Youth Development: The Gear way

Welcome back,

Since my last post we have won the domestic treble and made it to the Quarter finals of the Champions league, a record for us.

I’ve now just started the 2026/27 season and after realising I’ve sold £652m worth of players since 2021, majority of them are players I have developed at Kasimpasa I thought i would write about how I develop my youth players.

This is by no means the “right” way or even the “correct” way it’s my way.

The basics.

First off it’s the foundations I focused on Training & Youth setups, youth recruitment and junior coaching.

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Then it’s the staff, coaches, youth coaches, managers, Head of youth development and Director of football.

The reason is the better set up equals better starting base for development, obviously every club is different and every save is different so the length of time it will take to improve depends on the club and finances.

The players

Forget the rating systems or at least temper your expectations. If you are going to use the star rating system I’m a firm believer that 3* Current ability is the target. 3* is a first team player, a starting XI player. I then look through my youth team and set out to ensure they develop I have 5 stages

Stage 1

Under 19s – Every player under 19 will be placed in here. I then go through the squad, I set their training to the role they will/could play in my team, for example my Left midfielder is an Inverted Winger so I set ALL left midfielders and Left Wingers to train as a Left Midfielder Inverted Winger

3

I do this because every player has to have the target of playing for the first team, I don’t go along with the well he would be better as a defensive winger he’s not going to play that role so I want him to get better at playing the role to suit me, my team.

I then focus on tutoring, I will go through the players by personality to try to achieve the ideal personalities

I like professional, fairly professional, resolute, driven, Determined, Fairly determined and ambitious (for attacking players I want them to ambitious in their play)

There are other positive ones but these are the ones I focus on and feel are realistic to achieve.

4

Anyone who can’t be tutored or doesn’t need to be I will then focus on Player traits, I will pick traits that suit the role that they are training in.

Also if I feel they have a weakness I will add individual training too.

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U19s team training is set as balanced and on high.

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18 year olds are set as available to loan (see stage 4)

Stage 2

U21s – The under 21 has players 19 and above in it. I use the same principle with training as the U19s but I set all players as available to loan. I will also promote players from under 19s to fill gaps in the squad, this varies player to player depending on situation. If an 18-year-old is hindering game time for a potentially better 16-year-old in the Under 19s I will promote the 18 year old. He gets the advantage of playing at a higher standard and the 16 year old gets more game time.

Stage 3

The Loan Squad – these are the 18 year olds + out on loan

I have a few requirements for the loans, must be same standard as first team as first team squad status or I will allow on league below as Key Player status. If the loan doesn’t meet this the player will not go out on loan. They can play against me and must have recall clause. I don’t bother with setting position as long as they are playing that’s all that matters. I compile match reports and look at their fixtures and attend “big matches” top of table clashes etc to see how they play. The idea behind this is they get first team football at a higher standard than I can offer in my Under 21s which helps their development.

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Stage 4

The Fringe – these are players who have been through stages 1-3, some may skip stages because they develop faster but they are now ready for first team football. This is a 6 month stage, they are in the first team squad and on the bench. I will then play through to the next transfer window. Depending on game time they will either drop down to stage 3 or even 2 if a loan can’t be agreed that satisfies or they will move up to stage 5. Game time is the primary driver for me here they must be playing football to develop

Stage 5

First team – playing in the first team developed and influencing games. The final stage

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Also I am realistic about the fact I’m playing in Turkey, players will want to move to bigger clubs. It then comes down to getting the right fee. As you can see from the above image, Tosun – first season he was in the under 19s, I noticed he was one of the better youngsters so he skipped stage 2 and went out on loan in the same league as me. He returned and joined stage 4 but only played 5 games in the first 6 months so dropped back down to stage 3 with a 6 month loan.
He returned to stage 4 again after 6 months he went back down to stage 3 and out on loan. When he returned he went to stage 5 he had one full season as a first team player and a bigger club came calling with £20m and off he went. This is probably the best example so far of the stages working.

Finding players

I scout every player that comes through the Turkish youth intake and send my scouts out finding other nationalities but the main focus is Turkish the dream is always a full squad of Homegrown players.

But here’s a few examples of players I’ve bought in and developed.

Berker

Can

Diraga

kara

sarac

sedef

As you can see from the above 6 players they have all taken different routes but they are all playing in same league as me or better now. They have all gone through the stages.

Another example is when I buy talent from elsewhere and I’m realistic about their first team chances at my club so I loan them back to where they are getting first team football.

Navarro

Navarro

Gutierrez

Guti

Rezzano

Rezzano

Navarro and Gutierrez both were found by my scouts, bought with loan back deals, then when they finally joined they were first team ready. They then performed brilliantly and were sold on for massive profits. Navarro for £69m and Gutierrez for £30m. Rezzano will be next when he returns this summer. I expect him to go straight into the first team and within 2 years a bigger club will want him.

I hope this gives you abit more insight into the way I play. Like i said at the start this isn’t the correct way its my way.
Any questions feel free to send them over on Twitter @DGear86 or you can find me on slack, I have my own channel #WelcomeToKasimpasa
Y
ou can also listen to my Football manager podcast GrassNGear. Our twitter is @GrassNGear & click here for soundcloud 

Thanks again for reading guys

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12 thoughts on “Youth Development: The Gear way

  1. Really enjoyed this, Dan! Good to see so much thought go into youth development. You talk about facilities and training schedules, but do you do anything specific with the coaches you hire? For example, do you look at the determination and personality of your coaches when you hire them?

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    1. Hi Oliver,
      Thanks for the comments I’m glad you enjoyed it. I do focus on personalities mainly looking for the same as I mentioned I like the players to have. Determination is always high on my list for attributes. Ideally over 13.

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  2. Very nice! Would love to see how this would work and how far it would get you if you took this approach in a team like Dover Athletic in English Non-League and how long it would take to get to the top flight.

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  3. Obviously being a non league team would take longer because of the lower quality set up, coaches and intake but it does translate. If you are realistic, don’t expect premier league quality youth players just aim for 3* for the league you are in.

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  4. Hi Daniel,
    Really interesting stuff. I’ve had an interest in the Turkish leagues since ending up at Bucaspor during a career game on FM14 (I think).

    I took them through the leagues largely on the back of their youth facilities which were superb for such a small club. Seemed from my real-life research they are a club which has prioritised this, albeit without ever enjoying much success themselves. Crewe perhaps an English parallel.

    Just wondered if this scenario has been reflected on your game, whether they continue to enjoy superior facilities to their peers and whether any notable players have emerged via that route.

    Keep up the blogging.

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  5. I do the same thing with my players since FM 2014, i control everything in my club not just first squad!
    Good job and good victories.

    P.S. André Castro rocks =) Cheers

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  6. Interesting read. I always wondered why a wonderkid never lived up to his potential. I bought them and just sent them out on loan. I’ll look into this way of doing things, see je it works out for me.

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