The left back position has evolved a great deal over the last couple of decades, with full-backs now expected to defend as well as they attack, trackback and put in sliding tackles as well as fly forward to pump pin-point crosses into the box.
So many top clubs now seek left backs who can run a complete two-way game, but it’s still a relatively new concept that’s only truly beginning to emerge as a common trait among up-and-coming players.
Here, were delving into the next batch of left back wonderkids that you can sign in Football Manager 2021, with all of the best young left backs with the highest potential ability ratings listed on this page.
Choosing the best wonderkid left backs (LB) in FM 21
To be considered among the best wonderkid DLs in FM 21, players had to be 21-years-old or younger and have a positional ability of at least 18 for the left back role.
Potential ability (PA) takes two main forms in FM 21, with some carrying a set potential ability and others having a potential ability range, indicated by a negative PA.
Ranging from zero to 200, the PA indicates how high the player’s overall ability can become with the right development through coaching, game time, and good form. The negative PA shows the range of PA that the player can enter a new save game with, which varies from save-to-save. PA ranges are listed as -10 (170-200), -95 (160-190), -9 (150-180), all the way down to -1.
The wonderkid left backs on this page all fit into the categories of having at least 140 PA, which includes those with negative PAs in the brackets of -85 (140-170) and up.
Below, each of the best wonderkid left backs of FM 21 are featured, with all of the top young DLs in the game listed in the table at the foot of the page.
Luca Pellegrini (135 CA / 160 PA)
Team: Zebre (Juventus) – on-loan to Genoa
Best Positions: DL, WBL
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 135 CA / 160 PA
Value: £5.75 million
Wages: £35,557 per week
Best Attributes: 17 Aggression, 15 Crossing, 15 Work Rate
In the 2018/19 campaign, a teenage Luca Pellegrini featured in a few games for AS Roma before being loaned to Cagliari Calcio to get game time. His sole assist in 12 Serie A showings for the club was apparently enough to alert the perpetual champions, Juventus, who pried the Italian wonderkid from the capital for £19.8 million in the summer of 2019.
Following another successful loan spell out to Cagliari, Pellegrini returned to Turin only to be loaned out to Genoa for this season.
Football Manager 2021 has given him a firm 160 PA, which stands Pellegrini as the best young left back in the game. While a couple of others could load with a superior PA, their negative PA ratings mean that sometimes their ceilings will be lower than Pellegrini’s.
The DL wonderkid’s strengths are in his 15 crossing, 14 first touch, 13 tackling, 17 aggression, 15 work rate, and 14 pace, which stand the Rome-native as a left back capable of working in attack and defence throughout each contest.
Lloyd Kelly (128 CA / 153 PA)
Team: AFC Bournemouth
Best Positions: DL, DC
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 128 CA / 153 PA
Value: £6.75 million
Wages: £21,000 per week
Best Attributes: 14 Decisions, 14 Composure, 14 Jumping Reach
Making his debut for Bristol City at 18-years-old in the 2017/18 season, Lloyd Kelly has been earmarked for big things for several seasons. After a solid campaign at left back, and sometimes at centre back, in 2018/19, the Premier League came knocking, with Bournemouth footing the £13.3 million bill to sign the Bristolian.
Unfortunately, while the Cherries were in the top-flight, Kelly missed the glut of the season due to a ligament and then a hamstring injury. However, with relegation all-but-confirmed, Kelly managed to hold down a run of seven starts at left back and centre back to end the season.
Now the team’s go-to centre back, FM 21 has deemed the English defender worthy of a 128 CA and a 153 PA, with Kelly being capable of playing to the highest of his abilities at left back or as a wonderkid centre back.
While his ability to play at DC in the game would suggest that Kelly’s more of a stay-at-home left back, his 13 acceleration, 13 agility, 14 pace, 13 passing, and 12 crossing indicate that he’s capable of a more offensive role.
Jordan Lotomba (120 CA / 150 PA)
Team: OGC Nice
Best Positions: DL, DR, WBR
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 120 CA / 150 PA
Value: £3.3 million
Wages: £11,250 per week
Best Attributes: 15 Acceleration, 14 Technique, 14 Pace
Signing for OGC Nice over the summer for £5.4 million, Jordan Lotomba forged a reputation as an incredibly versatile young player for BSC Young Boys in the Swiss Super League. In his last season in his native Switzerland, Lotomba notched three assists in 35 games, playing at left back, left midfield, right back, and right midfield.
His ability to play down either side is almost certainly what convinced Nice to reel-in the Swiss wonderkid, with his first 13 games for the French outfit seeing him start as a left back, right back, right midfielder, and left midfielder.
Lotomba weighs-in as one of the best young left backs in FM 21 thanks to his 150 PA, but he is also capable of playing proficiently as a right defender or right wing back.
As you’d expect from a positionally versatile wonderkid, the three-time Swiss Super League champion boasts a well-rounded set of ratings. His 13 tackling, 12 marking, 13 work rate, and 13 aggression for defensive phases are matched by his 13 dribbling, 13 first touch, 14 technique, 13 flair, 14 pace, and 15 acceleration on the front foot.
