Football Manager 2016: The best teenagers — Wingers

I recently wrote a post about a few defensive midfielders I expected to stand out in Football Manager 2016 — you can check it out here; I’ve written about the attributes, preferred positions, and potential of Matias Kranevitter, Lucas Romero, Victor Wanyama, Sven Bender and more excellent ball-winners and deep-lying playmakers. The article quickly became by far the most popular one on my blog, and gave me the idea of writing more player profiles, since fellow FM-ers seem incredibly keen on using the existing FM community to assist their due diligence and scouting process.

I’m currently ten seasons into my primary save on FM16, and am in charge of Manchester United; During this time, I’ve come across some spectacular young talents who are guaranteed to achieved stardom in the game and in real life over the next decade. In this series, I’ll briefly discuss over 40 of the best teenagers, categorized by playing position — I’ll look at their attributes at age 24-28, when they’ve had a good few years to develop and reach their full potential. Looking at their careers in my save will hopefully give you a good idea of their expected career paths and how you can get the best out of them.

Given there are over 40 teenagers on this shortlist, I’ve divided it into four — potentially even five — parts; in this fourth article, I’ll deal with some of the most talented wonderkid wingers in the game.

I should mention here that the star ratings for potential are deceptively low; these midfielders are being evaluated based on my Manchester United side that has won nine Premier League titles and seven Capital One Cups in a row, reached five European Champions Cup finals in a row, winning three, and won two FA Cups. Some high standards, in short.

For the first article in the series, where I profile seven outstanding teenage goalkeepers, click here.

For the second article in the series, where I profile nine outstanding teenage defenders, click here.

For the third article in the series, where I discuss nine brilliant teenage midfielders, click here.

The wingers covered in this article are: Bilal Ould-Chikh, Che Nunnely, Goncalo Guedes, Julian Brandt, Lincoln, Gerson, Patrick Roberts, Tiziano Tulissi, Tobias Svendsen, and Andrija Zivkovic.

 

Bilal Ould-Chikh
Club: Benfica | Nationality: Dutch | Position: M(R), AM(RC), M(LC), AM(L) | Age: 18

We kick things off with one of many astounding young players at Benfica; he’s not the first in this series I’m working on, and he most certainly won’t be the last. A graduate of FC Twente’s academy, Ould-Chikh is a highly technical, tricky winger with very high levels of creativity. Cutting in from the right hand side or playing in behind the striker, he offers no shortage of goal contributions, and is guaranteed to develop into a world superstar.

Bilal Ould-Chikh_ Overview Profile

At 26 in 2023, the Dutch winger of Moroccan descent has become a fearsome winger for Bayern Munich, thanks to his key technical attributes of Dribbling (16), First Touch (16), Passing (17), and Technique (17); he is Mentally and Physically well-developed, with most attributes in the healthy 14-16 range, although his Decisions (18) and Vision (18) mean he is decisive in the final third, picking gaps in between defenders. His preferred moves are, as can be expected, perfectly suited for his position and strengths; the fact that he prefers playing on the left, and tries first time shots (not visible in the screenshot) means he is actually well suited to the Inside Forward role on the right, since it allows him to cut inside.

From a tactical perspective, my observations of Ould-Chikh have been that, if played on the right, he operates better without a central attacking midfielder occupying the spaces behind the striker, giving him more freedom of movement (for instance, his Bayern Munich side play a traditional 4-4-2 with him on either flank, operating with devastating effectiveness). Furthermore, a weakness that may well be common for most players in his mold is the complete lack of aerial threat he poses, thanks to Heading (7) and Jumping Reach (6); these attributes, combined with his Preferred Move of coming deep to get the ball, imply that he would intuitively be ill-suited to a team that prefers to Clear the Ball to the Flanks.

His scouting report indicates his strengths are his intelligence, consistency, and adaptability; however, it also raises a red flag, which is his susceptibility to injuries; he has been out with various injuries for a total of 32 weeks so far in my save (I’m in November 2023). Whether this is significant really depends on each individual manager’s preferences.

His record in my save has been stellar; since joining Bayern Munich at the start of the 2020/21 season (age 24), he has scored 23 goals and made 38 assists in 101 appearances, with average ratings consistently above 7.50. With key passes at around 4% of total passes made so far in the 2022/23 season, and round 35 passes made per game, Ould-Chikh can be counted on to provide a creative threat in the final third.

A caveat for those interested in the Dutchman is that he joined Benfica in the summer of 2015, and will therefore not be available for a transfer for the first season. But he should definitely be on any top club’s shortlist (if you go in early, you could sign him young for a medium-sized club), given he has the potential to challenge for major individual honours in a few seasons.

