FIFA 18 Wonderkids: All the best defenders (CB, RB & LB) to sign in career mode

RealSport looks at all the best wonderkid defenders at centre back (CB), right back (RB) and left back (LB) in FIFA 18's career mode.


Finding promising young centre backs in football is incredibly difficult, and it’s the same case on FIFA 18’s Career Mode. You never know how a defender is going to develop, look at England’s Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and John Stones – given how much hype they received early in their careers, they just haven’t come to fruition. However, some go on to become superb players, Sergio Ramos, David Alaba and Raphael Varane being the prime examples. Those players may be a bit out of your budget on Career Mode, so you need to plan for the future.

READ: FIFA 19 Wonderkids: Best Defenders (CB, RB & LB) to sign in career mode

How to choose the best wonderkid defender for FIFA 18 Career Mode

On this page we are looking at the best wonderkid defenders on FIFA 18. We are looking at all of centre backs (CB), right backs (RB) and left backs (LB). These are players aged 16–19 who have overall ratings higher than 65 but have the potential to go one to hit 80 and beyond.

Do note that players can outgrow their potential if they are playing incredibly well. Also be braced that just because these players are young they may not come cheap, as they have very high potentials. In drawing up our best wonderkids, we looked at player stats, potential and age.

We’ve also included a list of the other wonderkid defenders available in the game who are rated 65 or higher at the bottom of the page.

Centre backs (CB)

Massive football fans may recognise one or two names on our best wonderkid centre backs list. 

Matthijs de Ligt (OVR 76 – POT 89)

Age: 18

Positions: CB

Club: Ajax

Country: Netherlands

Work rate: Medium/Medium

Best stats: 83 strength, 83 shot power, 78 heading accuracy

Cost: £20.5 million (release clause)

Wage: £6,000

One of the hottest defensive prospects in the world, Matthijs de Ligt is a regular for Ajax and he’s only 18. The centre back made his debut for the Dutch national team just two games into his professional career, highlighting how high the youngster is rated. 

De Ligt started the Europa League final last season against Manchester United, partnering Davinson Sanchez in defence, who moved to Tottenham this past summer in a £42 million deal. With Sanchez departing, it is now up to de Ligt to lead the Ajax defence.

On FIFA 18, the youngster has a sound 76 overall rating, but with a superb potential of 89 – that’s higher than Jerome Boateng or Leonardo Bonucci. De Ligt has 83 strength, 83 shot power and 80 jumping making a solid defender. His release clause of £20.5 million is 100% worth it for a player who can become one of the best defenders in the world. 

Malang Sarr (OVR 75 – POT 88)

Age: 18

Positions: CB, LB

Club: Nice

Country: France

Work rate: Low/High

Best stats: 80 stamina, 79 strength, 79 composure

Cost: £23.3 million (release clause)

Wage: £13,000

France have produced a number of great centre halves over the years, with Marcel Desailly, Laurent Blanc and Raphael Varane the biggest names. Nice defender Malang Sarr could be the next on the conveyor belt, with the 18-year-old racking up the appearances in Ligue 1. 

Nice finished third in the French top flight last season, with Sarr featuring 32 times in his debut season in professional football. On FIFA 18 the centre or left back has a starting overall of 75, but also holds a superb 88 potential. His best stats include 80 stamina, 79 strength and 79 composure. A £23.3 million fee looks slightly steep for an 18-year-old, but with such great potential he is absolutely worth it. 

Axel Tuanzebe (OVR 73 – POT 84)

Age: 19

Positions: CB, CDM

Club: Manchester United

Country: England

Work rate: Medium/Medium

Best stats: 76 acceleration, 74 standing tackle, 74 strength

Cost: £10.8 million (release clause)

Wage: £39,000

Manchester United fans will be familiar with defender Axel Tuanzebe. The centre back or defensive midfielder was handed four appearances by Jose Mourinho last season during an injury crisis, but with Victor Lindelof arriving in the summer, the 19-year-old will struggle for first team minutes this season. 

Tuanzebe has a respectful starting overall of 73, with a more than decent potential of 84. The England U20 international has 76 sprint speed, 74 acceleration and 74 standing tackle rating on the game. His £10.8 million transfer fee is a fair price, but his hefty wages of £39,000 a week could scare you off. 

Right backs (RB)

The right backs are a bit more unknown, but one is emerging as a Premier League regular.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah (OVR 74 – POT 86)

Age: 19

Positions: RB, CB, CDM

Club: Crystal Palace (on loan from Manchester United)

Country: Netherlands

Work rate: Medium/Medium

Best stats: 85 sprint speed, 84 aggression, 82 acceleration

Cost: £18 million

Wage: £39,000

Sticking with the Manchester United theme, United loanee Timothy Fosu-Mensah kicks off our best right backs. That being said, the 19-year-old can also play at centre back or defensive midfield, so hopefully, his loan spell at Crystal Palace will allow him to narrow down where he is to play for the rest of his career.

