Monday, November 21, 2016

"We are building a structure for the future not just a team of all-stars."-Sheikh Mansour, September 2008

The greatest owner in the history of club sports.

The Under-15s last week won 9-0 against Manchester United -- the latest in a list of striking results from an academy brimming with talent and belief.

City are top of the Premier League 2 and U18s tables while England teams at every youth level are heavily stocked with players trained at the £200m start-of-the-art Etihad Campus.
The grass is always bluer on the Manchester City side.

Guardiola arrived in the summer and overhauled the first team, giving it a new identity that demands his side dominate possession and press for the ball back as soon as it's lost. It's a philosophy replicated through each age group at the club, right down to Guardiola's desire for goalkeepers to be comfortable with the ball at their feet.

"The one thing we were all delighted with wasn't the result or the number of goals, it was the style of our play," U15s coach Mark Kennedy said after the win over United.

"If we had played in pink jerseys with blue spots on the other side of the world, you still would have known that was a Manchester City team."

Academy coaches don't pick players and formations based on the squad they have to choose from, but stick to an overarching philosophy which comes from the very top.

"We have a very distinct style of play which goes throughout the academy," City's academy director Mark Allen told the Daily Telegraph.

"Every single team will play in the same way with the same philosophy, so when we're looking for players, we know what we're looking for. As you plot that you can almost see the axis as you go through the club.
Blue Heaven