Whilst the English footballing world turned their heads to watch the battle between Russian oil tycoon and United Arab Emirati oil tycoon, through the medium of Chelsea versus Manchester City, in a clash that was fitting of the title Black Monday, though not due to monetary collapse, quite the opposite in fact, the early rounds of the F.A Youth Cup continued on Monday night.
It was the Third Round proper and even the likes of Corby Town FC and Thurrock had battled through to face Premier League academies flush with the potential future stars of the Premier League.
As Mancini’s side fell to their knees for the first time this season, falling victim to Frank Lampard’s 36th Premier League penalty, their u18s recorded another victory following their 6-1 league win at the weekend over Wolves to replace them at the top of the Barclays Premier Academy League Group C. With their “star striker” Jordi Hiwula rested by u18 manager Adam Sadler for the weekend league victory, he returned to smash in a hat-trick against Corby Town FC, helping his team to a 4-1 victory.
Manchester City’s academy looks to be building on already strong foundations and Sadler described the “critical years” between the ages of “5,6,7 which is the age (Manchester City) tend to recruit at nowadays,” as the “key stages” which have brought them to “arriving at the first team” and their position at the top of their league pays homage to that. Their cup-tie hat-trick hero, Jordi Hiwula, is one of their brightest prospects at the moment and he only made his Elite Development Squad (EDS) debut in October.
Hiwula had already scored seven goals for the academy when he got his debut for the EDS and he bagged in his first game for them too, in City’s win over Stockport County. Having only turned 17 a month earlier, Hiwula has quickly made his advances through Manchester City’s youth set-up and has made his intentions clear to end up playing in the Premier League, ”I go and watch the first team on a regular basis and I’m striving to get there one day.” His quick rise through the youth set-up hasn’t put the Ghanaian under any illusions though, “I’ll hopefully just take one step at a time. I want to get more games for the EDS, score more goals and take it from there.”
Now a mega-rich owner is pumping copious amounts of money into Manchester City’s transfers, exemplified by the rumoured £88m move for Porto’s Brazilian striker Hulk but already seen in the £35m acquisition of Sergio Aguero, one might expect the route for youth to the first team to be somewhat stifled, however City look set to make provisions for the the youth set-up that has previously seen 38 players play in the top flight and a further ten represent their countries at full international level, including Shaun Wright-Phillips, Micah Richards and Stephen Ireland.
Ex-Arsenal, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter midfield stronghold, Patrick Vieira, now Football Development Executive at Manchester City, unveiled their ambitious plans for an Etihad Campus that would see full integration of the club from grassroots to millionaire pay packets, “England does not produce as much talent as it should based on the passion for the game and the number of kids who are playing,” said the World Cup and Euro Championships winner.
“I think as a football club you always want to see young players coming from the local community and that facility will give them the chance to show their skills and to improve,” continued the recently retired City player, talking of the impressive blueprint for the Etihad Campus.
Courtesy of ThisIsFutbol.com