FIFA 21 best young players: Career mode’s top strikers, midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers

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Goal takes a look at the potential abilities of some of the world’s best wonderkids in Career Mode on the latest version of the football game
Career Mode is one of the most popular game modes and also the most challenging in FIFA each year and that has not changed for FIFA 21.

This year’s management mode has the option to make transfers more realistic – so you won’t see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo moving to Man City in the first window – meaning that finding hidden gems and unearthing wonderkids is even more important than in the past.

The new player growth and player development improvements in FIFA 21 Career Mode mean that you can guide and shape your youth players into superstars exactly they way you want, giving them new roles and even new positions that best suit your tactics and their strengths.

To help get you started on your Career Mode journey, Goal has compiled a list of the best young players in FIFA 21. These are the players aged 20 or under who have the highest potential rating in the game and are divided by position in the lists below.

All players are listed by their main position, but any position they can play is shown. For example, Mason Greenwood is listed as a midfielder as his primary position is RM, but he can also play as ST. The new player growth options also mean that you could easily train him to be a RW, CF or even LM in the Squad Hub

This list of best young players includes every player with a high potential rating, nt just superstars like Erling Haaland or Joao Felix, but also lesser-known players that may be available at lower prices and may even be willing to move to teams in lower leagues.

All players need the right training and lots of gametime to ensure they develop properly and reach their full potential. Substitutes and reserve players will not improve as well if they do not get minutes.

PO. = Position(s)

CR = Current Rating

PR = Potential Rating

VA. = Value

*Clubs listed are the clubs the players are assigned to in FIFA 21 Career Mode, while ages shown are the age at the start of Career Mode

FIFA 21: Best Young Goalkeepers
Name Age Club PO. CR PR VA.
M Vandevoordt 18 Genk GK 68 87 £1.4m
L Chevalier 18 Lille GK 61 83 £430k
N Mantl 20 Unterhaching GK 69 83 £1.8m
C Fruchtl 20 Bayern Munich II GK 66 83 £1.1m
Fortuna 18 Espanyol GK 62 82 £475k
F Jorgensen 18 Villarreal GK 62 82 £475k
M Carnesecchi 20 Atalanta GK 66 82 £1.1m
G Bazunu 18 Man City GK 60 82 £360k
Diogo Costa 20 Porto GK 70 82 £2.3m
J Olschowsky 18 Borussia M’gladbach GK 63 81 £560k
S Bajic 18 Saint-Etienne GK 62 81 £475k
Ivan Martinez 18 Osasuna GK 60 81 £360k
K Scherpen 20 Ajax GK 67 81 £1.3m
I Meslier 20 Leeds GK 69 81 £1.4m
L Plogmann 20 Werder Bremen GK 64 81 £765k
L Kasten 19 Wolfsburg GK 62 80 £500k
A Trubin 18 Shakhtar Donetsk GK 63 80 £565k
Altube 20 Real Madrid GK 63 80 £600k
M Kovar 20 Man Utd GK 64 80 £765k
J Blazquez 19 Atletico Talleres GK 63 80 £600k
M Roffo 20 Boca Juniors GK 64 80 £765k
R Majecki 20 Monaco GK 68 80 £1.2m
This year’s crop of goalkeepers is not as highly-regarded as previous years, mainly because AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma is now 21 and a little too old for this list of the best young players.

However, the best young goalkeepers in FIFA 21 are probably much more affordable as a result, with Porto’s Diogo Costa the most expensive on the list at just over £2 million.

Genk’s Maarten Vandervoordt has the highest potential of any young goalkeeper in FIFA 21 and can reach an overall rating of 87. Man City’s Gavin Bazunu is on loan at Rochdale at the start of the game, but is relatively inexpensive at under £400k.

