Manchester City's exiled defender Micah Richards has warned of his concerns about the prospects of academy players at the Etihad breaking through there.
The new Fiorentina loanee has joined La Viola on a season long loan and will leave the Sky Blues when his contract at the club expires next summer.
Richards was one of the few academy products in the Manchester City first team, but the 26-year-old refused to sign a new deal at the Etihad because of lack of first team opportunities, and he feels that the next batch will suffer the same fate.
Richards told The Daily Mail :“It’s going to be hard for them to come through. If you look at the squad now there’s 22 international players.
“You’re going to have to be extra special to get through. It would be nice to see more coming from the academy, but the standard’s pretty high now.
"The manager (Manuel Pellegrini) always said if you’re good enough, you’ll get a chance. I hope he sticks to his word. Hopefully, the new facilities they are building will help to bring young players through."
The lack of opportunities
Richards moved to the City youth system after being plucked from the Oldham set-up at 14, and says his 12 year spell at City was good, but towards the end was so frustrating he saw no point in trying to fight any more.
“I don’t have any bad feelings towards the club. They put me on the map and gave me a chance when I was 17.
“But I do have bad feelings towards the playing time (I was given). For any player, when you’re not playing it’s frustrating, and now I decided I wanted to go somewhere where I had the opportunity to be No 1.”