FM 17: Top 10 Best Young English Players

Here’s RealSport’s picks for the top ten young English players on Football Manager 2017, all aged 23 or under!

oliver stein by Oli Stein

Having English players in your squad as a Premier League club is becoming increasingly important given that you need a minimum of eight players trained in England for three years before their 21st birthday. Moreover, it’s also a concern for clubs playing in the Europa or Champions League.

For this reason, it’s always prudent to invest in some young English talent if only just to fulfil these quotas. To make life easy for you, we’ve picked out FM17’s top young English talent aged 23-years-old or younger.

Jack Butland, 23, Goalkeeper, Stoke (£17.5m, £35k p/w, CA 3 – PA 4)


In truth, Stoke’s 23-year-old ‘keeper is ready to push Joe Hart for England’s number one spot already. He’s agile (18), has great aerial reach (18), reflexes (18) and strong in one-on-one situations (16). Moreover, his handling (15) and kicking (14) are decent enough. He’s already mentally attuned to the game in terms of his concentration (15) and composure (14). However, the drawback with Butland is that he starts the game nursing a broken ankle (four to five months) so he won’t be available immediately. Plus, he’s Stoke’s key man so you’re going to need a bid in the region of £50m to tempt the Potters into selling.

John Stones, 22, Central Defender, Manchester City (£28.5m, £100k p/w, CA 3 – PA 4)


Stones has only recently signed for Manchester City so you’re going to encounter some real problems trying to sign him away from the Citizens. However, if you succeed, you’d be signing one of England’s most promising young talents. In terms of his defending, the 22-year-old can tackle (16), mark (15) and position himself (14), though he’s also good on the ball: passing 14 and first touch 13. For a youngster, his mental stats are impressive as Stones is composed (17), brave (15) and works hard (14). Lastly, he’s naturally fit (19) and pretty quick (15).

Brendan Galloway, 20, Left back, Everton (£6m, £22.5k, CA 2.5 – PA 5) 


Everton’s 20-year-old central and left-sided defender is currently on loan at West Brom, so earmark him for the future and observe his season on loan to see how he fares. He’s technically gifted for a youngster, having tackling of 15, a first touch of 13, passing of 13 and crossing of 13, meaning he can play as a centre-back or a left back. He’s also quick (14) and fit (14) which aids his versatility. Galloway is also determined (15), and hard-working (14). He could be a long-term partner to John Stones at the core of England’s defence. 

Eric Dier, 22, Central Defender, Tottenham (£31m, £60k p/w, CA 3.5 – PA 4.5)


If you decided to pursue Eric Dier, you’d not only be signing a central defender, but also a natural right back and an accomplished defensive midfielder. That’s the beauty of Dier; he’s so versatile. This is because, generally, he’s a great athlete: pace 16, strength 13 and acceleration 16. Moreover, he can tackle (15), mark (15), head (15) and position himself (17), key attributes for both centre-halves and defensive midfielders. He can also pass (13) and has a good first touch (14) and cross (14). Mentally, he’s brave (16), composed (15), determined (15) and works hard (15). Overall, the 22-year-old would be a brilliant, versatile signing.

Lewis Cook, 19, Central Midfielder, Bournemouth (£10m, £30k p/w, CA 2.5 – PA 5)


Bournemouth’s newly acquired central midfielder is certainly another young English talent for the shortlist and he should be fairly attainable given the Cherries’ smaller status. Naturally, he’s a good athlete (pace 13, natural fitness 16 and agility 14) and he’s technically decent for a 19-year-old (passing 13, tackling 14 and dribbling 13), but it’s his mental attributes that stand out the most. He’s determined (15), anticipates situations well (15), is brave (14), fairly composed (13) and hard working (13).

Dele Alli, 20, Attacking Midfielder, Tottenham (£30m, £50k p/w, CA 3.5 – PA 5)


Dele Alli, quite simply, is phenomenal. He scored ten and assisted eleven in the Premier League last season, which was his debut year in the top-flight and he was only 19 at the time. At age 20, he’s already first-team ready for the world’s best teams and Spurs will struggle to keep hold of him. His finishing (16), dribbling (15), passing (16) and technique (15) means he can play either as an advanced playmaker or a roaming playmaker, for example. Mentally, his anticipation is high (16), he’s brave (15) and composed (15). In addition, his flair rating of 16 underpins his flashy playing style. Alli is also agile (15) and fairly quick (14). All in all, he’s a versatile attacking midfielder capable of achieving 7.9/8.0 average ratings each season.