Alphonso Davies (152 CA / 150-180 PA)
Team: Bayern Munich
Best Positions: DL, WBL
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 152 CA / -9 PA
Value: £31.5 million
Wages: £87,627 per week
Best Attributes: 19 Acceleration, 17 Pace, 15 Natural Fitness
Even suggesting that a teenager could steal David Alaba’s left back spot at Bayern Munich before last season would have been met by a great deal of scepticism. However, when Alaba missed a few games through injury, Alphonso Davies snatched at his opportunity with both hands, forcing the veteran to take up permanent residence as a centre back.
The Ghanaian-born Canadian, who had only moved to Germany at the start of 2019, held onto his starting role throughout the season, helping the Bundesliga giants claim the league title, DFB-Pokal, and Champions League. Davies’ 2020/21 season was disrupted, however, due to a substantial ankle injury.
Football Manager 2021 recognised the left back’s star-studded campaign, gifting him a mighty 152 CA. However, being unsure about his ceiling, Davies enters the game with a -9 PA, which means that a save could see him included with a PA anywhere up to 180.
Bayern Munich would demand a hefty fee, what with the former Vancouver Whitecap being first-team ready at 19-years-old, but his attributes prove that the move would be worth every penny. Davies’ ratings sheet is highlighted by his immaculate 17 pace, 19 acceleration, and 14 agility, which is bolstered by his 15 natural fitness, 14 flair, 15 work rate, 14 dribbling, and 14 first touch.
Nuno Mendes (133 CA / 150-180 PA)
Best Positions: DL, WBL
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 133 CA / -9 PA
Value: £6 million
Wages: £4,132 per week
Best Attributes: 16 Natural Fitness, 15 Pace, 15 Acceleration
Towards the end of the season, a new star burst onto the scene for Sporting CP: Nuno Mendes. With his quick feet and fearlessness both on and off of the ball, he quickly captured the imaginations of the fan base that’s seen so many top young talents come through the club’s ranks.
While he primarily featured at left back for the under-23s, the Portuguese teen has almost exclusively started as a left midfielder this season. Playing higher up the pitch more regularly has enabled Mendes to score his first goal for the Verde e Brancos, doing so in the team’s third league game of this campaign.
Along with the Lisbon-based club, FM 21 sees a bright future for the 18-year-old, giving him a PA of between 150 and 180. Given the left back wonderkid’s sound 133 CA, despite being so young, Mendes is already worthy of a starting role in several top-flight squads.
As the Sporting youngster boasts 14 crossing, 14 dribbling, 13 passing, 15 acceleration, and 15 pace, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Mendes was a full back committed to attacking. However, these ratings are very well balanced by his more defensive 13 tackling, 13 composure, 13 positioning, 14 decisions, and 13 strength.
All the best wonderkid left backs (LB) in FM 21
Below, you can find the full list of all of the best defence left wonderkids of Football Manager 2021. The left backs are arranged by their potential ability, with those given a range of PA listed by their lowest potential ability.
|Name||Age||Team||CA||PA (Range)||Wages (p/w)|
|Luca Pellegrini||21||Zebre (Juventus) – on-loan to Genoa||135||160||£35,577|
|Lloyd Kelly||21||AFC Bournemouth||128||153||£21,000|
|Jordan Lotomba||21||OGC Nice||120||150||£11,250|
|Alphonso Davies||19||Bayern Munich||152||-9 (150-180)||£87,627|
|Nuno Mendes||18||Sporting||133||-9 (150-180)||£4,132|
|Gianluca Frabotta||21||Zebre (Juventus)||119||145||£3,558|
|Tyrick Mitchell||20||Crystal Palace||120||145||£500|
|Josh Tymon||21||Stoke City||110||145||£6,500|
|Tymoteusz Puchacz||21||Lech Poznań||112||145||£1,126|
|Gerardo Arteaga||21||Racing Club Genk||125||144||£7,767|
|Milton Valenzuela||21||Columbus Crew SC||117||142||£4,797|
|Ryan Sessegnon||20||Tottenham Hotspur (on-loan to Hoffenheim)||129||-85 (140-170)||£55,000|
|Owen Wijndal||20||AZ Alkmaar||130||-85 (140-170)||£3,800|
|Vitaliy Mykolenko||21||Dynamo Kyiv||125||-85 (140-170)||£9,250|
|Juan Miranda||20||Barcelona B (on-loan to Real Betis)||125||-85 (140-170)||£7,269|
|Riccardo Calafiori||18||AS Roma||104||-85 (140-170)||£13,004|
|Rayan Aït-Nouri||19||Angers SCO (on-loan to Wolves)||124||-85 (140-170)||£9,750|
|Noah Katterbach||19||FC Köln||120||-85 (140-170)||£1,750|
|Josha Vagnoman||19||Hamburger SV||122||-85 (140-170)||£7,010|
|Liberato Cacace||19||Sint-Truidense VV||118||-85 (140-170)||£6,250|
|Jesús Vázquez||17||Valencia B||100||-85 (140-170)||£1,600|
|David de la Víbora||17||R. Madrid B||80||-85 (140-170)||£325|
|Cemali Sertel||20||Başakşehir FK||115||140||£5,910|
|Fredrik André Björkan||21||FK Bodø/Glimt||128||140||£835|
|Fran Garcia||20||R. Madrid B (on-loan to Rayo Vallecano)||114||140||£1,700|
Whether you want to develop one of the best young left backs in Football Manager 2021 or need a true wonderkid to start in your defence left position, you can find them all in the table above.