Manchester City should start using their youth players
Manchester City currently sit on top of the league after trashing Tottenham 5-1 last night at White Hart Lane. Manuel Pellegrini’s team are on a free scoring run this season and favorites for winning the Premier League after slamming over 100 goals past various teams. In spite of their brilliance City have virtually zero reputation when it comes to nurturing youth players unlike cross town rivals Manchester United who have one of the best academies in the world. Current Stoke City midfielder Stephen Ireland is the only notable player developed by City so far. Manchester City’s squad, which is valued at well over £300 million, doesn’t boast of even one home grown talent as of now which is extremely shocking as every Premier League club has given at least one of their young players a chance to impress this season.
City have realized their mistake and opened the Elite Development Squad two years ago under the leadership of Patrick Vieira. The former Arsenal hero seems to have inherited Wenger’s skills when it comes to spotting young talent and has already recruited some of the best young players around the world into City’s academy. The EDS has progressed quite a bit in the last couple of years but it will take some time before it matches up to United’s academy or Barcelona’s La Masia.
The Manchester City Under-19 team has attracted some attention after they drubbed Bayern Munich’s Under-19 team 6-0 in the UEFA Youth League which shows just how talented their young players are. It would be pitiful if Pellegrini chooses to ignore these talented youths in the future in favor of established world class stars.
If the youngsters are not given a proper chance to impress in the first team then they are certain to leave for better opportunities. City have already let a gem in the form of Daniel Sturridge slip through their fingers. Sturridge was signed by City for just £30,000 and was even declared their player of the season in 2005 but was sold to Chelsea after just 21 appearances for the first team. The Citizens must be regretting their decision to sell Sturridge as he is now a part of one of the deadliest strike partnerships in world football. Hopefully City won’t make such a mistake again.
One of City’s standout young players is Marcos Lopes. The 18-year-old Portugal youth international of Brazilian heritage was signed from Benfica in 2011 and is now the skipper of the Under-21 side. The attacking midfielder has an appetite for goals and scored a hat-trick against Bayern’s youth team last year. Lopes has also scored 7 goals in 6 appearances for his country’s Under-19 team and is tipped to be the next big thing. The youngster scored for City against Watford in the FA Cup last year and is currently their youngest ever goalscorer. Jose Angel Pozo is another talent that is tipped for big things. The former Real Madrid starlet has team up very well with Lopes and could also get a first team chance in the future.
If City give their young players an opportunity in the future then they could give other famous youth academies a run for their money. If they don’t then there are many clubs waiting to snatch up City’s youth if they grow frustrated due to lack of first team chances.