I felt the same, Playtime and League reputation is (too?) much important for development, especially for Top of footballers in the world (= requires huge amount of development).
Most of top players in my save were first team player at non-big club in top leagues, when he was 19-23. Then they joined to absolute top clubs like Man City, PSG, and so on
On the other hand, Promising youngsters who joined to top clubs at the age of 16-20, they go to long loan journy or reserves for years as usual, which result in (a) little development.
In the top clubs, Difinitely too many youngsters with superb potential can't go further above 'just good for smaller clubs' , but still young people willingly join them. LOL.