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The Youth of Today

A look at City's youth prospects and the shiny new City Football Academy.

Building for the future.
Building for the future.
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Regarding youth, Manuel Pellegrini has said himself that "It is very difficult for them to progress to the first team because we have a very strong, competitive squad." This season has seen two academy products make their competitive debut for the blues. Brandon Barker, a pacy winger and a regular for England under 18's, and Jose Angel Pozo, a Spanish striker signed from Real Madrid in 2012. There were another five academy prospects warming the bench at one point or another throughout the season, unused by Pellegrini.

How do City compare to other Premier League clubs when it comes to youth promotion? United's injury-pocked season has seen 15 academy graduates make an appearance and theirs is widely viewed as one of the best in the country, if not the world. Arsenal, famed for their trust in youth, have used eight different graduates this season. Liverpool come in behind with five while City have used only three this season.

Since Sheikh Mansour took over in 2008 19 graduates have made an appearance for the club, compared to the preceding 7 years during which 25 academy graduates made it onto the first team.

Since the change-over the only academy graduate to have made a start for the first team is Dedryk Boyata, who arrived from Belgium in 2006. In that time not one English academy graduate has started for City. The super spending of the last few years has certainly lessened the oppurtunities for young home- grown players to make a mark and the new academy is an effort to address this trend.

The new training facility, the City Football Academy, is a £200m statement of intent from the owners. Opened in December 2014, the state of the art facility serves as a home for all of City's teams from schoolboy squads up to the first team and is crammed with state of the art technology. There is a 56 seater auditorium for players to review video clips, a hypoxic chamber to simulate extreme envronments as well as a player care department which helps both young and established players with issues such as mental health, drug awareness and social media usage. The academy aims to draw 75 percent of its attendees from the greater Manchester area and you get the sense that this academy is a genuine investment in youth and the future of Manchester City football club.

The financial fair play sanctions placed on City by UEFA undoubtedly had an effect on this season and City face into a rebuilding process that could take two or three seasons. The losses reported in previous seasons (£97m in 2012 and £51.6m in 2013) cannot be repeated for fear of again incurring the wrath of UEFA and so the board will be hoping that the academy begins to produce regular first team starters in the near future.