FM20 development centre: how to get the best out of your youth set up

Unlock your wonderkids’ potential with our expert tips

The FM20 development centre is your biggest asset if you’re looking to bring through the next generation of FM20 wonderkids. The development centre houses every youth team within your club, keeps tabs on players you’ve loaned out, gives you feedback from your youth coaches, and much more.

It’s every manager’s goal to bring through the next crop of talented stars, so how you utilise the development centre will be vital. Use it well, and you could have the next ‘Class of ‘92’ on your hands. Bringing through your own talents, who could lead your side to glory, will be cheaper in the long-run as you won’t have to pay millions for other clubs’ stars, too.

How do you go about using the FM20 development centre to your advantage though? Worry not, for our expert guide will reveal all, from the basic breakdown of what this overhauled system now allows, to how you can best use it to spin out prospect after prospect. Even if your ultimate goal is to sell these youth players on, a solid FM20 development centre should be the backbone of your club.

Taking Charge

If you want to embody David Moyes during his Everton spell, and be involved at all levels of your club, you’ll want to be hands-on with your development centre. That means you’ll have to take control of it rather than delegate it to your staff.

To take charge of your youth teams, head to the “staff” tab on the left-hand sidebar. Find the ‘responsibilities’ sub-menu, and find the “training” sub-menu. Scroll down to each team and click ‘take control’ on the sections you fancy, such as leading youth training and managing reserve matches. This gives you a greater say over players’ individual training, FM20 tactics to use in games, and more.

Whether you take control of your youth teams or not, you’ll be able to keep tabs on everything. You can look at the development centre’s ‘overview’ tab to see each youngster’s progress, how highly rated your youth sides are, and see who is ready for the next level.

FM20 development centre screenshot

Head of the Class

If you’d prefer to let your staff handle youth team affairs, you’ll want to hire a world-class Head of Youth Development to oversee things.

As their title suggests, this person is important. For starters, your Head of Youth Development will bring in youth trialists annually for you to assess and sign up to youth contracts. Someone with high numbers in Judging Player Ability, Judging Player Potential, and Working With Youngsters will attract youngsters with greater attributes, personalities, and potential, and give you the best possible chance of signing the best newgens to turn into world beaters.

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The Head of Youth Development will also pick out which current youngsters are “ones to watch” or who “need attention”. The former are youngsters who aren’t far away from breaking into your first team, while the latter means you’ll need to tweak their training schedules to help them realise their potential. Again, someone with the three attributes we listed above – you’ll want numbers to be 15 or higher – will judge players better than someone with lower values.

Bring in World Class Staff

Similar to the above point, hiring the best youth staff you can attract will be key to developing your young talent and getting the most out of your FM20 development centre. It’s your youth managers and coaches who will oversee their improvements – if you don’t take charge – and bring them on to break into your senior side.

Hiring managers and coaches with high numbers in technical and mental attributes will develop youngsters faster, but the most important attribute is Working With Youngsters. It sounds obvious but, if you hire someone who scores low here they won’t work well with your youth teams. Your starlets won’t develop as quickly, and it’ll be detrimental for everyone – you included.

If you’re at a club with a Director of Football, they may be responsible for this. You can take control by heading to the ‘responsibilities’ tab, clicking on ‘staff’, and take over the process of hiring and firing those working alongside you.

FM20 development centre attributes

Loan Ranger

Once one of your youth prospects is ready for senior football, you can ship them out on loan. First-team exposure is vital for youngsters to fulfil their potential, and you might not have the room in your own senior set up to give them 20-30 games a season, which is what they’ll need to truly excel.

Lower-league clubs will fall over themselves to temporarily take your biggest prospects. Pay particular attention to those that will offer your youngsters roles as a Star Player, Important Player, or Regular Starter. These will guarantee playing time and increase your young stars’ attributes and experience at a higher level. Just look at Martin Ødegaard loan spell at Real Sociedad if you need further convincing.

Once you’ve sent them out on loan, you can keep tabs on their playing time, average ratings, and stats from the development centre’s ‘loan’ tab. You can recall players who aren’t getting the required game time during transfer windows, praise those in good form, and watch their attributes grow. This can help you plan long-term, and potentially introduce them to your own senior squad in a year’s time.

FM 20 Development Centre Head of Youth

Lower League Lessons

Not every club has world-class facilities, the best staff, or a good catchment area. For teams further down the football pyramid, the FM20 development centre can be the difference between progressing or stagnating on and off the field.

If you’re managing a lower league team, it’s imperative that you use the development centre to your advantage. Use every penny to upgrade your club’s youth facilities and bring in the best staff you can.

Invest heavily in youth and, with a bit of luck, you’ll find a rare gem in one of your annual Youth Intakes. Immediately tie this wonderkid down to a youth contract, and get them to sign a professional pre-contract as soon as you can.

If your first-team squad is average at best, you can chuck your wonderkid straight into the senior side. Not only will it boost their attributes and give them experience, but they might catch the eye of a bigger club. You might reluctantly have to let your wonderkid go if a good offer comes in, but it isn’t all bad news. Pump their transfer fee back into your youth system, and repeat the process again.

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By relying on your development centre in the lower leagues, you can become a production line for the next generation’s top stars and, in time, fund your own assault up the footballing pyramid.