Manchester City's academy 'years' from providing first-team talent

 

Brian Marwood, Manchester City's football administrator, has admitted that the club is two or three years away from being able to provide an under-21s supply line to manager Roberto Mancini.

City are investing £200m to develop the new Etihad Campus in time for the 2014-15 season but Marwood said that bricks and mortar are no guarantee of the kind of quality displayed by Borussia Dortmund's home-grown young players, who overwhelmed Mancini's expensive squad two weeks ago.

City believe they are getting closer to the systems which have provided Germany, Spain and the Netherlands with a first-team production line but Marwood does not consider any of the current elite development squad to be ready for Mancini yet.

The 18-year-old Spaniard Denis Suarez has looked the nearest but he is "probably not" ready for first-team action "week-in, week-out," Marwood said. Suarez has only one League Cup start so far.

"If you look at the acquisitions we've made at the youth level, a lot of them have been around 15 or 16 and that's going to take some time," said Marwood, whose side need home-grown talent to limit their exposure to the transfer market as they seek compliance with Uefa's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regime. "We are trying to bridge [this gap] all the time. There probably is a gap. There is a way to go."

There is a deeply held conviction at City that a generation of top players, including Stephen Ireland and Michael Johnson, was lost because those players could not find the application to go with their talents. The City academy is built around attempts to create more rounded individuals who will not let their talents go to waste in the same way. City already put their 14-year-old boys through education at a local private school, St Bede's College, from where they emerge at the same educational level as any other aspiring 16-year-old. But Marwood admitted that the investment in arguably the world's finest football development facility was no guarantee of unearthing talent for Mancini.

"We all hope we are going to produce something that's quite unique and quite special but ultimately it's about the people who execute the strategy," he said. "We are all very excited about building this incredible campus but it's about the people, not the buildings." As yet, City are still buying first-team players, with Marwood citing Serbian defender Matija Nastasic, along with Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair, as the next generation. "They are slightly older but they are not 26, 27, 28," he said.

Marwood conceded that FFP "came as a bit of a shock to everybody" but said that the club could not expect Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan "to continue spending at the rate we have been for the last three or four years". He added that City, whose best under-21s have included Karim Rekik (from the Netherlands), John Guidetti (Sweden) and Jérémy Hélan (France), would not be sentimental about buying English players and would buy abroad if they had to.

The club believe that heavier investment in and far deeper appreciation of top youth coaches is critical. "I think one of the things we haven't done very well in this country is developing coaches," Marwood said. "We hand a seven-, eight-, nine-year-old to a rookie coach when in fact it's the most important coach he is ever going to work with. If you are sending your son or daughter to school and they couldn't find out the fundamentals of reading or writing from an early age then they're going to have a problem in their life. We need to look to get specialised coaches in the right area and they will stay there."

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsSchool leaver's pic YouTube video features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain