develop your scouted players. If you want to know how to hire a good scout, where to send your scouts in order to find the best players and what type of players you should be looking for, you’ll want to check out my FIFA 18 scouting guide hub page.

The best way to develop players: give them game time

It sounds straightforward, but the number one way to help your youth players grow is to give them game time. The more minutes they spend on the pitch, the quicker they’ll be able to grow.

FIFA 18 scouting guide: the best way to develop your players

Giving your young players a chance in the starting lineup will greatly aid their development

It’s not quite as simple as just throwing them on and watching their OVR shoot up, though. Poor performances and match ratings will lead to slower growth than getting them into good form, for example.

For that reason, you should consider how your season is likely to go. Are you a relegation contender, or will your season be an easy stroll to the title? If it’s the former, it might be better to loan your players out to a place where they won’t be affected by form (more on that later), rather than have them be on the receiving end of a thumping every week.

Sell players to free up squad space

If you know you’re likely to do fairly well in the league but your youth players aren’t quite as good as your starting lineup, you could consider selling some players who are getting in their way. Not only will this give space for your young players to get more game time, but it’ll net you some extra cash too.

FIFA 18 scouting guide: the best way to develop your players

Selling players can free up space for your youth players, as long as they’re more or less good enough to fill the void

This is best if your young players’ OVR ratings are very close to those of your first team squad. That way, there won’t be much of an impact to your starting eleven’s rating. As well as that, if your youth players have high potential, they’ll quickly grow and step into the shoes of the players that you’ve offloaded.

This also has the additional benefit of leaving more space in your squad for the next generation of youth players. FIFA 18 has a maximum squad size of 52 players, so if you have a lot of real players and a ton of youth players too, you’ll hit that limit if you scout lots more players. When that happens, you won’t be able to promote your new youth players to your first team squad, and they might become free agents.

Should you loan your players out?

If you don’t think you can give your young players the game time they need, it’s better to loan them out than to leave them to rot in the reserves. But you shouldn’t just loan them to any old team – there’s something important you need to consider first.

That is that it’s best to loan them to a team that doesn’t play in your division – better yet, loan them to a team that doesn’t even play in the same country as you. That’s because if you send them to a team in your division, they’ll be affected by form. If they end up struggling at a team facing relegation, their poor ratings will affect their growth.

Why do they get affected by form? It seems that FIFA only simulates player form if they’re playing in the same division as you (you can see this by going to Season > Team Stats, selecting a team and looking at each player’s AVG rating on the right-hand side. You can confirm this by going to Transfers > Search Players, highlighting a player and looking at their form rating. Players in every other division will only ever have ‘Okay’ as their form rating, regardless of how many goals or clean sheets they’ve racked up.

FIFA 18 scouting guide: the best way to develop your players

Clubs that play in the same competitions as you are affected by form. Try to avoid loaning your players to these clubs if you can

The exception to that is teams that play in the same cup competitions as you (domestic or international), although they are only affected by form when they play in those cup games. It’s generally OK to loan your players to these teams, as cup games only make up a small portion of the season, and thus form is likely to be less of an impact.

If a player isn’t affected by form, they seem to grow a ‘standard’ amount towards their potential. Usually this means they’ll grow enough to make sure, if they keep growing at this rate, they hit their potential in the mid to late 20s. That’s better than leaving it up to the lottery of form and hoping your players do well on loan; if they don’t, you’ve wasted a season’s worth of growth.

As I said earlier, if your youth players are only a couple of OVR points off your first team, there’s no need to loan them out. Put them on the bench, give them plenty of substitute appearances and the odd starting place, and they’ll soon grow to be good enough for your first team.

Can’t loan players out? Try this

Just be aware that, for some reason, loaning players out seems to be quite tricky this year. It’s not clear why, but players will reject loan offers (both in and out of your club) with alarming regularity. As well as that, there’s the more fundamental problem that you simply may not get as many loan offers as you want.

However, there is a potential solution. It’s not an ideal one, but it gives you a greater chance of success than if you don’t use it. What you need to do is add players to your loan list, then create a new save file at the start of a week. Advance forward one week – if you don’t get a sizeable number of loan offers, reload your save and try again. If you do get a number of offers that you’re happy with, create a new save – this will be your new starting point. Now repeat the process, advancing forward from your new starting point, again only saving once you get enough loan offers. This takes a while and is pretty tedious, but it’s better than just advancing forward without saving and hoping for the best. Needless to say, you can also do this if you’re trying to sell players as well as loan them out.