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Che Nunnely
Club: Ajax Amsterdam | Nationality: Dutch | Position: AM(R), M(R), AM(L) | Age: 16

The second Dutch winger on this list, Nunnely is only 16 years old, entering his second season of senior professional football, and my word, if he isn’t just the best wonderkid in the game. Oh wait, he is; his Best Young Player at the 2018 World Cup, 3rd-place finish in the World Cup 2022 Best Player award, finishing in the World Cup 2022 Dream Team, in addition to being shortlisted for the World Golden Ball in 2021 and 2022, before winning it in 2023 and becoming the Best Player in Europe for 2023 prove that Nunnely has the world at his feet.

Che Nunnely_ Overview Profile

At age 24, Nunnely still has a little way to go before he reaches his full potential, which is a scary prospect given how good he already is. With key attributes of Crossing (17), Dribbling (16), First Touch (17), Technique (17), Acceleration (18), and Pace (18), and his exclusively attack-minded Preferred Moves, it is not difficult to see what kind of player he is. At his best as a Winger on the right flank, while still ruthlessly effective on the left, Nunnely’s game is all about hugging the touchline, running at the full-back, using his explosive speed to leave him flat on his arse, and crossing the ball in. He shows excellent movement and timing of runs as well, and most of his goals (from either flank) come from meeting crosses from the other winger or full-back.

A common theme throughout this article, if there was  a weakness in Nunnely’s game, it is his lack of aerial threat; however, he is better than most in this regard, having won an impressive 56% of headers attempted in the current 2023/24 campaign. He has also proved relatively injury-prone in my save, spending a total of 46 weeks on the sidelines as of November 2023; this has not proved a problem for me, given my rotation policy — if anything, he is so un-droppable when fit and flying that an injury every now and then lets me give my substitute winger some game time!

Nunnely has been a force of nature since I signed him for my Man United side for £53,000,000 in January 2022 (age 22); he has made 101 appearances in a United shirt so far, scoring 48 goals and laying on another 48 for his team-mates at an incredibly ratio of almost 1 goal contribution a game from the flanks. He has made between 5.50 and 6.50 dribbles per 90 minutes for United, with his career best being an astonishing 8.97 in one season with Tottenham.

Consistency has been one of his strongest points; analysis of the 2021/22 English Premier Division and European Champions Cup tournaments shows Nunnely was the best in England for Distance Covered per Game (8.98 miles over 29 appearances), Goal Contribution (7 goals and 15 assists in 29 games), and 5th-best for Dribbles per Game (6.04 per game in 29), while also covering the most distance of any player in Europe (8.95 miles over 8 appearances).

As his manager at Manchester United, I’m pinching myself at the prospect of getting another good 7-8 years of 35+ goal contributions out of the rapid winger, and would recommend him without hesitation to anyone, at any price.

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Goncalo Guedes
Club: Benfica | Nationality: Portuguese | Position: AM(RL), M(R) | Age: 19

Having discussed two Dutch wingers, it’s time to assess the second “second” of this list; another of many outstanding graduates of Benfica’s academy, Goncalo Guedes is, like Che Nunnely and Bilal Ould-Chikh, a fleet-footed winger who is a serious threat from either flank.

Gonçalo Guedes_ Overview Profile

At age 27 in February 2024, Guedes is mentally well-developed, with Mentals in the 13-15 range. Physically, he has the Acceleration (16) and Pace (16) required to be an effective winger, and stands out for his Jumping Reach (12) and Height (5’11”), which make him a more potent aerial threat than, say, Ould-Chikh. Technically, the standout attributes are Crossing (16), First Touch (16), and Technique (17); his ability from distance (Long Shots – 17) make him a threat cutting in from the left flank onto his preferred right foot, where he operates best.

A comparison with Che Nunnely shows that the Dutch winger enjoy the upper hand in almost all key attributes, especially the Mental ones. However, one area in which Guedes stands out is his astonishing injury record — as of February 2024, he has suffered only one injury in this save, that being a dislocated shoulder, indicating a highly resilient player.

In his seven full seasons at Benfica before a big-money move to Paris Saint-Germain, Guedes has made 239 appearances in all competitions, scoring 42 and creating 53 goals, at one goal contribution in less than three games.  Average ratings have been between 7.20 and 7.30, with around 2.5 dribbles per game and a healthy pass completion of above 65%. However decent this figures are, Guedes has been known to do much better in human-managed teams, and I’m guessing he’d provide closer competition for the likes of Memphis Depay and Nunnely if he was in my team.