Fosu-Mensah has already featured over 21 times for United, and has started all five of Palace’s league games this season. He received his first cap for the Netherlands national team earlier in the season, as the Dutch start planning for the future.

Fosu-Mensah is rated at 74 on FIFA 18, with a stunning potential of 86. His best stats are 85 sprint speed, 84 aggression and 82 acceleration. You will have to wait until the end of the season to get hold of him, but his wages of £39,000 a week puts a move for him up in the air.

Pol Lirola (OVR 74 – POT 80)

Age: 19

Positions: RB

Club: Sassuolo (on loan from Juventus)

Country: Spain

Work rate: High/Medium

Best stats: 83 sprint speed, 80 acceleration, 76 crossing

Cost: £12 million

Wage: £33,000

Right back Pol Lirola continues his loan spell from Juventus at Sassuolo after becoming a regular for the Neroverdi last season. The 19-year-old made 30 appearances last season, grabbing five assists in the process. The Spaniard has already represented his country at U17 and U21 levels,
as well as representing the Catalonia regional team. 

Lirola has a decent rating of 74, with the potential to hit 80, making him a solid squad player for any top tier mid-table club. He holds 83 sprint speed, 80 acceleration and 76 crossing in his arsenal. A price of £12 million seems reasonable, but wages of £33,000 a week may force you to look elsewhere. 

Kelvin Amian Adou (OVR 73 – POT 86)

Age: 19

Positions: RB

Club: Toulouse

Country: France

Work rate: Medium/Medium

Best stats: 76 stamina, 76 marking, 75 standing tackle

Cost: £15 million (release clause)

Wage: £12,000

A similar option to Lirola but with a higher potential is Toulouse right back Kelvin Amian Adou. The Frenchman became a regular for Toulouse last season, his first campaign in professional football. The 19-year-old has passed through the French youth teams from U17 to U21, and don’t be surprised if he gets a shot with the full national team after the 2018 World Cup next summer.

Amian Adou has a 73 overall starting rating but with a potential of 86 which is only topped by fellow right backs Dani Carvajal, Joshua Kimmich, Nelson Semedo and Hector Bellerin on the game. A £15 million fee is about right for the full back, and his current wages of £12,000 should be low enough for you to negotiate a deal. 

Left backs (LB)

A summer signing and two wing back options appear in our best wonderkid left backs. 

Theo Hernandez (OVR 75 – POT 85)

Age: 19

Positions: LB

Club: Real Madrid

Country: France

Work rate: Medium/Medium

Best stats: 85 sprint speed, 82 acceleration, 78 sliding tackle

Cost: £17.8 million (release clause)

Wage: £46,000

Real Madrid nailed down the transfer of Theo Hernandez from rivals Atletico Madrid early on in the transfer window, after the 19-year-old impressed on loan at Alaves last season. The Frenchman featured 38 times over the campaign, creating four goals and notching two himself.

Like Amian Adou, Hernandez is very much on France’s radar, coming through the U18s, U19s and U20s. However with Benjamin Mendy, Layvin Kurzawa and Lucas Digne already fighting it out for the French left back spot, Hernandez will have to be patient for his chance. 

On this year’s FIFA, Hernandez has a 75 overall and 85 potential made up by his 85 rated sprint speed, 82 acceleration and 78 sliding tackle. Having just joined from Atletico Madrid, you will have to wait a season before you can sign Hernandez, but his £17.8 million release clause should be music to your ears. His wages of £46,000 a week are steep, but they will be worth it in the long run. 

Lato (OVR 74 – POT 83)

Age: 19

Positions: LB, LWB, LM

Club: Valencia

Country: Spain

Work rate: High/Medium

Best stats: 82 acceleration, 79 stamina, 78 crossing

Cost: £14.2 million (release clause)

Wage: £12,000

For Career Mode managers looking to play wing-backs, you should consider Valencia man Lato. The 19-year-old left back can also play as a left wing-back or left midfielder with a high attacking work rate. Despite just 12 appearances at The Mestalla, Lato is turning heads around Europe, and has already recorded an assist from his two games this season. 

Lato has a 74 overall rating, but with the potential to reach a very respectable 83 rating. He has 82 rated acceleration, 79 sprint speed and 78 crossing on the game, with a generous release clause of £14.2 million. His starting wages of £12,000 a week make him an very safe option. 

