The Kids Are All Right: Manchester City’s Youth Players Kick It Up A Notch

One thing that can’t be denied, Manchester City has a keen focus on youth development.

From the days of legends like Peter Barnes and Paul Lake to 21st-Century heroes like Micah Richards, the club’s shown just how important homegrown talent is to its cause.

And this year, all the hard work and investments of the past decade, beginning with the opening of its state of the art training academy, appears to be paying off in the most massive of ways, with a number of youth players making their marks with the senior side.

QNET, which has partnered Man City since 2014, recognises that this achievement is the culmination of years of hard work.

Much like the lesson we impart as direct sellers, there’s no such thing as overnight results. The success of City’s youth development programme shows that it’s also hard work and dedication that put one on the road to victory.

So, who’s part of Man City’s generation next? Here’re just five of the young stars who’ve been making waves:

Cole Palmer

Midfielder

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 21: Cole Palmer of Manchester City in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Everton at Etihad Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Described by ex-player Paul Dickov as a “supernatural talent”, 19-year-old Cole Palmer looks to be one of those footballers who emerges once in a generation. He’s fit, fast and has, as can be seen from City’s UEFA Champions League victory against  Club Brugge, a very keen eye for the net.

Yet, despite starring for both the senior and youth sides this season, the youngster is determined to stay grounded.

He says: “I…just need to keep going. I’ll keep my feet on the ground, and hopefully, keep pushing.”

James McAtee

Midfielder

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 21: James McAtee of Manchester City runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Everton at Etihad Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

19-year-old James McAtee has courted much praise on account of his silky attacking skills.

But what’s making people sit up and take notice is his versatility. In fact, while he’s been a goal machine for the youth side, he’s had no problems fitting in anywhere, even in defence!

Of course, even the best have room to grow, but that’s likely not going to be a problem for McAtee.

City’s Elite Development Squad’s head coach Brian Barry-Murphy says: “James’ attitude to these games has been spot on…I think there is [sic] loads of his game he can still develop, and he’ll know that as he’s a very intelligent player.”

Liam Delap

Forward

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – APRIL 09: Liam Delap of Manchester City U23 during the Premier League 2 match between Manchester City and Liverpool at Manchester City Football Academy on April 09, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Manchester City FC/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

His appearances this season have been limited somewhat due to injury. Still, the explosive 18-year-old hitman has grabbed every opportunity he’s been handed and shown just why he’s rated so highly.

Some folks even believe that Liam Delap, the son of Premier League favourite Rory Delap, has what it takes to inherit Sergio Aguero’s mantle and spearhead City’s attack.

Luke Mbete

LEIGH, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 13: Luke Mbete of Manchester City in action during the Premier League 2 match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Leigh Sports Village on December 13, 2020 in Leigh, England. (Photo by Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Defender

A commanding centre-back who joined City at Under 12 level, Luke Mbete, 18, has impressed at every age category.

He has already turned in one impressive performance this season, and based on the response of his manager and teammates, it’s likely fans will see way more of Luke in the coming months. 

Phil Foden

Midfielder

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Phil Foden (@philfoden)

Phil Foden’s not only a key member of the first-team squad, but he is also an important player for England.

And City boss Pep Guardiola has no doubt the best of young Foden is still to come.

“Some players play in one position, some play football,” Guardiola says.

“The question is it doesn’t matter where he (Foden) plays, he plays good…He can play striker, false nine, winger right and left.”

A boyhood Sky Blue who’s even now being compared to legends of the game like Paul Gascoigne and Andres Iniesta, versatile Foden is proof that glory can be guaranteed if you have the right system in place, and the right faith in young talents.

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