FIFA 18 scouting guide: the best way to develop your players

With a bit of patience, you should be able to loan players out eventually

Unfortunately, this doesn’t help to fix the problem of your players rejecting the loan offers once you get them. If you get an offer that your player rejects no matter how many times you reload your save, it may be best to reject the offer yourself and try to get one from another team. Hopefully then your player will accept it.

But don’t fret if you can neither give your players game time nor loan them out – high potential players will often grow well even without much game time. It’s just that game time will help them grow even quicker, so you should either play them or loan them out if you can.

Note, however, that if you’ve just promoted or bought a new player, the game doesn’t let you loan them out in that same window (sometimes in the same season), so you have to wait a while before you try to loan them.

Training: how often should you do it?

There’s one word that strikes fear into the hearts of all FIFA career mode fans: training. When it was first introduced in FIFA 16, it seemed like a great idea. However, there was one massive problem: train a player too much and their physical stats would get stunted, leaving them with great technical ability but lacklustre physicality.

Wariness of that problem has stuck with the career mode community ever since. However, in FIFA 18 it doesn’t seem to be nearly as bad as it used to be. Training now has much less impact on your players’ physical stats, and you can happily train them without having to worry about them becoming horribly stunted.

Despite that, I’d still recommend only giving each player a maximum of two slots per week. Why? For one thing, you’re playing it safe – two sessions is not enough to stunt physical growth, giving you piece of mind in case you don’t trust EA to have totally fixed the issue. The other benefit is that it frees up training slots to improve your other players.

FIFA 18 scouting guide: the best way to develop your players

It’s better to spread the load across several players when training, and to simulate the drills

I much prefer to simulate training drills, rather than playing them myself. That’s because the best drills to do – the ones that give your players the best growth – are the hardest ones. Obviously, that means it can be pretty difficult to get good ratings in them, and you only have a limited number of retries available to them. For someone with little patience such as myself, it’s better to risk simulating the drills than to end up getting poor results and a broken controller after playing them yourself. It’s also pretty quick to just reload your save if simulating the training drills gives all your players F ratings.

There’s one thing to note, though – goalkeepers can grow extremely quickly through training, even though you can only give them a maximum of two slots per week. That’s because there are far fewer stats that affected a goalkeeper’s rating than there are for outfield players. It’s therefore much easier to improve their rating in a short amount of time. It’s not uncommon to see 18-year-old goalkeepers hit 80 OVR or higher in FIFA 18, such is the power of training for keepers.

Regardless of whether you’re training goalkeepers or outfield players, it remains a powerful feature of career mode that you should make good use of in order to grow your players.

How to boost your players’ potentials

You’ve probably heard of the loan glitch, even if you’re not sure exactly what it does. Basically, it involves loaning a player out, then instantly recalling them. Doing this sometimes alters their potential, meaning you could give them a potential boost and help them grow even better.

FIFA 18 scouting guide: the best way to develop your players

This player’s potential is “Has potential to be special” before being recalled from loan

The way you check this is by going to Squad > Squad Hub, finding the player you want to boost and checking their Status tab. Under the Status sub-heading, they may have a certain description which gives you a hint as to their potential. Here’s what you might see:

  • “Has potential to be special” means potential 91+
  • “An exciting prospect” means potential 86-90
  • “Showing great potential” means potential 80-85

If you see “At the club since x” where x is a year, it means they have potential of 79 or below.. And if you see the status “Has that special something”, it means the player has the Flair trait.

Make a note of this status message on the player you want to boost. Now, list them for loan and accept the first offer you get. As soon as they’ve been loaned out, save your game. Now go back to the Squad Hub and recall them from the loan, then check their status message – there’s a chance it will have changed.

FIFA 18 scouting guide: the best way to develop your players

Now their potential has decreased to “An exciting prospect”

However, beware that your player’s potential can go down as well as up. That’s why it’s important to save before you recall the player – if their potential decreases, you can always reload your save and try again.

Also watch out for the player’s value (you’ll find it in the Financial tab in the Squad Hub). Sometimes the player’s status won’t change but their value will – this gives you another hint as to whether their potential has changed.


Hopefully this guide has given you a few useful pointers on the best ways to develop your young players in FIFA 18. If you have any suggestions or methods you swear by, make sure you post them in the comments!

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