Manchester City Under-18 coach Jason Wilcox has moved to allay the fears of the Citizens moneymen who were dreading several summers of overspending in order to match the Premier League’s soon-to-be-enforced regulations regarding home-grown players.
The outbound English champions have dangerously low stocks of domestically-schooled talent, but Wilcox, who was speaking ahead of his side’s FA Youth Cup final clash with City’s Chelsea equivalents, is confident of getting players into the first-team.
“Our job is to recruit local lads. If we can get a group of Manchester-born lads into the first team then that’s the ideal scenario. To do that is going to be really difficult but that’s the challenge.”
But who are the players those tuning into tonight’s final first-leg can expect to see donning City sky blue in the Premier League in a few years?
A lightning-fast winger with an appetite for goals, Barker has scored plenty on City’s route to the showpiece.
He notched a treble to see off Coventry in an 8-2 win, then bagging a further two in a 6-1 quarter-final destruction of Crewe to take his seasonal tally to six in the competition.
Such is the England Under-19 star’s talent he has been fast-tracked into Patrick Vieira’s Under-21 squad at Man City, though is being borrowed back to Wilcox’s squad for this one.
Operating on the opposite flank to Barker, Nemane is another goalscoring midfielder who notched two on his debut for City’s Under-18s aged just 14.
Nemane has three goals in the competition this term and his versatility is a weapon City often utilise, dropping him in to a number ten berth when the situation calls for it.
Stand-in skipper of the Under-18 outift, Bryan boasts a power that belies his age and his strong running prowess enables him to prosper in a box-to-box midfield role.
A well-rounded teenager, the 18-year-old is lauded for his passing ability and fantastic range, as well as deadly accuracy from the penalty spot.