Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Guardiola Has an Eye on the Future at City

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Guardiola Has an Eye on the Future at City

Article excerpt

DURING Chelsea's courting process of Pep Guardiola back in 2012, discussions are said to have turned to the Catalan's expectations.

Chief among them was to have detailed reports of the emerging talent within the club.

Guardiola would take specific interest in the top four from each age group and oversee their development.

At City he is keeping a close eye on an academy that has become the envy of the Premier League.

The envy - but also a source of ridicule.

Just last week Gary Neville claimed neither City nor Chelsea - their fellow FA Youth Cup finalists - have the courage to provide a first-team pathway for young players.

Begrudgingly, even some City fans had to agree with the former United captain.

But the expectation is that Guardiola will be the man to finally exploit the resources at his disposal - with three players standing out as having the potential to force their way into his plans.

Spanish starlet Brahim Diaz, Stockport prospect Phil Foden and Arsenal target Jadon Sancho have emerged from an under-18s group coached by Lee Carsley that could save City a fortune in future fees.

Diaz, 17, was handed his first-team debut this season, coming on as a substitute against Swansea in the EFL Cup in September.

Foden was a shock inclusion in the squad for a Champions League group game against Celtic.

Sancho, meanwhile, is set to be handed a new long-term contract to fend off interest from Arsenal.

They are not alone in catching the eye of Guardiola, who has promoted a host of academy players to firstteam training. But they stand out as being realistic contenders to persuade City to resist the temptation to spend on expensive recruits in forthcoming transfer windows.

Carsley's side face Chelsea in the second leg of the Youth Cup final tonight in a tie that is finely poised at 1-1. He accepts the pressure is on him to develop players that will be used by Guardiola.

"Such is the standard of the first team, we are having to produce players that are, if not as good, better than what is already in there," he said. …

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