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Mee recalls Youth Cup win

Ben Mee 0809

Ben Mee 0809

Ben Mee has been recalling last year's FA Youth Cup triumph as this season's side prepare for Saturday's quarter final.

The defender, who has recently signed a new two-year contract with City, skippered the first Blues side to win the competition since 1986. Victory was sealed over two legs against Chelsea, but it was a hard-earned triumph, with the early rounds featuring long trips to Reading, Bristol and Plymouth.

These away wins paid off in the short-term, but Ben also thinks that they helped the lads get a taste of how senior professionals prepare for games.

Ben told us, "The way the coaches set it all up for us when going away really helped us prepare for the games. We would go down the night before and it gave us all a taste for what it would be like in the first team.

"It's good for any young lad to bond with their team mates, and it did us a lot of good to live and prepare how a professional footballer would. That was for five or six games and gave us a taste of it, for the first team it's like that all the time."

The semi-final against a tough Sunderland side allowed the youngsters to play at the City of Manchester Stadium for the first time, which Ben thinks both helped and hindered them a little.

"Sunderland was a really tough game," he continues. "We won the away leg, but we went into the home leg a bit negative and we did not play our normal game. I think playing at the stadium for the first was a bit daunting for some of us.

"Because we had the lead, we sat back a bit and invited pressure on ourselves, but eventually it turned out alright. We had never played in a tie where it's all on the aggregate score, it was different but all experience for what you are going to have to do if you get to the final."

And that big-match experience came back to help the youth team bring the trophy back to the club a few weeks later, a 4-2 aggregate win being sealed on a memorable night at the City of Manchester Stadium.

"We turned in a good performance, but what was really good was that a lot of City fans came along to watch. At the second leg, the first half went really fast but the second dragged a bit until Vlad got the penalty. That was an unbelievable moment, because we had worked so hard to get there and finally it looked like we were going to win it. 

"Having the crowd there was a big help, there were 20,000 people at the game and the whole team had never played in front of a crowd as big as that before. It was a great experience, it meant a lot to me and I have my shirt from the night framed at home."

Last year's win meant a great deal to all the staff at the Platt Lane Academy, and Ben, at the club for 10 years now, says the team were happy that all the hard work behind the scenes paid off for them.

"Everyone there worked so hard for it, that's why it was nice for us to win it for them as well. I think they all enjoyed it just as much as the team did.

"I came to the last game and I'll be at the Norwich game as well. I still know a lot of the lads in this year's team, and I wish them all the best."

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