Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

The Big Stage Awaits City's Youngsters

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

The Big Stage Awaits City's Youngsters

Article excerpt

THE biggest crowd in City history - 99,000 people - waited outside, and just about all of them were supporting the opposition.

Down the tunnel, the 16-year-old defender could see three world greats - Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

And the young Blue could not even glance to the side and find an experienced head to reassure him and tell him what to do.

This was Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2015, as City faced the might of Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup, and teenager Cameron Humphreys had been thrown in at the deep end.

Martin Demichelis was on extended leave after playing in the Copa America final, and Vincent Kompany had flown home the day before, with his wife Carla about to give birth.

And then, on the morning of the game, £42m signing Elaquim Mangala reported that he had been chucking up in the night.

The more cynical observers suspected the French defender, after a nerve-shredding debut season - both for himself and the fans - simply did not fancy facing Madrid's 'BBC' attack and had indulged in the British working tradition of throwing a sickie.

Foden burst onto on last with beyond Whatever the reason, it meant rookie Humphreys and the marginally more experienced 20-year-old Jason Denayer, flanked by Bacary Sagna and Aleks Kolarov, were in.

City lost 4-1, but Humphreys stuck to his task manfully, a young player with a mature attitude.

His usual defensive partner in the City youth teams, Tosin Adarabioyo, had missed the tour through injury.

Three years later, after Humphreys missed most of last season with a serious injury, both young defenders are on tour with Pep Guardiola's squad - and have another golden opportunity.

Diaz the scene tour performances years The only senior centre-back in the travelling party is Aymeric Laporte, so both have a great chance of playing in friendlies against Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Bayern Munich. …

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