Regardless, like most other wingers on this list, Guedes is potentially world-class, and should be snapped up without hesitation.

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Julian Brandt
Club: Bayer Leverkusen | Nationality: German | Position: M/AM(R,L) | Age: 19

One of the brightest German prospects in the game, Julian Brandt is capable of playing at extremely high levels in four positions, but excels as a left-sided winger, where he has spent most of his career in my save. With his combination of height, pace, strength, and technical ability, Brandt offers a serious attacking threat, and can be expected to rake in goals and assists on a regular basis.

Julian Brandt_ Overview Profile

Brandt’s First Touch (18), Dribbling (16), Technique (16), Acceleration (17), and Pace (17) make him an excellent Inside Forward from the left flank, and he specializes in beating his full-back, cutting in, and linking up with either a deep-lying striker or an attacking midfielder. A threat from distance as well as set pieces, Brandt is also a very creative player, thanks to his Anticipation (17), Passing (15), and Vision (16), and routinely contributes 15 assists a season.

Thanks to his height and Strength (14), there are no real weaknesses in his game, and his positional versatility shows a highly adaptable player. Another bonus is his exemplary injury record, with the longest time spent on the sidelines being three weeks.

In 33 appearances so far in the 2024/25 season (age 29), Brandt has been effective going forward, with shot-on-target ratio of 43% and 3.66 dribbles per 90 minutes, resulting in 11 goals and 6 assists. In fact, his record has consistently been very good; in 447 club appearances in my save, Brandt has scored 77 and created 133, at just less than a goal contribution every two games. During this time, he has consistently made above 3.10 dribbles per game, and his 44 Player of the Match awards and average ratings above 7.20 indicate a highly decisive player.

In all, Brandt is the perfect player for a system that relies on aggressive wingers and a combination of intricate build-up play and explosive attacking in the final third.

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Lincoln
Club: Gremio | Nationality: Brazilian | Position: AM(LC) | Age: 17

One of the newest members of the FM database, Lincoln enters his second season of professional football with Gremio in 2016, and is already looking like a spectacular creative prospect. While he is more of a playmaker than a natural winger, Lincoln is fully comfortable on the left flank, and works best in a role that allows him creative freedom of movement.

Lincoln_ Overview Profile-2

A look at Lincoln’s attributes in 2025 (age 26) shows no real weaknesses in his game; indeed, he is even a threat in the air, unlike a few players on this list. He has very decent Physicals (almost all 15) that are matched by his Work Rate (15). Technically, he has a great First Touch (17) and Technique (16); however, he really stands out for his Passing (16), Flair (18), and Vision (19), meaning he is constantly on the lookout for attacking runs to pick out. Allied with his Composure and Teamwork (both 16), this allows him to perform as the creative outlet for the benefit of the team.

Lincoln is also a major threat from set pieces, with Corners and Free-Kick Taking very high. He may be found wanting in the Determination department (10), but the advantage of signing him young is you have time to train him well.

Lincoln has consistently been superb in my save, making 40+ appearances in all but one season despite being 17 at the start of the game; his attacking output has been high throughout as well, and he has scored 111 and assisted 94 goals in 538 club appearances as of March 2025. As expected for a creative player with a penchant for long passes, his pass completion percentages have hovered in the mid-60% range; however, his dribbling ability and tendency to play key passes more than compensate for this.

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Gerson
Club: Fluminense | Nationality: Brazilian | Position: AM(RLC) | Age: 18

Another flamboyant Brazilian midfielder with an eye for a pass, Gerson is capable of playing anywhere behind the striker, but despite bearing a few striking similarities to Lincoln. needs a bit of training to become as well-developed. Nonetheless, he is an excellent creative player, and his impressive attacking record in the Serie A in my save shows his potential for an attacking side.

Gérson_ Overview Profile

Gerson possesses impressive Technical — Dribbling (15), Passing (16), Technique (16) — and Mental — Composure (16), Flair (16), and Vision (16) — attributes, and his Acceleration (16) and Pace (15) enable him to play as an inside forward from the right. While he may be slightly inferior to Lincoln in most aspects, he stands out for his Determination (15), a key attribute in deciding the long-term progress and adaptability of a player to different circumstances. With work on his Positioning and Balance, Gerson could yet reach Lincoln’s level.

Gerson has been very good for Fluminense, Roma, and now Atletico in my save. Focusing on his four best years (age 22-26) spent in Serie A, he scored 37 goals and created a further 41 in 189 appearances, very few of which came from the bench. This achievement is made even more significant by the fact that Roma finished outside the top three in each of those seasons.

