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FIFA 21 best young players: the best wonderkids in career mode

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Our FIFA 21 best young players list will help you win in career mode fun. Burned out after a sweaty season of Ultimate Team, then get an easy boost from some prime new talent to bolster your squad. There been numerous improvements in FIFA 21's career mode and you can spend your summer building a squad around Gianluigi Donnarumma, Kylian Mbappe and Alphonso Davies, or maybe more obscure names such as Thiago Almada and Nuno Mendes. Sorted by position, these are the 20 brightest talents available this year, collectively making up your FIFA 21 best young players guide. 

Goalkeepers

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Gianluigi Donnarumma

Club: AC Milan
Age: 21
Overall: 85
Potential: 92
Price: £37m

The most valuable young goalkeeper in FIFA 21. His potential puts him in a league of his own, and with the right development, you’ll soon have one of the world’s best goalies on your hands. His jumping and reaction stats make him a keeper who should bail your defence out again and again. 

Maarten Vandevoort

Club: Genk
Age: 18
Overall: 68
Potential: 87
Price: £1.4m

Despite looking like he just got out of daycare, the baby-faced Vandevoort is one of the most promising keepers you can buy this year. Seeing as Maarten’s potential is in the high 80s, his bargain basement price tag makes him an absolute steal. 

Lucas Chevalier 

Club: Lille
Age: 18
Overall: 61
Potential: 83
Price: £425k

While Chevalier certainly isn’t the finished article, his minimal asking price and ludicrously low wage demands – he only wants £500 a week! – make this a keeper worth taking a chance on. Give him minutes in cup competitions and he should blossom, though he’s unlikely to become the most aggressive shot stopper.  

Nico Mantal

Club: Unterhaching
Age: 18
Overall: 61
Potential: 83
Price: £1.8m

This colossal German stands at 6’4, making him one of the most imposing young keepers in FIFA 21. While his composure needs to be developed, his decent reactions and healthy strength stats show that he can be turned into an excellent goalie with enough training and playing time. 

Fortuno

Club: Espanyol
Age: 18
Overall: 62
Potential: 82
Price: £475k

A keeper so under the radar, FIFA 21 doesn’t even list his first name – It’s “Ángel”, in case you were wondering. Thanks to his excellent jumping stats, this is one keeper that should swallow up crosses without too much hassle.

Defenders

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Matthijs De Ligt

Club: Piemonte Calcio
Position: CB
Age: 20
Overall: 85
Potential: 92
Value: £44m

Probably the most coveted young defender in world football – we’ve seen him be as highly priced as £95m in our Career Mode. You’ll need a Chelsea-sized budget if you’re going to prize this once in a generation centre back from Juventus. Sorry, sorry… ‘Piemonte Calcio’. De Ligt scores highly for composure, reactions and heading accuracy, making him a dominant, aggressive defender. 

Alphonso Davies

Club: Bayern Munich
Position: LB, LM, RM
Age: 19
Overall: 85
Potential: 92
Value: £20.5m

Bayern’s lightning left back excels thanks to his exemplary acceleration and sprint speed. Pacey players are king in FIFA 21, so if you pair this left-footed speedster with a similarly rapid left winger, you’re going to terrify opposition fullbacks. Again, you’ll need a hefty budget to get him away from the Allianz Arena.  

William Saliba 

Club: Arsenal
Position: CB
Age: 19
Overall: 74
Potential: 87
Value: £9m

Poor little Willie might not be able to get any playing time for the Gunners in real life, but he’s highly rated in FIFA 21. His potential rating makes him one of the most exciting young centre halves in the game, while his strength, composure and skill at interceptions belies his tender years. 

Nuno Mendes

Club: Sporting CP
Position: LWB, LM
Age: 18
Overall: 72
Potential: 87
Value: £5.5m

Sporting’s agile left wing back has a tempting buyout clause of £12.3m. If your club has the cash and you’re looking for a left-sided speed demon with a high ceiling, you should take him off the Portugese side’s hands. 

Jeremie Frimpong

Club: Celtic
Position: RB, RWB
Age: 19
Overall: 70
Potential: 87
Value: £4.2m

This pacey left back is way too good for the Scottish top flight – sorry, Celtic fans. A skilled dribbler with impressive balance and agility, you’re getting a hell of a player for relatively little money. The Bhoys won’t be happy, but Frimpong will instantly improve your squad. 

