City’s Under 18 side have been backed for success in the FA Youth Cup final by someone who knows what it takes to win that trophy.
Andy Hinchcliffe was a member of the last City side to win the competition in 1986, the first success in a career that featured a goal in the famous 5-1 derby win, an FA Cup winner’s medal and seven caps for England.
The 1986 side, also featuring Steve Redmond, David White and Paul Lake, drew the first leg of their final at Old Trafford, and Andy wants the Blues take the classic approach to a two-game tie.
In an exclusive interview now showing on MCFCTV.com he says, “Away from home, no matter how big the crowd is, if you can quieten them down you can quieten the home team down as well by trying to frustrate them for the first 20 minutes.
“Jim Cassell and the coaches will be pleased that the first game is at Stamford Bridge, if the first game is a draw, or they win, that will give them a great deal of confidence going into the second game.
“They should do what they would be looking to do two or three years down the line in the first team. That’s what these boys are learning, we must aim to do a professional job and get back to the City of Manchester Stadium to finish it off.
“Young players always want to do the best they can every time they are on the ball, but sometimes that’s not always the best approach. Away from home, you allow the home team to come forward because the onus is on them.”
Several of the class of 86, like Andy, went on to serve City with distinction and the former left-back expects some of this season’s vintage to follow in their footsteps.
“This City side look like a solid unit,” he continues, “if they can keep Chelsea out I think they have the players to nick something.
“I would not be surprised to see some in the first team over the next couple of years. Modern footballers need to be very fit, and Kieran Trippier really gets up & down the flanks from right back. Vladimir Weiss is technically very gifted, very quick and has two good feet, and Ben Mee looks like a good defender in the Richard Dunne mould.
“If they develop physically and realise mentally what’s needed to cope in the professional game, there’s no reason why they should not push for a first team place at City.”