Youth has played a crucial part in the success of the last nine seasons with Ostersund. Over these nine seasons, Swedish manager Oscar Friberg has convinced the board on several occasions to invest in their youth setup and it is beginning to pay dividends. In this post, we look into this youth system to review some of the players it has produced for Ostersund.
The plan is to go through all of our notable youth prospects we have seen in our save and discuss their development and how they fit into the current Ostersund side at the end of season nine.
I usually like to base my squad around younger players in my FM saves, you may have noticed that the majority of my Ostersund squad are under 25. This is partly due to their availability but largely due to the way I like to play Football Manager. I enjoy seeing the progression as youngsters develop and make their way into the first team.
In Sweden, producing youngsters from your academy is ever more important due to the matchday squad rules. Each matchday squad must have nine players trained at a club in Sweden for 3 years before turning 21.
The best way for us to adhere to this rule is to produce our own youngsters, buy in Swedish talent from elsewhere (Gabriel Gudmundsson) or bring in young foreign players (Igor Papuga) who can then train with us for 3 years before their 21st birthday (meaning they have to be 17 when they join us).
So, without any more waffle, let’s get into our youth review!
The Ostersund Youth Academy | Ostersund #9.2
The Swedish youth intakes usually in mid-to-late August. For whatever reason Ostersund didn’t receive a youth intake in 2017 so we will skip ahead to our 2018 intake. For each year I will review the best players from each intake.
Firstly I must announce, and this is truly groundbreaking news, that I have found a use for the notes system!
For each player who I think could develop into a first team player, I create a note and simply write the year in which they came through the academy. This helps me to identify my prospects when looking to give youth gametime, for example in Cup matches. The little yellow square to the right of each name makes each prospect stand out – this really does help me when selecting youngsters!
- Anton Lundin
Thoughts when signed from academy: Though Lundin was shown to have decent potential, with the expected growth of our club I knew he wouldn’t really be up to standard in a couple of years time. We have, for the majority of our time with Ostersund, played with an inside-forward on the right flank and so Lundin really wouldn’t fit into this system.
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: I was right. Lundin left Ostersund in 2022 having made no appearances for our first-team. He now plays for Swedish side Kalmar.
- Andreas Ekblad
Thoughts when signed from academy: Similar to Lundin in that Ekblad simply would not develop fast enough to keep up with the standard of players we were bringing in.
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Ekblad sat on the bench a couple of times for the first team – but this was only an effort to adhere to the homegrown player rule. There was no chance he would start. He left for free in 2023 after making 0 first team appearances for us.
- Andre Andersson
Thoughts when signed from academy: Andre Andersson joined us as a four-star prospect who I viewed to play as a possible central midfielder or attacking midfielder. With his poor finishing I never really considered developing him into a striker but with decent passing he could have been moulded into a midfielder.
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Funnily enough, it was his passing that failed to improve despite my intentions of training him as a midfielder. Andersson has since left Ostersund after making 8 first team appearances for us.
- Mats Wahlberg
Thoughts when signed from academy: Mats Wahlberg was our first 5-star-potential player and I firmly believed he would become a good squad player for us moving forward.
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Mats has developed into a good squad player for us. He’s made 92 appearances for us – the second most of our academy players. It is a true shame that he has had multiple injuries so far in his career. He’s suffered from a damaged spine four times, keeping him out for a total of 17 months.
He could be twice the player he currently is if injuries hadn’t affected him as badly.
- Marcus Strandberg
Thoughts when signed from academy: Standberg came through our academy with Wahlberg. Marcus is a more attacking midfielder and would suit our formation in the position behind the lone striker. He’ll be trained in the CM role just to add to his versatility.
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Marcus has been sent out on loan but he remains part of our squad, though he’ll never be a key member. He has developed nicely and is competent playing in the CM position. He’s made 77 appearances for Ostersund since progressing through the academy.
- Manuel Tesfagiorghis O’Michael
Thoughts when signed from academy: Manuel Tesfagiorghis O’Michael is going to be an Ostersund star for many years to come. He came into our setup already rated as a 3-star current ability player with 5-star potential. Not too sure of his best position – he will possibly grow into the half-back role.
