Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A Case of out with the Old - and in with the Young

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A Case of out with the Old - and in with the Young

Article excerpt

MANUEL Pellegrini did what no other City manager in history has done, take the club to the semifinals of the Champions League. But it was apparent, as the Blues narrowly lost to Real Madrid, that the team crafted by both the Chilean and his predecessor, Roberto Mancini, had peaked.

Stalwarts like David Silva and Fernandinho were still performing to a high level, but there were serious doubts about goliaths such as Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany, the latter due to his increasing injury problems.

It was clear in Pep Guardiola's mind that he had to reinvigorate the squad by lowering the age profile considerably - and he has done so spectacularly.

Pellegrini's most regular team from that final season had an average age of 29.4 years.

Guardiola could well start the new season at Brighton with a team that levels out at 25.5 years of age - cutting a remarkable FOUR years off the average, while retaining the experience of Silva, Kompany and Sergio Aguero.

The ageing process was never more evident than in the full-back positions, where all four of City's front-liners were on the wrong side of 30 - and it showed.

Whether you call it poor succession planning or simply point to the fact that youngsters Pep has lined up for who have nub of the last seven Stuart Pablo Maffeo and Angelino - for whom there were high hopes - have not quite come to fruition, those creaking knees were in evidence last season.

The club took a calculated risk in eking one more season out of Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy and Aleks Kolarov, and in many regards that gamble failed.

Now they have three full-backs with more zest in 23-year-old Benjamin Mendy, 26-year-old Danilo and 27-year-old Kyle Walker.

And with the youth of goalkeeper Ederson, John Stones, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling - and hopefully with Phil Foden, Brahim Diaz and Jadon Sancho to come - the squad has a more vibrant look.

successors players formed the for the years Brennan And, while this summer's world record spending spree has offended the nostrils of the delicate hypocrites who populate football in such numbers, it had a sound basis. …

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