Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday July 7 2009
This week City's Chief Executive Officer Garry Cook and Academy Supremo Jim Cassell have again backed up Sheikh Mansour's commitment to City's brilliant production line...
Mark Hughes' task will be to blend the incoming established and world reknowned players with the developing youngsters as City strives to create it's own superstars.
Week in, week out last season Hughes regularly fielded six to seven Academy graduates in his squad of eighteen. It was a tough season of transition but we saw signs towards the end of the campaign that things were starting to click.
City's Academy is very dear to the hearts of Manchester City supporters as we know for many years that the club's youth policy has essentially kept the club afloat through some shocking times, the likes of which the majority of our top flight rivals have never had to endure.
Garry Cook was adamant as he spoke to City's new official site...
'The current first team coaching staff is very supportive of the Academy. Throughout last season the manager fielded a very strong core of Academy produced players including Nedum Onuoha, Micah Richards, and most notably our player of the year Stephen Ireland. Academy graduates have featured on the bench including Vladimir, Ben Mee, Adam Clayton, and Shaleum Logan.
'Obviously, Shaun Wright-Phillips, another Academy graduate, has also made an exciting return to the club. The under 21 European Championships showcased how talented some of our young players are.'
The Chief then went on to underline the fact that at City if you are consistently on top of your game, you'll get the call:
'If a player is good enough he will always be in contention. To challenge for honours we need a squad big enough to cope with the demands of the modern game and for that you need a blend of Academy players, combined with the purchase of developing talent and also established names those which are sometimes described as 'marquee signings.'
'Any club that is rebuilding like we are generates concerns on the Academy front but we have the kids close to our heart and we will not let our Academy go off track.'
Academy boss the great Jim Cassell then went on to further reassure Planet Blue while at the same time sending out a rallying call to his young charges:
'The challenge is there for them as it is for all of us. What we have got now is the chance for our local products to progress and play with and against the best in the world and that is great incentive. Our job is to produce footballers who perform to the best of their ability and who go on to have careers hopefully in City's first team. This season we will see Stevie Jordan, Glenn Whelan, Tyrone Mears and Dickson Etuhu all playing in the Premier League who began with us.
'What we are looking to do is produce the magical few for Mark Hughes, the real stars, but the others will have good careers. The challenge is not daunting. It is another great opportunity to reach the top level of their profession.'
Welcome words of reassurance from the City hierarchy that underline and back up Sheikh Mansour's commitment to City's youth policy. The stability at Eastlands appears to be strengthening by the day.
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Date:Tuesday July 7 2009
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