Are Man City Holding Back Homegrown Players?
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With Manchester City looking to sign players at every opportunity, this January transfer window was a key example of what can be expected in the future.
During the window, four players were signed; a goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and striker. Adding a player in each of those positions is going to force at least four British youth players to be moved down the line and will obviously receive less first team football, possibly hindering their development.
Starting with the most recent signing of Shay Given. Mark Hughes has argued that City has needed an experienced goalkeeper for some time, but his arrival will surely limit the opportunities of Joe Hart and in turn Kasper Schmeichel. Joe Hart established himself under Sven-Göran Eriksson after Andreas Isaksson was injured.
However, even after Isaksson returned from injury, Hart was still the first choice goalkeeper. Although Hart was not rock solid last season, he definately showed signs of potential and in the summer made his England debut in a friendly with Trinidad and Tobago.
He has the potential to be a future England number one, but as with many potential England goalkeepers, if they find themselves behind more experienced keepers then it becomes more difficult to become first choice.
Keepers like Ben Foster and Chris Kirkland have found England opportunities hard to come by when playing backup keeper at Man United or Liverpool.
Hughes also signed Nigel de Jong to steady up the midfield. Surely this will affect the chances of Michael Johnson playing first team football. At only 20 years old, Johnson is thought to have huge potential and was a regular player under Eriksson last season. He has suffered a few injuries but has thought to have been fit recently.
With his last start for City being in November and rumours of an £8million bid rejected on transfer deadline day, is the player being held back? If you look at players like Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard, they flourished with first team football. Would they have been the players they are today without having gained so much experience at an early age?
The signing of Craig Bellamy will also have a big affect on British talent. Welsh striker Chad Evans and English striker Daniel Sturridge have both show potential to be big players in the future. Evans was linked with a possible loan move to Celtic this January, while rumours of a bid for Sturridge from Aston Villa were also reported.
With the likes of Bellamy, Robinho, Benjani and Jo (around £70m worth of strikers), how are young players like these supposed to pick up experience? The sad thing is, Man City were attempting to sign Roque Santa Cruz as well.
With the arrival of Wayne Bridge, rumours of a bid for Kolo Toure and reports of a sensational raid for John Terry, how can players like Nedum Onuocha and Mical Richards continue to develop? If Kaka had signed for City, then would Stephen Ireland and Shaun Wright-Phillips still be holding on to their spots in the starting lineup?
The foreseeable problem for me is that there could have been more signings this January, and there is no doubt that there will be signings in the summer.
an City has young talents available, more young talents than many top-flight teams. If they continue to bring in established players then they will face crushing their own youth system.
The purpose of the youth system is to build and find players. Why bother building players into becoming potential stars if you are just going to buy the already existing stars?
If you look at teams like Chelsea and Liverpool, how many potential British national team standard players have come through their ranks in recent years? City may claim that their signing of players does not affect the youth system, but at the end of the day there are only 11 starting positions on the pitch. If youth players do not get games then they will not develop.
Many thanks go to Liam Yardley, who kindly allowed Vital Manchester City to publish the above article. To view his new site, click here.
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