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28th Oct 2014

City last and United second in European homegrown table

Manchester City are not putting their faith in youth according to homegrown player stats.

Robert Redmond

Manchester City are joint-last in a table that lists the amount of homegrown players fifty-one elite clubs have produced. Manchester United are second. The Premier League champions currently have just one player who classifies as a homegrown player in their squad, with eleven others playing throughout the continent. The table, compiled by CIES Football Observatory, primarily covers clubs from the top flight leagues in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. It details the number of players clubs produce in their academies, both homegrown players still with the respective club, and those who have been sold or are currently on loan.

City have spent close to €1 billion in transfer fees since being taken over by Sheikh Mansour in 2008, however, in that time, no academy player has been able to hold down a first-team place. Academy graduates such as Stephen Ireland and Shaun Wright-Phillips were sold while Micah Richards is currently on loan with Fiorentina. Homegrown signings have also found it tough, Jack Rodwell made just twenty-four appearances in two years, before moving to Sunderland, and Scott Sinclair has found first-team opportunities almost non-existent since signing in 2012.

The table’s release coincides with City’s first-team recently moving their training to £200 million Etihad Campus. The eighty acre state-of-the-art facility also houses the club’s academy, features a 7,000-capacity stadium, seventeen training pitches and has been constructed with the stated aim of producing homegrown players. ‘We want to bring talent through our academy into our first team’ Patrick Vieira, the head of City’s Elite Development Squad, recently said. The former Arsenal captain’s sentiments were echoed by Mark Allen, the head of the club’s academy. ‘When I took the job four years ago I outlined a 10-year plan to really start to see a group of talent coming through together all playing the City way. Cycles take time. In the late 90s it was France, then Spain, now Germany. Our moment will arrive’.

Meanwhile, City’s neighbours sit second in the table. United have developed thirty-six players currently competing in Europe’s top five leagues, twelve of whom still play for the club. Barcelona, who have produced forty-three players, are top of the table, while El Classico rivals Real Madrid are third with thirty-four. Olympique Lyonnais and Paris St-Germain make up the top five.

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