FIFA 21: Best Young Defenders

M De Ligt 20 Piemonte Calcio CB 85 92 £44.6m
A Davies 19 Bayern Munich LB, LM, RM 81 89 £20.3m
Nuno Mendes 18 Sporting CP LWB, LM 72 87 £5.4m
W Saliba 19 Arsenal CB 74 87 £9m
O Kabak 20 Schalke CB 77 87 £11.7m
B Arrey-Mbi 17 Bayern Munich II CB, LB 60 86 £385k
L Netz 17 Hertha BSC LB, LM 63 86 £675k
J Frimpong 19 Celtic RB, RWB 70 86 £3.2m
Eduardo Quaresma 18 Sporting CP CB 72 86 £5.4m
S Dest 19 Barcelona RB 75 86 £9m
J Gvardiol 18 RB Leipzig CB, LB 69 86 £1.8m
L Stergiou 18 St Gallen CB 67 86 £1.4m
J Todibo 20 Barcelona CB 75 86 £9.5m
R Ait Nouri 19 Angers LB 71 86 £4.2m
R James 20 Chelsea RB, CDM 77 86 £11.3m
O Wijndal 20 AZ Alkmaar LB 77 86 £11.3m
O Rekik 18 Hertha BSC CB 63 85 £700k
T Kouassi 18 Bayern Munich CB, CDM 71 85 £4.1m
M Kana 17 Anderlecht CM, CDM, CM 65 85 £900k
Nuno Tavares 20 Benfica LB 72 85 £5m
M Kumbulla 20 Roma CB 75 85 £9m
Tomas Tavares 20 Benfica CB 73 85 £5.9m
Eric Garcia 19 Man City CB 72 85 £5m
N Perez 20 Atletico Madrid CB 75 85 £9m
B Williams 19 Man Utd LB, LWB 75 85 £8.6m
N Williams 19 Liverpool RB 67 85 £1.4m
J Vagnoman 19 Hamburg RB, LM, LB 69 85 £1.9m
C Riad 17 Barcelona CB 59 84 £300k
L Pirola 18 Inter CB 63 84 £700k
K Hoever 18 Wolves RB, CB 63 84 £700k
N Katterbach 19 Koln LB 70 84 £3.2m
L Cacace 19 Sint-Truidense LB, LWB 73 84 £5.4m
P Schuurs 20 Ajax CB 75 84 £8.6m
Alex Centelles 20 Valencia LB 74 84 £7.2m
Z Vanheusden 20 Standard Liege CB 73 84 £5.9m
T Malacia 20 Feyenoord LB 75 84 £8.6m
E Ndicka 20 Eintracht Frankfurt CB, LB 74 84 £7.7m
E Ampadu 19 Chelsea CB, CDM 67 84 £1.4m
It should come as no surprise that Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt is the highest-rated young defender in FIFA 21 and also the defensive wonderkid with the highest potential. Due to rights issues, Juventus are known as Piemonte Calcio in the game, featuring a new badge as well as new kits.

Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies has the highest potential of all full-backs in the game and can reach an 89 overall score from his initial 81 rating. Davies’ phenomenal speed should also be a huge asset and he is valued at over £20m at the start of the game.

Bayern’s reserve side have one of the highest-potential yet affordable players in Bright Arrey-Mbi, who can play in the middle or on the left of defence and is available for less than half a million. His value is low because his initial rating is also low, but this could make him affordable and attractive for teams looking to build for the future and sides that may be able to play him immediately.

FIFA 21: Best Young Midfielders
Sandro Tonali AC Milan 2020-21
Name Age Club PO. CR PR VA.
J Sancho 20 Borussia Dortmund RM, LM, CAM 87 93 £62.6m
S Tonali 20 AC Milan CDM, CM 77 91 £16.7m
M Greenwood 18 Man Utd RM, ST 77 89 £13.1m
T Almada 19 Velez Sarsfield CAM, CM, LW 73 89 £7.7m
Ferran Torres 20 Man City RM, LM, CF 81 89 £23.9m
T Kubo 19 Real Madrid RM, CM, CAM 75 89 £13.1m
F Wirtz 17 Bayer Leverkusen CAM, RM 68 88 £1.6m
J Bellingham 17 Borussia Dortmund CM, LM, RM 69 88 £1.9m
Pedri 17 Barcelona LM, CAM 72 88 £5.4m
R Cherki 16 Lyon CAM, RM, LM 67 88 £1.5m
E Camavinga 17 Rennes CM 76 88 £10.8m
M Ihattaren 18 PSV CAM, RM, CM 77 88 £12.6m
B Saka 18 Arsenal LM, LWB, RW 75 88 £10.8m
A Urzi 20 Atletico Banfield LM, CM, RM 73 88 £8.1m
Riqui Puig 20 Barcelona CM, CAM 75 88 £11.3m
M Diaby 20 Bayer Leverkusen LM 81 88 £22.5m
P Foden 20 Man City CAM, CM 79 88 £17.6
F Pellistri 18 Penarol RM, RW 71 87 £4.4m
M Caqueret 20 Lyon CM, CDM 75 87 £10.8m
A Hlozek 17 Sparta Praha RM, ST, LM 74 87 £8.6m
R Gravenberch 18 Ajax CM, CDM 71 87 £4.3m
G Reyna 17 Borussia Dortmund LM, CAM 68 87 £1.7m
B Kamara 20 Marseille CDM, CB 79 87 £15.3m
D Szoboszlai 19 Red Bull Salzburg CAM, LM 75 87 £10.4m
N Madueke 18 PSV RM, ST 70 86 £3.3m
A Vranckx 17 Mechelen CM, CDM 66 86 £1.2m
Gustavo Assuncao 20 Familiaco CDM 74 86 £8.6m
Tete 20 Shakhtar Donetsk RM, CAM 75 86 £10.4m
M Solomon 20 Shakhtar Donetsk RM, LM, CAM 73 86 £6.8m
B Gilmour 19 Chelsea CM, CAM 71 86 £4.5m
G Tsitaishvili 19 Dynamo Kyiv RM, LM 72 86 £5.9m
D McNeil 20 Burnley LM 78 86 £14m
D Caicedo 20 Deportivo Cali RM 68 86 £1.8m
N Zaniolo 20 Roma CAM, RM 76 86 £11.3m
R Sessegnon 20 Spurs LM, LW, LB 75 86 £10.4m
Florentino 20 Benfica CDM, CM 76 86 £10.4m
Romario Baro 20 Porto RM, CAM 73 85 £6.3m
Y Demir 17 Rapid Wien CAM, RW 64 85 £880k
Marcos Antonio 20 Shakhtar Donetsk CM 72 85 £5.4m
M Daramy 18 Kobenhavn RM, ST, LM 67 85 £1.4m
Y Verschaeren 18 Anderlecht CAM, RW, LW 72 85 £5m
X Simons 17 PSG CM 65 85 £990k
M Kudus 19 Ajax CAM, CM 75 85 £9.5m
M Longstaff 20 Newcastle CM, CDM 72 85 £5.4m
R Matondo 19 Schalke LM, ST, RM 70 85 £3.4m
O Kokcu 19 Feyenoord CAM, CM 75 85 £9.5m
H Traore 20 Sassuolo CAM, CM 71 85 £4.5m
E Smith Rowe 19 Arsenal CAM, RM, RW 69 85 £2.1m
Paulinho 19 Bayer Leverkusen CAM, RM 74 85 £8.6m
Joe Willock 20 Arsenal CAM, CM 71 85 £4.5m
After being in the middle of one of the biggest transfer sagas in the summer, Jadon Sancho remains at Borussia Dortmund, meaning that he is sure to be an attractive option for teams with big budgets in real life and in FIFA 21.

