The Development Centre is your one-stop shop for making sure you’re fully informed about the future of your club. It is a hub of activity that lets you know exactly how the youngsters at your club are developing and leaves you wanting for nothing in your efforts to develop the next star player for the first team.
If you are in charge of one of your club’s youth teams, that squad appears on the Side Bar in its own section, but if not, you only see the Development Centre.
The Overview screen brings together all of the most important information and distils it into a single, highly relevant package. The headline section is given over to covering any players out on loan, as well as the overall health of the development squads at your club, while the main screen area is dominated by the most suitable first-team candidates. These players are the ones to keep a very close eye on in the here and now; if they’re not quite ready to play a role in your squad yet, they’re not very far away.
The remainder of the Overview screen is handed over to players who either Need Attention or who are Ones to Watch. These players typically require further development and the advice offered by your coaching staff should be closely considered if you are to maximise the chances of reaching their potential.
Loaning players out to further their development is an increasingly important part of life at many football clubs. To keep track of them, the Loans tab collates everyone currently loaned out and feeds back on their statistics and general satisfaction with their current spell away from the club. Members of staff also chime in with suggestions as to who else might benefit from a loan among players who are not currently out.
The youth squad tabs – which both change in number and have different naming conventions depending on the club you’re managing – provide tactical insight, training information, fixture lists and match analysis. They are essentially the very same as the links that formerly lived on the Side Bar, and they continue to do so only if you have taken charge of one of them. If not, the member of staff charged with managing the team also presents a preliminary squad ahead of each fixture and gives you the opportunity to get involved in team selection. From the inclusion of senior players where eligible, to wanting to use a certain player in a particular position or role, to dictating their style of play, these teams live to serve the club and you as the first-team manager.
The Overview page lists the full squad, details any progress towards their potential ability, and provides development advice where appropriate.
When your annual youth candidate class prepares to earn contracts with the club, they turn up on this screen, along with a comprehensive breakdown of who they are, what they do best, and – before they arrive – a preview of what to expect from the group. This provides you with more information than before and should hopefully lead to you making more informed decisions on the next generation of young talent at your club.