Fictional wonderkids or the real deal – defenders

The Football Manager gaming franchise has been one of the most time-consuming things to invade the lives of the average man (and occasional woman) since, well, football itself. Every season the scramble gets underway to sign the ‘wonderkids’ each version throws up. But how accurate was Football Manager 2013? it would be harsh to expect potential to be fulfilled immediately, just like in the video game, but let’s have a look at the seasons of Premier League defenders bestowed with the tag.


Phil Jones – 21 (Man United)

One of the more well-known youngsters in the English game, Jones will want to have played more of a part as Man United strolled to a 20th title. Only 13 appearances have been possible in an injury-hit season, but in the wake of United’s triumph, Sir Alex Ferguson felt move to predict that Jones could be their greatest ever player. Over the top at this point perhaps, but who dares question Fergie?

Matija Nastasic20 (Man City)

Coming in as a part-exchange for last season’s flop Stefan Savic, the pressure was on Nastasic to prove he was not of a similar ilk to his predecessor. Despite Man City’s failure to adequately challenge for the Premier League title, Nastasic can claim to have made fantastic progress this season, winning the club’s Player Of The Month award for November. Now a partner to Vincent Kompany at the heart of City’s defence, the 20 year-old has a bright future on both the screen and the pitch.

Danny Wilson – 21 (Liverpool)

The young Scot has been spending this season on loan at first Bristol City and then Hearts, getting some valuable first-team experience. He is unlikely to be offered a new deal at Anfield after struggling to break into the side since his move from Rangers, but Hearts are front of the queue to take him back to Scotland.

Karim Rekik18 (Man City)

Rekik is a young Dutch left-sided defender who spent the start of the season at Portsmouth on loan in League One, returned to Man City to make his debut in a 1-0 home win against Reading, and was then farmed out again on loan to Blackburn. One should feel sorry for him, spending so much time at strife-ridden clubs. It can only be good for his maturity though.

Jack Robinson – 19 (Liverpool)

Brendan Rogers’ arrival at Anfield, with little money to spend, was probably the best thing for Robinson’s development, as he quickly became a reliable Europa League back-up option. However, Robinson is now battling relegation to League One at Wolves after being sent out on loan. He is also an England Under-21 international

Steven Caulker – 21 (Tottenham)

The youngster played for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, and has even played for Roy Hodgson’s senior side, scoring a debut goal against Sweden. Caulker made his first Tottenham start in the historic 3-2 win at Man United in September, and has established himself as a reliable option in their defence, with 17 appearances.

As is obvious, Football Manager 2013 didn’t pick out any Rio Ferdinands, but then it’s much harder to identifty stand-out defenders at such a young age. Just ask anyone who watched Richard Dunne at Everton. Watch out for the list of midfielders, coming soon to a computer screen near you.