Marcelo Saracchi (OVR 70 – POT 85)

Age: 19

Positions: LB, LWB

Club: River Plate

Country: Uruguay

Work rate: High/Medium

Best stats: 75 stamina, 75 heading accuracy, 74 agility

Cost: £6.4 million (release clause)

Wage: £6,000

Another wing-back option is River Plate’s Marcelo Saracchi who can play as a left back or left wing back, again with a high attacking work rate. Despite being just 19 years old, Saracchi had already played for former club Danubio 57 times, and his experience at such a young age is perhaps what earned him the move to Argentine giants River Plate. 

On FIFA 18 he’s rated at 70, but with a super potential of 85, he is a player any club should consider. His overall is made up by his 75 stamina, 75 heading accuracy and 74 agility. A £6.4 million fee is a bargain for a player with such a high potential, with his wages of £6,000 not an issue at all. 

Other wonderkid centre backs (CB)

PlayerAgePos.ClubCountryOVRPOT
Panagiotis
Retsos
18CB RBB. LeverkusenGreece7285
Justin Hoogma19CBHoffenheimNetherlands7184
Olivier Boscagli19CB LBNimes*France7183
Nikola Milenkovic19CBFiorentinaSerbia7081
Dayot Upamecano18CB CDMRB LeipzigFrance6986
Juan Foyth19CMTottenhamArgentina6886
Cameron Carter-Vickers19CBSheffield United*USA6885
Rick van Drongelen18CB LBHamburgNetherlands6882

Other wonderkid right backs (RB)

PlayerAgePos.
ClubCountryOVRPOT
Pablo Maffeo19RB RWB RMGirona*Spain7285
Nordi Mukiele19RB CBMontpellierFrance7283
Achraf Hakimi18RB LBReal MadridMorocco7181
Ronael Pierre-Gabriel19RB LBSaint-EtienneFrance7181
Giovanni Troupee19RBUtrechtNetherlands7181
Trent Alexander-Arnold18RB RM CMLiverpoolEngland6985
Pedro Pereira19RBBenficaPortugal6982
Felix Passlack18RM RM LBHoffenheim*Germany6984
Diogo Dalot18RBPortoPortugal6883
Aitor Bunuel19RWB RBOsasunaSpain6882

Other wonderkid left backs (LB)

PlayerAgePos.
ClubCountryOVRPOT
Rico Henry19LB LWB LMBrentfordEngland6884
Mathias Olivera19LBGetafeUruguay6880
Blas Riveros19LBBaselParaguay6884
Ryan Sessegnon17LB LWFulhamEngland6786
Marc Cucurella18LBBarcelona BSpain6785

*Denotes players who are on loan

Looking for FIFA 18 wonderkids? Just click the link below:

Strikers

Midfielders (CMs, CAMs & CDMs)

Wingers (LMs, RMs, LWs & RWs)

Argentinian Wonderkids

Brazilian Wonderkids

Looking for FIFA 18 young players in other positions? 

Best young strikers

Best young right wingers & right midfielders (RW & RM)

Best young left wingers & left midfielders (LW & LM)

Best young attacking midfielders (CAM)

Best young central midfielders (CM)

Best young defensive midfielders (CDM)

Best young centre backs (CB)

Best young left backs (LB)

Best young right backs (RB)

Best young goalkeepers (GK)

Looking for free players? 

Contract Expiry Signings Ending in 2018 (First Season)

Contract Expiry Signings Ending in 2019 (Second Season)

Contract Expiry Signings Ending in 2020 (Third Season)

Contract Expiry Signings Ending in 2021 (Fourth Season)

Free Agent XI

Looking for other cheap high potential players?

Best cheap high potential centre backs (CB)

Best cheap high potential left backs (LB)

Best cheap high potential right backs (RB)

Best cheap high potential right wingers (RW) & midfielders (RM)

Best cheap high potential left wingers (LW) & midfielders (LM)

Best cheap high potential attacking midfielders (CAM)

Best cheap high potential strikers

On a tight budget? 

Best loan signings

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Want to boost your players’ stats?

FIFA 18 Chemistry Styles: The Ultimate Guide

Who are you going to sign on Career Mode? Who have been the best signings? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Alastair Pusinelli

I am RealSport's Editor-in-Chief having covered almost everything across the board on the platform. Starting with content on football and the Chinese Super League, I have expanded into esports and gaming, via a stint as rugby editor.

With RS now focused on gaming and working alongside Gfinity, I led the site's coverage on the football titles of FIFA, Football Manager and PES. This has enabled me to cover official esports events such as the FIFA eWorld Cup, FUT Champions Cups and the Gfinity FIFA Series.

Elsewhere, I have been published in The Sunday Times and Variety magazine, as well as working in the offices of Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Hampshire CCC.

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