This was a strong season for our youth teams across all age groups. The boys teams won 19 cups and tournaments from Under-18s down to Under-9s, while in addition the Under-15s reached two finals that were cancelled due to COVID-19.

UNDER-18



Despite coming to an abrupt halt in March, the domestic season proved to be another memorable campaign for our Under-18s.

Seeking to build on a highly successful 2018-19 season which saw the side claim the Premier League Under-18 Cup and finish runners-up in the FA Youth Cup, Head Coach Gareth Taylor’s young charges went from strength to strength.

The Under-18s achieved the notable feat of retaining the Under-18 Premier League Cup in emphatic style, recording a 6-0 win over Stoke at the Academy Stadium in the final. This proved to be the last game played prior to lockdown.

When football resumed after the lockdown, the season ended on a high with a 3-2 win against Chelsea in the delayed FA Youth Cup final at St George’s Park in November 2020. An important victory, this is the first time we have emerged victorious from an FA Youth Cup final since 2008. An impressive number of ‘homegrown’ players in the squad have progressed all the way through our Academy: seven of the starting 11 have been with the Club from Under-9 level, learning to play the Man City way.

City had also been flying high in the Under-18 Premier League North when lockdown was initiated – top of the standings and 12 points clear of nearest rivals Liverpool and Everton. We were later crowned regional and national champions despite the league being curtailed.

Taylor’s fine work with the Academy was rewarded earlier this summer when he was appointed as Manager of Manchester City Women, succeeding Nick Cushing when he moved to New York City FC.

Post resumption of Premier League action in June, there was further recognition of the Under-18 talent when skipper Cole Palmer was named on the substitute’s bench for City’s first team Premier League clash away at Chelsea.

32 of our Academy players from Under-14 to Under-23 represented their country this season, including 17 England players.



EDS



It proved to be another season of consolidation for City’s Elite Development Squad (EDS).

Once again deploying a youthful squad in comparison to many of our rivals, our Under-23s were lying in eighth place in the PL2 table when the campaign was brought to a halt.

As well as gaining vital experience over the course of the season, there was further recognition of the burgeoning abilities within the squad, with both midfielder Tommy Doyle and central defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis being awarded their first team debuts over the course of the campaign.

After impressing on last summer’s Asia Tour, Taylor made his senior debut in our 3-0 Carabao Cup win away at Preston in September.

EDS skipper Tommy – grandson of two late, great City legends, Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe – also shone on that Asia Tour and went on to play a part in October’s 3-1 Carabao Cup triumph over Southampton.

Though there was another frustrating group stage exit in the UEFA Youth League, the City youngsters hugely impressed once again in the Leasing.com Trophy.

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BLUE BLOOD

Phil Foden has provided an inspiring example of the City pathway from Academy to first team – and the midfielder’s progress since making his senior debut in November 2017 has been meteoric.

The Stockport-born star joined City at Under-9 level and has already been in the winning squads for two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and three League Cups at the age of just 20.

In 2017, he was handed his senior debut against Feyenoord in the Champions League and became the youngest City player to play in European competition. A month later, he became the youngest Englishman to start in a Champions League game when he was named in the starting eleven against Shakhtar Donetsk, and his Premier League debut followed ten days later. In 2020, he was elevated into the England senior squad.

Phil’s example on the pitch has also inspired close friend Tommy Doyle for whom, it could be said, City is in his very blood.

The grandson of two true Blue legends – the late, great Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe – midfielder Tommy has gone from strength to strength since joining City at the age of eight.

Tommy won numerous tournaments with City's junior sides, has represented England at Under-15, Under-16, Under-17, Under-18 and Under-19 level, and was Premier League Player of the Tournament for three successive years.

After impressing on our 2019 Asia Tour, Tommy made his debut in last October’s Carabao Cup win over Southampton.

That was followed by maiden FA Cup and Premier League appearances before the midfielder was included as part of Pep Guardiola’s summer Champions League squad. He signed a new five-year contract in September 2020.

Fellow teenager Taylor Harwood-Bellis has followed a similar upward trajectory over the past 12 months, having joined City at just six years old.

The 18-year-old central defender was handed his first team debut in last September’s Carabao Cup win at Preston before making his Champions League bow in December.

Taylor followed that up with a debut FA Cup display – and first goal for the senior team – in January’s 4-1 triumph over Port Vale, and he too was part of our summer Champions League squad.

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