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Patrick Roberts
Club: Manchester City | Nationality: English | Position: M(R),AM(RC),M/AM(L) | Age: 18

This young English winger will be familiar to veterans of FM13 and FM14, and remains one of the brightest prospects in the English game. Positionally versatile with high levels of creativity and an eye for a pass, Roberts is a Natural in three positions in addition to being able to play in two more at a high level, making him a useful member of a rotation-heavy squad.

Patrick Roberts_ Overview Profile

Roberts stands out for his technical abilities, specifically his Dribbling (17), Technique (17), Flair (17), and Vision (16); in addition to the fact that he is left-footed, has high levels of Agility (16), Acceleration (16), and Pace (15), and enjoys running with the ball through the center, this makes him an ideal Inside Forward cutting in from the right flank.

Like most on this list, Roberts lacks in the aerial department, and would thus be more suited to a team that builds from the back along the ground; he thrives in systems that let him take on full-backs with minimal defensive duties, and can make up to 4 dribbles a game in an average season. Don’t be fooled by his effectiveness in the final third; he also covers huge distances in games, having run over 9.0 miles per game in each of the last two Premier League seasons (age 26 and 27).

Roberts has enjoyed a mixed track record in my save, having made 261 appearances in all competitions for a number of clubs including Derby and current side Norwich, scoring 49 and creating 62 goals; he excelled in his 173 appearances in the Championship with Derby (age 21 to 24), scoring 38 and creating 43, at just less than one goal contribution every two games.

His relative success in the Championship with an AI-managed side seems to indicate he’d do extremely well as the creative outlet in a human-managed mid-division Premier League side, and I would imagine him being capable of delivering up to 30 goal contributions a season. In fact, his recent performances with Norwich in my save have prompted interest from Arsenal, resulting in the estimated cost of £34,500,000 to £44,500,000 for a player with three years on his contract and a market value of £24,500,000. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is actually worth that amount if managed well.

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Tiziano Tulissi
Club: Atalanta | Nationality: Italian | Position: AM(RC), ST(C), AM(L) | Age: 18

While Tulissi is a Natural either as a striker or in behind one, he arguably performs best as an Inside Forward cutting in from the right side, where his technical prowess, agility and eye for goal make him a major threat. On the right side of a 4-3-3, Tulissi has proven himself as a highly reliable goal-scorer, and can fit into even the best European sides.

Tiziano Tulissi_ Overview Profile

Like Roberts, Tulissi’s key attributes — Dribbling (15), First Touch (15), Technique (16), Agility (17), Flair (16) and Pace (16) — at age 27 make him an excellent right-sided attacker, and his Preferred Moves indicate he can pose a serious threat from distance. However, what sets Tulissi apart from Roberts as a potentially world-class winger is his Mental attributes — with Anticipation (16), Composure (16), Decisions (16), and Determination (17) at extremely high levels, Tulissi is adaptable and highly decisive in high-pressure situations.

If there is a weakness to his game, it is his lack of aerial ability, a common theme throughout this article, and his Work Rate (10), which means his team’s tactical system needs to be compact in midfield to account for his lack of tracking back.

In my save, Tulissi spent the first three or four years being shuffled around lower-division English sides on loan, without ever really getting a run of games. However, since 2017 (age 20), he has played 303 games in all competitions, for clubs like Liverpool and Man City, scoring 98 and creating 37. Since joining Liverpool at age 23, his performances have taken on another level, with average ratings consistently above 7.20; he has made above 4.30 dribbles every 90 minutes, with pass completion in the mid-70% range and cross completion in the low-30% range.

In all, the young Italian is an exciting prospect and can be expected to mature into a high-quality winger; the fact that he begins the game at Atalanta, and not one of the top clubs, means he should not be difficult to sign, despite strong interest from around Europe.

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Tobias Svendsen
Club: Molde | Nationality: Norwegian | Position: AM(L),M(L),AM(RC) | Age: 16

One of the few players who can arguably slip under the radar for mid-sized clubs with limited scouting budgets, this Norwegian winger is nonetheless an absolute steal, and should be at the very top of any small- to mid-sized team’s shortlist. An extremely creative left-sided player, Svendsen can contribute anywhere between 12 to 15 goals a season and, given his age at the start of the game, has a good 15 years of high-level performances in him.

