Football

Manchester City must focus on youth

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They might be rich and winning games, but in order to set the club up for years to come - and not just the next season - Manchester City must focus on youth.

As we all know, their local rivals Manchester United focused intensively on youth during their most successful years under Sir Alex Ferguson in the mid to late 1990s.

The term "Fergie's Fledglings" was coined to describe the mesmerising discovery of youth graduates such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville and Robbie Savage. Not so much Savage, but at least he blesses out TV's with his prevalent intellect and outstanding punditry.

Fergie was criticised for focusing on youth, with Alan Hansen famously saying: 'You can't win anything with kids'. Of course, United would go on and win everything with kids, famously overturning Newcastle United's 10-point Christmas lead to win the club's third league title in four years with an average age of 24 in the 1995-1996 season.

United balanced the importing of foreign players with the promotion of youth team players into the first-team to create a perfect blend of youth and global superstars.

Yet City have focused their attention to creating a dream team rather than set-up for the future. If they continue to do so, they may face the risk of becoming the next Leeds United - spending big on a squad and being hit by the reality of English football and becoming broke and relegated in 2004.

Although Leeds have a prospering academy, many of their talents chose to depart the club due to lack of first-team success and statute.

Last season, City talents Marcos Lopes and Denis Suarez both impressed, with the former scoring against Watford in a 3-0 League Cup win on his debut. The latter, Suarez, departed to Barcelona in the summer, in true Gerard Pique 'deserting the Premier League to become a world-class players' fashion.

The pumping into the side world-class players has limited the chances of Lopes and Suarez, prolonging their peak as they are not getting chances, increasing the likelihood of another side vitalising their passionate and skilful football.

The sooner Manchester City give youth a chance and build a Southampton standard academy, the sooner the club can properly dominate. If they breed raw young talent into the side, the players they spend extravagant amounts on and are expected to win everything immediately can be bound together by young talent passionate to play rather than imported haberdashers content to get paid.

And who knows, if they build a good academy, the Arsenal 'buy 'em young and rip people off' policy might breakdown as Manchester City has been the destination for trophy-hungry Arsenal players in recent years, and the whole dimension of the Premier League might shift entirely.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester City

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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