Will Melbourne City development be any better ?

Will Melbourne City development be any better ?

dirk vanadidas
dirk vanadidas
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Man City: Only one or two academy kids will make first team unless system improves - Vieira

Outgoing EDS boss Patrick Vieira wants to see changes to England's youth development system to challange young players more.

Manchester City fans hoping to see a wave of homegrown talent in the first team face disappointment.

That is the view of outgoing EDS chief Patrick Vieira, who believes the a flow of academy graduates reaching the senior level could be a trickle rather than a flood.

The Blues have invested hugely in building and staffing the City Football Academy to make it the most impressive development programme in the country.

Kelechi Iheanacho has been a regular first-team squad member and young full-back Angelino is set to be included against West Ham today.

But Vieira - who has taken over as manager of sister club New York City in the MLS - argues the structure of youth football in England must be changed to nurture young players to the required standard.

He says the quality of under-21 level football is failing youngsters in the English system and the formation of a 'B league' where talented young players can test themselves against men in the Championship or League One is vital

"We have really talented players but at 18, 19 they need first-team football. They need to play men. The way it is now doesn't work," he said in an interview with The Times .

Patrick Vieira (left) and City academy chief Mark Allen

"Last year we played, say, against Spurs at their training ground in front of 20 people. How is that for the first team? It's not life or death for results.

"The gap between under-21 and Championship now is massive. It is not realistic in the under-21s.

"Everything at City is working the right way but to judge success we have to be realistic. It might be one, two players over the next five years."

Vieira argues for the use of feeder teams and, ideally, the presence of B teams for elite clubs like City in the senior second tiers of English football.

Kelechi Iheanacho has broken through into the first team

"I strongly believe in this," he added. "The under-21 should be under-18 and then have a B team for the older group. Ideally in the Championship but even League One would be a massive step forward."

The former Arsenal and Inter Milan midfielder believes the success of Barcelona's famed academy, which produced the likes of including Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, gave some unrealistic expectations of what could be done.

"It was one outstanding generation," he said. "It might take 20, 50 years to have that again.

"It is hard. You are trying to develop players not just to win the league but the Champions League."

Angelino and Facey will return to City later this year from New York
Angelino and Shay Facey were loaned to New York

Despite his beliefs, Vieira doesn't see New York operating as a feeder for City.

Shay Facey and Angelino were loaned to the MLS arm of the City Football Group last season but Vieira said: "If a player comes here, that means he is ready to bring something.

"We won't get sent someone and told to play him. We have our own philosophy and our own identity. We are not Manchester City B."

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Good question, Dirk.

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