In the legendary Championship Manager games of the early noughties, the title’s so-called “wonderkids” went on to be cult legends despite rarely achieving anything of note in the corporeal world of football.
Think of Cherno Samba, for example, with the 15-year-old youth player ultimately evolving into a virtual phenomenon who would regularly score more than 60 goals a season. In reality, his immense promise fizzled out and he experienced a nomadic career, before going on to work as an agent within the game.
Subsequent Football Manager games have spawned similar potential superstars and wonderkids, some of whom would fulfil their potential in the real world while others would disappear from the spotlight with barely a whimper. Certainly, we wouldn’t recommend wagering on any FM wonderkid to make it in the corporeal realm, although you can access far superior betting markets through the Cyberbet welcome offer.
But where are the best wonderkids from Football Manager 2015? Here’s our look at some of the most promising players from seven years ago and how they’ve fared since!
James Wilson (Striker)
By the time FM 2015 was launched, Manchester United striker and academy graduate James Wilson appeared to be at the beginning of a highly promising career.
This was reflected by a rating of 84 and a valuation of £8.75 million on the game, with Wilson having already made a sparkling debut for the club by scoring twice in a 3-1 win at Old Trafford at the end of the 2014/15 season.
He also scored four times in a famous 4-1 win for the United U21s against Manchester City in the Manchester Senior Cup final, before signing a new contract with the Red Devils in September 2015.
He failed to build on this promising start, however, eventually heading out on loan before a failure to impress saw him leave permanently. Subsequent permanent stints at Aberdeen, Salford and Port Vale have reaffirmed his status as a decent but not great striker, although he did score 15 goals in 47 appearances for the latter in 2021/22.
Martin Ødegaard (Attacking Midfielder)
The undoubted young star of FM 2015, Martin Ødegaard boasted a stellar rating of 88 despite his incredibly tender age of 15.
The stylish playmaker was subsequently signed by Real Madrid in January 2015 as a raw 16-year-old, immediately entering the Real Madrid Castilla side where he scored five goals in 58 matches.
Subsequent loan spells followed at Heerenveen, Vitesse, Real Sociedad and then Arsenal, before the Gunners signed him permanently in a deal worth in excess of €35 million as he failed to make his mark in Los Blancos’ first team.
However, Ødegaard has exuded a calm authority and excellent technical ability since, and while he has yet to fulfil his virtual promise, he’s already an established Premier League performer at the age of 23 and likely to improve further in the coming years.
Viktor Fischer (Winger)
Ajax starlet Viktor Fischer was 20 years old when FM 2015 was released, while his rating of 82 earmarked him as the ninth best emerging winger in the game.
After scoring 11 goals in 39 appearances during the 2015/16 season, Fischer decided to pursue a career away from the Eredivisie and joined EPL side Middlesbrough in a €5 million deal.
Rather than this move being a launchpad for his career, however, it appeared as though he’d left Ajax too soon, as he failed to score in 13 EPL matches and 16 games overall. So, his Premier League sojourn ended goalless after a single campaign, as Boro were relegated and Fischer joined Mainz O5 in a €3 million deal.
Just two goals in 12 matches followed at Mainz, with the Danish forward leaving Germany after six months and returning to his homeland of Copenhagen.
After five steady but unspectacular campaigns in the Danish capital, Fischer moved to Antwerp in Belgium, with his virtual promise having counted for little in the harsh reality of professional football.