The English youngster is already one of the best wide players in the game with an 87 rating, but can get even better and reach the same rating as Lionel Messi – 93.

New AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali also has huge potential, but the Serie A side may not be willing to sell him so soon after signing him.

Bundesliga duo Jude Bellingham and Florian Wirtz are probably more achievable signings due to their age and values at the beginning of the game. Bellingham might not be available straight away, but could be an affordable option during the second transfer window.


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FIFA 21: Best Young Forwards
Erling Haaland, Borussia Dortmund 2020-21
Name Age Club PO. CR PR VA.
Joao Felix 20 Atletico Madrid CF, ST 81 93 £28.8m
Vinicius Jr 19 Real Madrid LW 80 93 £24.8m
E Haaland 19 Borussia Dortmund ST 84 92 £40.5m
Trincao 20 Barcelona RW, LW, CAM 78 91 £18m
Ansu Fati 17 Barcelona LW, RW 76 90 £13.5m
Rodrygo 19 Real Madrid RW, LW 79 90 £18.9m
Antony 20 Ajax RW, LW 78 88 £15.3m
J Doku 18 Anderlecht RW, LW 71 88 £4.4m
J David 20 Lille ST, CF, CAM 77 88 £14m
Luis Henrique 18 Marseille RW 67 87 £1.7m
Evanilson 20 Porto ST 73 87 £8.1m
Joelson Fernandes 17 Sporting CP RW, LW 69 87 £1.9m
Reinier 18 Real Madrid CF, CAM 71 87 £4.4m
K Adeyemi 18 Red Bull Salzburg ST, LW 69 87 £2m
D Kulusevski 20 Juventus RW, CAM 77 87 £13.1m
M Boadu 19 AZ Alkmaar ST 75 87 £10.4m
S Esposito 17 SPAL ST 66 86 £1.2m
G Plata 19 Sporting CP RW 74 86 £9m
Rafael Camacho 20 Sporting CP RW 73 86 £6.8m
C Hudson-Odoi 19 Chelsea RW, LW 74 86 £9m
A Isak 20 Real Sociedad ST 79 86 £16.2m
Brahim 20 Real Madrid LW 74 86 £9m
Fabio Silva 17 Wolves ST 69 85 £1.9m
Gabriel Martinelli 19 Arsenal LW, LM, ST 74 85 £8.6m
H Elliott 17 Liverpool RW 65 85 £990k
P De la Vega 19 Atletico Lanus RW, LW 71 85 £4.5m
T Parrott 18 Spurs ST 65 85 £990k
B Mbeumo 20 Brentford RW, ST 74 85 £8.6m
Along with Sancho, Joao Felix and Vinicius Jr have the highest potential in FIFA 21. All three players can reach 93 overall, but Felix and Vinicius are valued at less than £25m at the beginning of the game.

Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland can become a 92-rated striker but his initial rating of 84 overall means he will cost at least £40m to sign in Career Mode.

Anderlecht’s Jeremy Doku and Luis Henrique of Marseille start with lower ratings initially, but are both capable of becoming two of the best wingers in the game. They are priced at less than £2m initially, making them affordable options. The new player growth options also mean that you could retrain them to play through the middle rather than out wide, turning them into dangerous striking options.


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