One of the most engaging aspects of Football Manager is developing talent and unearthing wonderkids who you can turn into world-beaters in a few seasons’ time. In FM20 we’re making it easier for you to plan long-term and keep track of the progress of your youth teams with the all-new Development Centre.
The Development Centre is an all-encompassing hub, which you can use to track the progress of your players. It sits on the sidebar in place of the sections that previously existed for your youth, reserve and development squads. This brings together all areas of the game related to development to make it easier for both hands-on and hands-off managers to nurture next-gen talent. You’ll be given all the tools and information you need in one place, giving you the best chance of reaping the rewards of developing players.
Let’s start by taking a look at the overview screen.
This is where you can see topline information on the state of your youth team and noteworthy talents. Your backroom staff will highlight the players that they think might be able to break into your first-team as well as any players that are progressing well or are in need of extra attention in order to hit their potential. Progression graphs give a clear guide on how a player’s current ability is developing month-to-month.
Your backroom staff will provide recommendations and advice on these players, including advice from some of the new staff roles in FM20 and all of this advice is accessible and actionable from the overview screen.
Across the top of the screen you see an assessment of the strength of your youth teams. This not only allows you to gauge if your current youth crop is performing as expected but as seasons pass you’ll also notice how your long-term youth policy – investment into youth coaching, recruitment and facilities – impacts your youth squads.
It’s not just the players that are currently at your club that you can track in the Development Centre, it’s now easier to track players in and out on loan too with access to their performances and ratings in this hub.
You can see who’s taking their chance for first-team football well, and who is struggling for minutes and may need recalling. Previously, you’d only be able to see this information in individual loan report cards but now you’re able to see both basic and in-depth information on all players on loan on one screen. This can help you plan for future campaigns. Being reminded of how well your young striker is doing out on loan could make you consider how to get him into your squad next season. Now it’s easier to be one step ahead at all times.
The Development Centre will also offer a preview of your yearly youth intake. For so long it’s been a date in the diary for all managers to look forward to, but now you’ll get information before the new crop of talent arrives so you can gauge the level of talent and plan accordingly. In the months leading up to the arrival of your youth intake, you can visit the ‘Youth Candidates’ tab in the Development Centre to access the preview. Not only will you see an indication of how strong that year’s intake will be including whether there are going to be any high potential players coming through but also any positions that are going to be well covered by the intake.
When your youth intake does arrive, you can view individual reports on each of the players and quickly see each player’s current and potential ability ratings so that you can identify future stars from the moment they arrive at your club.
The Development Centre also incorporates the management options for your youth and reserve squads. Each squad has its own tab within the Development Centre with a dropdown menu containing a wealth of squad information. You can view everything from their current match tactics, team and individual training, dynamics screens and recent match analysis. You can also make decisions and changes from within these menus – for example, adding first-team squad members into your youth squad for an upcoming fixture from the tactics screen.
The final tab on the Development Centre is the ‘Staff’ dropdown menu. From within this menu you can see your youth coaching, scouting and medical teams. Just like on the Staff section of the sidebar you’re able to view the strength of your youth staff compared to your competitors, adjust training assignments, place job adverts and view recommended staff numbers.
Although the Development Centre is relevant to all young players and players out on loan, it really comes into its own when dealing with high potential players. By having them highlighted to you from the moment they arrive and being able to track their progress through their time in your youth squads and during any loan spells, you have more information available to you than ever before to help you get the most out of their potential. This information all depends of course on whether your coaching staff have got it right, which is why they’re more important than ever this year.
Much like the training improvements that we introduced in FM19, the Development Centre allows you to fully immerse yourself in your team’s youth development or, if you’d prefer, to take a completely hands-off approach and delegate everything to your backroom team.
The Development Centre, alongside other new additions such as Club Vision and the Playing Time Pathway means there are more ways than ever to map out your club’s route to long-term success. By making use of the tools at your disposal in the Development Centre it’s easier to track the progress of your young stars and to be more invested in your players’ journey from youth team to first-team.