Will Hughes, 21, Central Midfielder, Derby (£10.5m, £12k p/w, CA 3 – PA 4.5)


Will Hughes is probably the most attainable target on this list, given that he’s still plying his trade for Derby in the Championship. However, the fact that he’s spent so long at the club raises questions over his suitability for the Premier League and whether he can cut it. He’s not that strong (9), but he his agile (13) and fairly fast (13). Technically, he can pass (14), has good technique (14), first touch (13) and can finish (13). It means he can play as an advanced playmaker, a deep-lying playmaker or even roaming. Mentally, his attributes suggest that he’s beyond his years. He’s focussed (16), composed (14), determined (15) and makes good decisions (15). He also has good vision (15) and flair (15). For around £20m, Hughes is well worth a punt.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 22, Winger, Arsenal (£22m, £94k p/w, CA 3.5 – PA 5)


You forget that Oxlade-Chamberlain is only 22-years-old, given that he’s been a first team regular at the Gunners for since the 2012/13 season. If you can help him overcome his plaguing injury concerns, Oxlade-Chamberlain will be a class addition to your squad. This is because, primarily, he possesses great pace (16) and acceleration (17). Moreover, technically, he can cross (12), dribble (16) and has good technique (16). He’s a skilful player, underlined by his flair (17). Moreover, he’s determined (15), hard-working (14) and focussed (15). At such a young age with room to develop, Oxlade-Chamberlain can dominate English football for years to come.

Raheem Sterling, 21, Winger, Manchester City (£30.5m, £150k p/w, CA 3 – PA 4.5)


Sterling is on a large contract at the Citizens and has only recently made the move from Liverpool, so I think he’s set in Manchester for the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, he’s one of England’s brightest young talents, despite a disappointing campaign at Euro 2016. His speed and athleticism underlines his overall gameplay: pace 16, acceleration 17 and agility 16. He’s also a good dribbler (15) and has good technique (13). His other technical attributes leave a lot to be desired, so you’re best served using Sterling primarily as a winger, rather than an inside forward. Mentally, his vision is okay (12), but he has a good amount of flair (15) and a high level of teamwork (14). To be honest, Sterling is rated extremely highly by FM17’s scouting team, but I don’t think he’s worth the massive outlay you’d inevitably have to spend to bring him to your club.

Harry Kane, 22, Striker, Tottenham (£34.5m, £50k p/w, CA 4 – PA 4.5)

The game recommends ‘target man’ for Kane’s best role, though I’ve witnessed the wonders he can work as a complete forward. This is because he, obviously, can finish (16), dribble (12), pass (12), head (16) and shoot from distance (15). Moreover, he’s very focussed (17), determined (16) and hard working (16), which is an essential part of his overall gameplay. Kane is also composed in front of goal (15) and brave (15). Although he’s not particularly quick (13), he’s naturally fit (16) and has a high level of stamina (16). The 22-year-old forward is one of those players that just doesn’t burn out. No word of a lie, my Harry Kane on FM16 scored 39 Premier League goals and then 29 for the next two years after.

Related articles:

FM 17: Top Ten Wonderkids
FM 17: Best Contract Expiring Signings
FM 17: Top Ten Free Agents
FM 17: Top Ten Wonderkid Midfielders
FM 17: Top Ten Wonderkid Strikers
FM 17: Top 10 Bargain Centre Backs
FM 17: Top Ten Bargain Midfielders
FM17: Top Ten Bargain Wingers
FM 17: Top 10 Bargain Right Backs
FM 17: Top 10 Bargain Left Backs
FM 17: Top Ten Players
FM 17: Wonderkid XI
FM 17: Top Ten Loan Signings
FM 17: Premier League Clubs Transfer & Wage Budgets Revealed

Oli Stein

Oli graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in History and has worked with RealSport since September 2016. Currently assistant football editor and Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @steinoliver_