The Football Manager series lets gamers live their fantasies and become something that they have always dreamed of, managing a football club. The best way to do this is to sign young prodigies or ‘wonderkids’ to grow into the best players in the game.


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There is always a new wonderkid in each edition of the game, but some from past versions have not gone on to live up to their in-game potential. Gareth Bale, Neymar, and Mohamed Salah are examples of the wonderkids that did make it in Football Manager, but many didn’t…

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10/10 Emre Mor

Screenshot Of Emre Mor In Football Manager 2017

The Turkish winger was hot off the press when he moved to German giants Borussia Dortmund in 2016 from Danish club Nordsjælland. In Football Manager 23 he has an okay potential, but now at 25, he is 63 rated with a potential of 75. Not quite how it was meant to go.

Born in Denmark, Mor was meant to be one of the best young players in football and his stats were reflected in Football Manager 2017. Able to reach insane heights, Mor just didn’t do it in further editions of the game and in real life, Borussia Dortmund sold him after just one season. He now plays in Turkey for Fenerbahce, definitely not reaching his FM17 potential.​​​​​​​

9/10 Cherno Samba

Screenshot Of Cherno Samba In Championship Manager 01:02

Cherno Samba is an absolute icon and older fans will remember his name! Back in Championship Manager 01/02, before its name change, Samba would grow to become one of the best strikers in the game.

A youth player at Millwall at the time, everyone would pick up Samba for an insanely cheap price and watch his transformation into a goal-scoring machine. Samba in real life never made a name for himself in the game, never actually played for Millwall, and only played 52 games in his career at the club level.

8/10 Freddy Adu

Screenshot Of Freddy Adu In Football Manager 07

Dubbed the ‘next Pele’ Freddy Adu signed for MLS club DC United at just the age of 14 in 2006 and in Football Manager 2007 his stats and potential were reflective of this.

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Growing to become the best attacking midfielder in the game, Adu never hit those heights and the expectation of him at such a young age hindered his career. Now at 33, Adu is without a club and never reached the top level. What a shame.

7/10 Anthony Vanden Borre

Screenshot Of Anthony Vanden Borre's FM05 Stats

An absolute defensive beast in Football Manager 2005, Vanden Borre is a Belgium defender who would become the best right back in the game and a must-pick-up back in 2005.

However, although he forged a decent career in real life, mainly playing in the top league in Belgium, the FM05 wonderkid did not match his in-game potential, and he is now retired from the game at the age of 35. He initially retired at just 29, claiming he has fallen out of love with the game. A common theme for these former wonderkids.

6/10 Kerlon

Screenshot Of Kerlon In Football Manager 07

In real-life football, Kerlon was known for his ‘seal-dribbling’ skill, he would kick the ball onto his head and carry the ball on his face, just like a seal would. His emphatic skills and great dribbling were reflected in Football Manager 2007.

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The Brazilian was playing for Cruzeiro over in Brazil and the winger was a cheap pickup and would grow into a deadly winger in gamer’s Football Manager save. Big money in real life, Kerlon never made an appearance and faded into obscurity, he is 34 and has not had a club since 2017.

5/10 Hachim Mastour

Screenshot Of Hachim Mastour In Football Manager 2015

Hachim Mastour had something special about him back in 2014 when the youngster was included in AC Milan’s squad at such a young age. His early signs of promise were reflected in Football Manager 2015 when the 16-year-old had massive potential in the game.

The Italian-born Moroccan would go on to become an amazing attacking midfielder, but in real life, he didn’t match this. Released from AC Milan in 2018, he went on to play in the lower Italian leagues and now finds himself in the Morrocan second division. An excellent talent went to waste.

4/10 Ravel Morrison

Screenshot Of Ravel Morrison In Football Manager 2016

Attacking midfielder Ravel Morrison was tipped to be the next big star for Manchester United, he possessed insane talent, and it was said he was a better player than Paul Pogba at the youth level.

From around 2014-2017 his Football Manager stats reflected this, and he was a must-pick-up in the game as he would grow superbly. Attitude problems got the better of Morrison, and he never matched that potential, Football Manager 23 rates him at 57 with a potential of 69. Now 29, he has bounced around different countries a lot and Wayne Rooney signed him for DC United in the MLS. Is he the next Freddy Adu?​​​​​​​

3/10 Mark Kerr

Screenshot Of Mark Kerr In Championship Manager 01/02

Just like Cherno Samba, Mark Kerr was an amazing pickup in Championship Manager 01/02 the midfielder was playing for Falkirk in Scotland from a young age. Fans could snatch him for a cheap fee, and he would become one of the best players in the world.

But with all due respect, Kerr never did anything of note in the game, nothing like he could do in CM 01/02. He mainly played in the Scottish Leagues and is now retired from playing at the age of 40. What could have been?

2/10 Yaya Sanogo

Screenshot Of Yaya Sanogo In Football Manager 2011

After scoring 11 goals in 21 games for French side Auxerre English Premier League side Arsenal took a chance on the youngster in 2013. But back in 2011, Football Manager 2011 already rated the young Frenchmen, and he would be a goal machine for any gamers save.

In real-life, Sanogo was released from Arsenal and moved on to Toulouse back in France in 2017, it didn’t work out for him there either and after a short spell with Huddersfield Town, Sanogo finds himself without a club at 29 years old.

1/10 Federico Macheda

Screenshot Of Federico Macheda In Football Manager

Another Manchester United Football Manager wonderkid. Federico Macheda looked like the next big striker for his club in the late 00s. Football Manager’s 06/08 had him as one of the best young forwards to pick up. Available for a cheap price too.

Macheda did not meet this potential and in real life was let go by his club in 2014 and mainly made a name for himself playing over in Greece. What could have been for the Premier League if Macheda could meet the stats he could reach on Football Manager? In this year’s edition of the game, he has a 60 rating and a potential of 65. Safe to say they got this one wrong.

Football Manager 23is available now on Steam, Windows, Stadia, Xbox Series X/S, Playstation 5, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android.

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