Football Manager is a truly staggering achievement of gaming. No next generation graphics required, no complicated controls, just pure, addictive realism.
"We have 1,500 researchers around the world," studio director of Sports Interactive Miles Jacobson tells us, "working in 51 countries and regions. They work to incredibly strict guidelines - more than 100 pages’ worth - and report into our 50-plus head researchers."
All these stats for every player and staff member then go through rigorous automated checks to highlight any potential discrepancies, which are then subject to further tests, tweaks and analysis. This is spread sheet gaming at its most exacting.
Such is the quality of the data collected by Football Manager that they've even managed to influence top European clubs: Everton had an official deal with the studio at one point, while Andre Villas-Boas admits that he used their database when working with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.
Given Jacobson's unparalleled insights into the game, who better to ask (Ferguson said no) for his top talent picks you should look to get into your squad:
Born: 7 April 1995
Club: Derby County
Born: 24 July 1994
Club: Chivas (C.D. Guadalajara, Mexico)
Born: 17 February 1993
Club: Castiglione delle Stiviere (Italy)
Born: 7 May 1993
Position: Centre back
Club: AFC Ajax (Netherlands)
Born: 4 January 1993
Club: West Bromwich Albion
Any final tips?
"With the new financial fair play, I’d rely on loan moves from Premier league clubs – there are loads of good young players around that aren’t going to get first team football there."
Football Manager 2014 is out now
(Images: Rex; Football Manager)