Firstly, amazing game. I still keep going back to this game even after several years. Sure it has its faults but, for me, they are part of what makes it so great. Would we appreciate it so much if it was still churned out every year? Its absence makes us love it all the more. To answer OP, No you cannot change a player's position regardless of where they are played nor can you assign them abilities like captain, penalty taker etc. However you can improve a player's individual skills which would make them more capable of playing in a different position. You used Gareth Bale as an example so let's stick with that. G.Bale is a centre-back so his highest skills are in tackling, marking, heading.....things you would expect from a defender. If, however, he was played in a more advanced position with a focus on passing and technique he would most certainly improve as a midfield option, if played as a forward his shooting would benefit and he would again become more skilled in that position. Assigning an attacking task can help a lot too. To illustrate this point, use a defender to take free kicks or penalties and watch his shooting bar grow over time (expect plenty of misses until he improves). The same occurs when a defender is used to take corners except it is passing and technique which are affected. The downside to trying to mould a defender to play as forward would be that his skills are disparatively biased towards becoming a good defender not a forward so his original shooting stat would be quite low - there are exceptions as some players are fantastic all-rounders and could play anywhere but in goal. So after years of training, you might have a defender with poor to moderate attacking skills who is, quite frankly, going to be less effective up front than a lower league forward would be after the same period. I would say you could definitely play a defender as a midfielder or a midfielder as a forward with good results and that would work for both vice-versa. A good example is using Messi as a forward or Hargreaves as a defender. Admittedly these players have overlapping positions respectively but it would still work regardless. Have you ever played a centre-back in midfield due to injury/dismissal and been shocked to see how well he passes? I have plenty of times. Your players are adaptable. You are the manager so play any player where you want and assign them whichever tasks you see fit - it is your risk. When results don't arrive it is your head which rolls. Regarding youth players, those with the higher stats to begin with are going to develop to a higher standard. It is survival of the fittest. Promote promising players and cut loose those who won't ever make your team. Don't feel bad, these lads will be playing in lower leagues after being snapped up on free transfers. If they are any good they will rise up the divisions. Look at Jamie Vardy. Factor in age too. E.g you have two players of the same skill but one is 16, the other 18. Chances are, assuming injuries don't ravage his career, the 16 year old will become a higher rated player as he has more time on his side before progress halts and skills slowly decline as the player reaches his 30s. Higher rated doesn't always mean better though. Some players cost a fortune and are very poor performers. There is no special way to improve youth players either, play them in the cups or use them as backup for first team members or loan them out (but only to teams who you are certain will play them, otherwise you may as well keep them in your squad), do what is best for your team and also what you feel will give the youth player the most minutes. To be fair, I have had players develop greatly by just being in my squad, players who played no minutes all season but were training effectively. The real benefit of giving them minutes - be that at your club or on loan - is that you can measure there performances based on goals scored, match ratings and disciplinary records. A skilled youth player might not be worth it if he picks up a ban every month or a striker you thought was mediocre could turn out to have a knack for finding the goal with regularity. Top flights teams obviously produce better youth players but they still cannot immediately compete with the big boys in your squad. Lower league teams have youth players who are already as skilled as some first team members which is fantastic for generating much needed income and also makes you feel great. You can sell older players and promote free replacements who are equally skilled. You increase revenue and give youth a chance. I've taken Morecambe up to the Championship from the conference in only 4 seasons (took two goes to escape League Two lol) and had the same youth striker through each season still hitting the back of the net in the Championship against recently relegated Prem teams. Needless to say he got offers from bigger teams so I allowed him to join Celtic and play Champs League football. He was only 20/21. I gave him that chance and it felt great. After his departure I struggled to make any more progress as funds were tight and the board kept making cuts resulting in the need for more sales so I was stuck as a mid-table Championship team for 3 years - no shame for a little coastal town from the Conference. At the end of the year my skill was recognised and I was offered the post at Anfield. Being a United fan every impulse said to turn it down but I realised it was too good an opportunity. With a big transfer fund and an already talented squad, I delivered that elusive 19th title at the second time of asking (in my time at Morecambe I had seen Benitez, Wenger and McLaren fail in the Anfield hotseat - yes there is a high turnover of managers in this game like real life!) and brought an aging Michael Owen back for his twilight years - he scored in the game which sealed the title at around age 34, I'm a big romantic like that (first season I won FA Cup). Unfortunately Stevie G didn't lift the trophy as he had jumped ship to Chelsea years before my arrival and had already won the Prem there. I couldn't buy him back when I tried as Chelsea were short of midfielders. My captain was a lad from the youth team, S.Byron, who I think was valued around £2m when I first arrived and by the end of my second season he was worth £7.2m - left back and central defender, captain and free-kick abilities, 19 - a perfect future England captain if ever there was such a thing. I could talk about this game and LMA 2003 forever. Absolute classics.