Last month saw Man City open a state of the art football academy worth £200million. This included their very own youth stadium with a capacity of 7,000.
City’s chances of producing their own players on a regular basis are becoming increasingly likely, with players having one of the best facilities in the world to learn their craft. Since the hundreds of millions has been pumped into the club from 2008, only a handful of players have been given a chance in the first team, with perhaps Micah Richards the last grown player to become a regular at the club.
But their under-21 and under-18 sides are both full of talent with the potential to go on and become superstars. Here are Man City’s top four youth players who are a part of their Elite Development Squad…
Brandon Barker, 18, is a hot prospect who is predominantly a left winger, but capable of playing on the right.
Barker has made the step up from the under-18s to the under021s where he has been extremely impressive so far this season. He has scored three in eight appearances for the under-21s, including a great solo finish against Chelsea. He has also scored four in six matches in the UEFA Youth League.
His goalscoring form continued with a hat-trick against Coventry in the FA Youth Cup, including a fantastic strike from outside the area. With great pace and the ability to cut in from the left to score, Barker is set for a bright future in the game.
Seventeen-year-old French striker Theirry Ambrose was signed from Auxerre in 2012 and has since been scoring regularly for the under-18s, and now the under-21s.
His best position is as a centre forward but he is capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, either behind the striker or out wide. Ambrose possesses bundles of pace and most importantly for a striker, has great finishing ability.
This season he has scored goals for the under 21s and in the UEFA Youth League, scoring four times in the under-21 Premier League. His goals haven’t gone unnoticed, winning a place on the bench for the first team’s win over Crystal Palace last month. If he keeps on developing as he should do, particularly in one of the best training facilities in the world, then Ambrose is another player that should have a successful career ahead of him at the Etihad.
Spanish striker Pozo, 18, was signed from Real Madrid in 2012 at just 16. He is a player widely tipped for big things and also had a spell in the first team just last month.
His first two seasons for the youth teams were tremendous, despite injury causing a curtailed run in the team. Pozo made his senior debut for the club against Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup earlier this season, where he scored in the 7-0 demolition.
He has since made three appearances in the Premier League including a first start against Leicester, where he showed signs of his talent.
Pozo hasn’t been as prolific for the under-21s this season but that is mainly due to having first team commitments this term. A very skilful player with a lot of pace, only injuries can stop Pozo from being a star in the future.
Eighteen-year-old Belgium defender Mathias Bossaerts is capable of playing either in the centre or on the right side of defence.
He joined Man City from Anderlecht in 2012 and is developing into a leader in the heart of defence, similar to the mould of fellow Belgian Vincent Kompany.
A ball playing defender who is physically fit with great pace and strength, Bossaerts has the attributes to become a top class defender in the future for Man City. He has already played seven times for the Belgium under-21 team and continues to impress for them and City.
With a great role model in Vincent Kompany to learn from, there is no reason why Bossaerts can’t develop into a similar natural born, physically imposing leader.