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Starting a career in the lowest divisions of English football can be daunting for even some experienced Football Manager players, especially when it comes to signing players and improving your squad. Most FM21 players starting a new save as a manager in the National League North or South, or even unemployed as I enjoy doing, will be aiming to guide their side to league football as soon as possible. In order to create a team capable of challenging for promotion in divisions that don't offer a host of promotion places is almost always difficult. This article intends to help you build a team good enough to get you out of non-league football as soon as possible, without spending any money on transfer fees and leaving you with assets you will eventually be able to sell on for profit.

This list of free transfers aged under 23 that will sign for most National League North and South sides will cover all the positions needed to build an entirely new team if you have the wage budget. I will also leave the average wage demands of each player so that you can plan out in advance how much room you might need to make on the wage budget at your current club in order to bring in these talented prospects. The temptation when managing in the lower leagues is to bring in players based on technical stats alone, but these players tend to be over 30 and have higher wage demands. When it comes to selling these players on you can struggle to get rid of them for anything but £0 and even then, if there is no interest they will stay in your reserves eating up valuable wages that could be spent elsewhere.

Managing your wage budget is probably the most important aspect of non-league management and signing young free transfers is a good way of keep control of your finance and you will often be able to sell them on and increase your team's finances. All of the players listed below start unattached from any clubs. At the end of the season, keep an eye open for players being released from Premier League clubs as I have signed some great youngster whilst in the National League or below from the likes of Arsenal, Spurs, Man Utd and Man City.

Goalkeepers

Jahquil Hill – 23-years-old – GK – £150 p/w

Centre-Backs

Max Broughton – 19-years-old – DC – £425 p/w

Adam Curry – 23-years-old – DC DL – £375 p/w

Ben Erickson – 19-years-old – DC – £140 p/w

Maxim Kouogun – 23-years-old – DC – £180 p/w

Guillaume Vacter – 20-years-old – DC £190 p/w

Tom Gaston – 19-years-old – DC – £275 p/w

Full-Backs

Jake Kenyon – 21-years-old – DL WBL ML – £300 p/w

Adam Curry – 23-years-old – DC DL – £375 p/w

Jordan Corke – 20-years-old – DC DR – £200 p/w

Ted Moulden – 19-years-old – DC DR – £225 p/w

Loris Flifel – 20-years-old – DR – £200 p/w

Louison Cavalier – 19-years-old – DR – £225 p/w

Dennis Gyamfi – 18-years-old – DR – £150 p/w

Central Midfielders

Keiran Evans – 21-years-old – AMC AMR AML – £350 p/w

Dion McGhee – 19-years-old – AMC MC AMR – £575 p/w

Vilius Piliukaitis – 19-years-old – AMC MC – £175 p/w

Mark Waddington – 23-years-old – MC – £475 p/w

Conor Tee – 20-years-old – AMC MC – £225 p/w

Wingers/Inside Forwards

Jordan Cox – 21-years-old – AMR AML – £850 p/w

Keiran Evans – 21-years-old – AMC AMR AML – £350 p/w

Colin Odutayo – 19-years-old – AML AMR ML – £575 p/w

Denilson Carvalho – 21-years-old – AMC AMR AML – £200 p/w

Miguel Maldonado – 19-years-old – AMR AML – £190 p/w

Henri Ogunby – 19-years-old – AMR ST – £475 p/w

Aaron Eyoma – 22-years-old – MR AMR AML – £475 p/w

L'Varn Brandy – 18-years-old – AMR – £60 p/w

Strikers

Okera Simmonds – 20-years-old – ST AMR AMC – £425 p/w

Henri Ogunby – 19-years-old – AMR ST – £475 p/w

Ntumba Massanka – 23-years-old – ST – £375 p/w

Yannick Becker – 21-years-old – ST AMC AMR – £400 p/w

Sacha Hamache – 19-years-old – ST AMR – £325 p/w

Gabriele Savino – 19-years-old – ST – £200 p/w

Some of the non-British players in this list might not show up in your save if you only load up a large database and the English leagues. To ensure you gain access to even more young free transfer prospects, either load up all of the divisions from Germany, Spain, Italy and France along with the English leagues; or when selecting the database try loading up all players from the aforementioned countries. Obviously the more leagues you load up and the more players you add to the database, the slower your game will run, so make sure you are happy with the game speed star rating before you continue any further.

You might raise your eyebrows at the stats on some of these young players but remember that when you're managing in non-league the physical stats often prove more effective than either the technical or the mental stats. If you are able to bring in some of these youngsters and they play well, you will soon find that other clubs will come in for them and you will be able to cash in on them and build up your club's finances. Developing the stats on these players whilst in non-league and without decent facilities will be difficult, so selling them on might be your best option. When you move up the leagues you will often find that you replace a lot of your squad with higher quality players, so don't get attached to last season's top goalscorer who netted 25 league goals, as they often won't perform to the same standard in a higher division.

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