Midfielders

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Jadon Sancho

Club: Borussia Dortmund
Position: RM, LM, CAM
Age: 20
Overall: 87
Potential: 93
Value: £111.5m

One of Europe’s most exciting attacking players, Man Utd have been lusting after this incredible English talent for a while now. If your club boasts a transfer budget that would make even Sheikh Mansour wince, the eagle-eyed Sancho can be yours for a truly colossal outlay. 

Sandro Tonali

Club: AC Milan
Position: CDM, CM
Age: 20
Overall: 77
Potential: 91
Value: £50m

A fresh-faced defensive midfielder who’s blessed with impressive acceleration and a rock-solid short passing game. If you like to play the ball out from the back rather than lumping it towards your striker, Sandro fits the tippy-tappy bill nicely. 

Mason Greenwood

Club: Manchester United
Position: RM, ST
Age: 18
Overall: 77
Potential: 89
Value: £13.1m

United’s right-sided midfielder impresses with both his sprint speed and net-rippling shot power. His potential rating gives him one of the highest ceilings in the game. If you have the money, you’d be wise to build the right side of your attack around Greenwood. 

Ferran Torres

Club: Manchester City
Position: RM, LM, CF
Age: 20
Overall: 81
Potential: 89
Value: £23.9m

You don’t inherit David Silva’s shirt at Man City unless Pep sees something in you. Not to be confused with a certain legendary Liverpool striker, Torres made his debut for the Spanish national side earlier in the year. His amazing vision makes him a supremely talented passer. 

Thiago Almada

Club: Velez Sarsfield
Position: CAM, CM, LW
Age: 19
Overall: 73
Potential: 89
Value: £7.7m

Thiago is blessed with a strong all-round game – his balance, agility and acceleration stats all impress. If you don’t want to haggle over the price, his release cause is £14.9m. Not exactly chump change then, but this promising Argentinian should prove well worth the investment. 

Forwards

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Kylian Mbappé

Club: Paris Saint Germain
Position: ST
Age: 21
Overall: 90
Potential: 95
Value: £94m

PSG’s French megastar is already the finished article – he’s already won the World Cup and helped drive his Parisian club to their first Champions League final. Amazingly, he still has room to grow, as his frankly silly 95 potential attests. Rated at 96 for both sprint speed and acceleration, there’s no catching Kylian when he hits full flight. 

Vinicius Jr

Club: Real Madrid
Position: LW
Age: 19
Overall: 80
Potential: 93
Value: £25.5m

If you can’t afford Mbappé – and let’s be honest, you probably can’t – this highly skilled left-sided forward is a good fallback option. Few other players can match his raw potential, while his agility and balance make him a dribbling ninja. Opposing fullbacks beware. 

Erling Haaland

Club: Borussia Dortmund
Position: ST
Age: 19
Overall: 84
Potential: 92
Value: £42m

Not only does Haaland look like a mini Kevin De Bruyne, he boasts an utter rocket of a shot. Strong and aggressive, this tall and intimidating striker will likely prove too expensive for all but the richest of Career Mode clubs. If your transfer budget is obscenely large though, by all means go for Haaland.  

Francisco Trincão

Position: RW, LW, CAM
Age: 20
Overall: 78
Potential: 91
Value: £18m

Though he’s not blessed with blistering pace, Barcelona’s Portuguese forward makes up for his lack of speed with strong vision, dribbling and ball control stats. With the right development, he has the makings of a superstar.  

Ansu Fati

Position: LW, RW
Age: 17
Overall: 76
Potential: 90
Value: £13.5m

Another promising Barcelona forward who is well worth poaching – Ronald Koeman is going to hate you. Fast and agile, Fati is a strong finisher whose impressive balance makes him hard to knock off the ball. Although he’s not particularly tall, his strong jumping stats mean he’s still an aerial threat.

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Dave Meikleham
Paid maker of words, goes by many names: Meiksy… Macklespammer… Big Hungry Joe. Obsessive fan of Metal Gear Solid, Nathan Drake's digital pecks and Dino Crisis 2. Loves Jurassic Park so much, may burst at any moment.