Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Saturday May 28 2011
Roberto Mancini's 17 months at the Manchester City controls have been noteable for the amount of MCFC Academy graduates that he has afforded a debut to...
No less than 11 young Blues have been given the nod by the dapper City gaffer since he took up the East Manchester challenge on that snowy Boxing Day in 2009.
This is in stark contrast to his predecessor Mark Hughes whose sole Academy debutant during his 18 month tenure was Vladimir Weiss. Looking further back, Sven-Göran Eriksson unleashed 5 academy lads throughout his season at the helm, and current England Under 21 boss Stuart Pearce added a previous further 5.
During almost 4 years in charge at Maine Road and Eastlands, Kevin Keegan debuted 14 academy players. That statistic and the spending power that Mancio has had at his disposal during a relatively short timescale make the attention he has evidently paid towards giving youth players a piece of the action surely bodes well for the academy's future.
Furthermore, Mancio's policy backs up the assertion of City Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak that the club will follow up the continued purchases of young international stars with support to the academy. Clearly the City hierarchy have one eye on the long term future of the club once new UEFA financial rulings take effect.
In another observation, one repetitive instance of the past season was that every City defeat was met with calls from some quarters for the replacement of Mancio by Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid.
Mourinho is reknowned for his almost total lack of belief in youth players wherever he has managed. Real Madrid being the latest club to perhaps unwittingly experience Mourinho's lack of willingness to take risks.
Porto's Champions League winners in 2005 had a late 20's average age.
No player under 20 years old played any part in Chelsea's two Premier League title winning sides from 2004-2006.
Finally, the youngest player of Inter Milan's 2010 Champions League lifting line up was 25 year old Wesley Sneijder. The average age of that starting XI was 30 years old.
You begin to see the other side of the coin when the now 20 year old Mario Balotelli's frustrations at Inter are taken into account. Mourinho referred to him as 'unmanagable' but he has no track record or experience in bringing on young players.
These facts are something to consider for would be Mourinho suitors in England after the coming transfer restrictions take effect.
As far as this correspondent is concerned, The Citizens can only benefit from Mancini's hard work in researching all aspects of the club and his preparedness to look forward. His Highness Sheikh Mansour and his team are no mugs.
Mancini's Academy Debutants:
Dedryck Boyata, Abdisalam Ibrahim, Greg Cunningham, Alex Nimely, Javan Vidal, Ben Mee, Chris Chantler, Abdul Razak, John Guidetti, Ryan McGivern and Reece Wabara.
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Date:Saturday May 28 2011
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