Since Sheikh Mansour took over Manchester City in 2008, there has been a drastic upturn in the fortune of the Citizens which has seen them emerge as the dark horses in Europe and strong contenders and ultimately champions of England. The Arab owners, despite putting in truckloads of cash in each transfer window have not belittled the importance of players emerging from the academy, as it yields to long term sustainability of any club. City boast of one of the best equipped and modern academies in the world. And their progress blueprint is heavily inspired from Barcelona.
The recent appointment of Pep Guardiola as first team manager is an important step in this direction as the exposure the EDS players will get and the amount of experience and knowledge on offer from the Catalan great is astounding and all the academy graduates will be eager to lap it up.
The emergence of Kelechi Iheanacho has set the EDS buzzing and the bold decision of Manuel Pellegrini to thrust five youngsters into the spotlight against Chelsea in the FA cup tie has given them a taste of the big stage.
Three players who are tipped to make a foray into the first team in the near future are:
The Belgian international made his professional debut while on loan at Celtic from Manchester City. He won the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year award after helping them win the Scottish Premiership and Scottish League Cup. He ruled out an extension and returned to City to fight for a place but was loaned out to Galatasaray and he has impressed hugely on loan. Known to be strong in tackle and comfortable on the ball with a dash of pace. He is comfortable playing at right-back and the right side of central defence and is tipped to be the readymade solution to City’s long running defensive ailment.
Maffeo was born in Sant Joan Despí, Barcelona. He joined RCD Espanyol’s youth setup in 2003, from FC Levante Las Planas, trained by Marcos Jara. On 7 April 2013 he made his senior debut for the reserves at the age of only 15. On 3 July 2013, Maffeo moved abroad, agreeing to a contract with Manchester City along with fellow country-man Manu García He was initially assigned to the under-18s, progressing through the club’s Elite Development Squad. He had an unsuccessful loan spell at Girona but has come back and put on his most memorable performance in a Sky Blue shirt against Bayern in the pre-season friendly. Maffeo wasn’t overawed by going up against the likes of Franck Ribery. He gave a strong, composed display that saw him widely praised. He attacked effectively and didn’t seem to care about the reputations of those he was up against. The future bodes well for this youngster who will hope to have impressed Pep Guardiola sufficiently.
Angeliño signed a four-year deal with Manchester City on 8 July 2012, being effective in January of the following year. Initially assigned to the under-18s, he also appeared regularly with the reserves despite being 16 years of age. He made a couple of appearances in a City shirt before being sent on loan to Manchester City’s sister club New York City in 2015. Having returned to City, he was deployed at left-back against Bayern Munich in the pre-season game and he was one of the few players to have left with an enhanced reputation. The 19-year-old played the full game and impressed with his versatility and quality, drawing praise from manager Pep Guardiola during his post-match interview. He looks to have a bright future at the club with the lack of youthful full-backs at the club.
He began his early career at Strømsgodset IF of Norway before being offered a scholarship from Manchester City Reserves and Academy in 2012. On 1 July 2014, he signed a 3-year contract with Manchester City. He joined up with the first team on a pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi. He made his first appearance for the senior side as a substitute for Edin Dzeko in a friendly against Hamburger SV.
He made his official debut in a FA cup tie against Norwich City coming on in the 85th minute. In his premier league debut he assisted Aguero in a 1-3 defeat to Leicester City. He is considered a good crosser of the ball and floats about the pitch looking to create chances for the forward players and is also adept at taking freekicks. He will be looking to emulate the success of David Silva when he gets his deserved chance.
He joined Manchester City on 2nd May 2013 for €250,000. He was initially assigned to the U-18s and soon made the grade to U-21s before Manuel Pellegrini called him up for the pre-season tour of North-America. He made his professional debut in September 2015 coming on for Sergio Aguero in the 74th minute against Sunderland. He made his Premier League debut against Aston Villa replacing Yaya Toure. Garcia is a type of player Guardiola appreciates. He is comfortable on the ball and is willing to receive it in tight spaces and make short passes which keeps the play moving while keeping possession. His blessed with good vision and technique which bodes well for the future.