Tobias Svendsen_ Overview Profile-2

Key attributes for the winger are, as expected, Crossing (14), Dribbling (17), First Touch (16), Technique (17), and Acceleration (16). His Determination (18) is excellent, and ticks one of the first boxes I always look for in potential new signings. With decent Teamwork (12), Work Rate (12), Concentration (11) and other core Mental attributes, Svendsen is a model professional.

The major weakness in his game is, well, almost every aspect of his physicality. If the other players on this list were liabilities in the air, Svendsen is totally non-existent; his Strength (7), Jumping Reach (1), Heading (7), and Natural Fitness (9) are woeful, and at 5’4″ and 24 year of age in June 2024, there is almost no chance he will improve on that front. Therefore, deciding whether to sign Svendsen will depend on your team’s style of play; he is very suitable to a crossing-heavy game, and his strong point is beating a man and putting an early ball in.

In his 228 appearances for Molde as of June 2024, Svendsen has scored a healthy 58 goals and made 63 assists, averaging more than a goal contribution every two games. As expected, his game relies heavily on his dribbling ability, and he has made no less than 4 dribbles per 90 minutes in each of the last six campaigns. He has routinely been voted among the best players in the Norwegian league, and ended the most recent campaign with a domestic league record of 22 assists.

From the screenshot, you’ll see that despite his excellent attributes, age, and contract status (two years to go at Molde), his market value is still a paltry £3,600,000, which shows how affordable he will be at any stage of your save. Svendsen is almost like one of the early Championship Manager players, a cheap, unheard-of Scandinavian meant for big things.

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Andrija Zivkovic
Club: Partizan | Nationality: Serbian | Position: AM(R),M(RL),AM(LC) | Age: 19

A left-footed winger who prefers cutting in from the right, Zivkovic has the technical ability and intelligence of movement to find and exploit gaps in defenses either by making runs into the channels or feeding runners off him.

Andrija Zivkovic_ Overview Profile

At age 28 in March 2025, his attributes are off the charts; with Crossing (16), First Touch (17), Technique (17), Composure (17), Flair (17), Off the Ball (17), Vision (18), Acceleration (16), and Agility (16) all superb, Zivkovic offers an immense variety of options in the final third. His Work Rate (13), Determination (15), Decisions (16), Passing (15), Pace (15), and Dribbling (15) make him the complete wide player.

While his lack of aerial ability may raise a question mark, there can be no doubts that, if utilized in the right system and given space to operate in, Zivkovic can score and create goals galore. His injury record may also raise an eyebrow, as he has missed 27 weeks through injuries.

Zivkovic has come into his own since moving to Sevilla at the age of 24 in my save, and has scored 63 goals and created an impressive 82 in his 239 appearances for the Spanish side, thanks in no small part to his ability from set pieces. During this time, he has made slightly less than three dribbles per game, in addition to completing above 60% of all attempted passes, and achieving shot-on-target ratios of just less than 40%, showing his effectiveness in the final third.

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4 thoughts on “Football Manager 2016: The best teenagers — Wingers

  1. Very useful list. I got zivkovic and bazoer (dc/dm/mc), thanks to you. Breel Embolo is another excellent winger.

    Looking forward to your ‘strikers’ list. Oh and maybe one of fullbacks. I manage Swansea and am seriously in need of a wonderkid replacement for Neil Taylor (who has been nothing but superb).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey! Thanks a lot! I’ve been wanting to write a similar list about strikers (and another one about midfielders) for AGES. One of the many problems has been the urge to continue playing the game, haha. Embolo is definitely on my list of strikers to write about (at some point in the near future, hopefully), he’s been tearing La Liga up for Real Madrid in my save.

      And check out the home page on my blog, I’ve written about a couple of left-backs who should slot into your Swansea side without a problem.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much. I saw the ‘World Class fullbacks’ list yesterday. I had initially bought Ludwig Augustinsson (who is pretty solid, by the way) to support Neil Taylor. Bidding for Jorge (he seems like pure genius) now. Keeping my fingers crossed for the Strikers’ bit.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah Jorge is just unbelievable. Robertson was a legend for me, and you should definitely look at Lucas Digne, who I didn’t write about. He’s at PSG (I think), and the thing about some PSG players is that if they don’t get game time, they become available at cut-price, so he could be one to look out for.

        And since I have no idea when I’ll write about the strikers, here are some that were on the shortlist: Ze Gomes (16, Benfica), Rui Pedro (16, Porto), Malcolm (18, Corinthians), Mastour (17, Milan), Mayoral (Real Madrid), Richairo Zivkovic (Ajax), and Donis Avdijaj!

        Liked by 1 person

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