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Tesfa hasn’t developed much at all in his five seasons at the club. As you can see from the GIF above, his physicals have dropped off, largely due to a 10-month injury he suffered two seasons back. But technically he hasn’t really improved at all and this is hugely disappointing for a player with such potential.
- Alexander Nyman
Thoughts when signed from academy: Ken Sasaki currently occupies the left-mid slot so Nyman will be battling it out with the Japanese player in the years to come. He’ll need to be trained to play as an ML as he currently doesn’t know how to play there (a thing I find very odd on FM – surely a player who plays as an AML will know how to play as an ML?).
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Alexander Nyman has become our first wonderkid to be produced from the academy. He has overtaken Sasaki as our first choice left-mid and will only solidify this position in the seasons to come. He’s only 19 so still has a few years to continue developing, an exciting prospect!
- Junior Thorpe
Thoughts when signed from academy: Though goalkeeper Junior Thorpe had decent potential, I never really thought of him as a potential first-team player. I never really like goalkeepers who are eccentric.
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Junior Thorpe left Ostersund for Watford after only a year with the Swedish side. Nothing else to note here, he has clearly developed well but I still think we can sign better goalkeepers than him which means he would never have progressed into our first team.
- Tommy Bohlin-Nyblom
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Tommy Bohlin-Nyblom is an odd player in that he doesn’t really have a position suited to him. He’s no good in the air which means he won’t make it as a centre-back. He has 1 flair which means he wouldn’t make a good playmaker in advanced areas. He hasn’t really featured for our first team and I can guarantee that he will in the future.
- Robin Fredriksson
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Robin Fredriksson has already left our club – AC Milan came in for the winger and we gladly accepted. He was never going to make it into our side; he is right footed which means he can’t play as our ML or our AMR (inside-forward). I will play right-footed players as my AMR (like Rhian Brewster) but only if the team would be weaker without them. Fredriksson could move on for money.
- Alexander Nilsson
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Alexander Nilsson could become a well-rounded midfielder for us but he’ll need to develop fast. He’s not really weak in any areas, but he doesn’t have any outstanding strengths either. I’ll stick with him but I can’t see him pushing Wahlberg out of his squad position.
- Victor Lofgren
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: The first proper striker we had come through our youth system (with decent potential) has progressed nicely in his two years with us. However with finishing of only 10 I doubt he’ll develop enough to push for a first-team spot in the future.
- Joakim Soderstrom
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Joakim Soderstrom has a better chance of making an impact in the first team than Lofgren. He is a better all-round player and has already scored 8 goals for the Ostersund first team. One to watch for sure.
- Eric Welin
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Eric Welin could well be our first-choice left-back for the rest of this save! He has all the attributes for a good attacking full-back and he’s proven this already. In his first 8 matches he made 6 assists. As a comparison, our previous left-back Dennis Widgen has made 243 appearances for Ostersund and has just 3 assists to his name…
- Henrik Karelius
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: 2025 has been a good year for the Ostersund academy. In addition to Welin we also have central midfielder Henrik Karelius. I’ll be training him in the mezzala role and he should be getting first-team football over the next few years.
- Felix Gustafsson
Thoughts now at the end of season nine: Though rated with only 3-star potential, Felix Gustafsson seems fairly well-rounded and could improve and become a decent squad player for us. I’ll keep an eye on his development and perhaps give him some game-time in the cup.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a look at our youth prospects to have come through the Ostersund academy so far in the save. Like I mentioned earlier, our youth academy is crucial to our progression in the save due to the matchday squad rule of having nine homegrown players.
The next Ostersund post will be a review of our tenth season in Sweden. We will be looking to make it three titles in a row, can we do it?
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Thank you very much for reading another instalment of our Football Manager 2018 story here on VivaLaVidaFM. I have really enjoyed building my squad around younger players, it is a great feeling when your youth academy graduate scores his first goal!
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