Jason Wilcox has been appointed City under 18s manager.
The former Blackburn, Leeds, Leicester and Blackpool winger has a wealth of footballing experience to draw on and has already been a key part of the City academy set up as coach of the under 13 side that swept all before them in 2012/13.
After being released by the Blues as a teenager, Jason came through the youth system at Rovers where he featured in an FA Youth Cup final, before making over 300 appearances for the senior team and tasting league title success in 1995.
Now, the former England international is excited to take on a new challenge with the City under 18 side and pass on his knowledge at this crucial stage of their footballing development.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and a great privilege,” he revealed. “Everyone is talking about Manchester City and to have this role now as we look to move forward into the new complex is fantastic. I’m looking forward to the season ahead.
“It’s a really exciting time for the boys and hopefully I can pass my experiences – good and bad – onto the players. Many years ago I was here as a 15 year old and now it’s almost come full circle.”
A new group of first year scholars signed on for the Blues on Saturday ahead of their first week in this thrilling new chapter of their lives.
In the last year at Platt Lane before the move to the City Football Academy for the 2014/15 campaign, Wilcox is determined that his new crop will be aiming high.
“I’ve worked with the group last year on many occasions so they’re familiar with me anyway,” he explained. “The first day in a new job is always exciting but my message to them was that we’ve got a really big season ahead and preseason will be very hard work.
“I think we’ve got to aim to win the league and FA Youth Cup – as well as getting as many boys into Patrick Vieira’s EDS squad as we can.
“We have to stress them as much as we can to enable them to go on to the next level. You don’t learn a lot from your success, you learn from your difficulties and failures.
“Last year the boys had an almighty challenge because they were one of the youngest under 18 squads in the league. They are going to make mistakes but it’s important they realise we are fixing those mistakes, and when we are making constructive criticism we are doing it in their best interests.
“Building up that relationship with the players is a massive part of my job. I’ve got to make sure that I’m a parent here and gain their trust and respect very quickly.”
In his previous role as under 13 coach, Bolton-born Jason took charge of an extremely promising squad who won the national tournament for their age group last year, and he is hopeful of meeting up with a few of them again when they reach under 18 level.
However, he is determined that the overall approach doesn’t change between age groups.
“I think we want to get the same philosophy, the same work ethic and the same standards running right the way through the club from the under 9s,” he said. “I think it’s really important that the under 18s squad are role models for the younger ones coming through.”
He added: “There is a really good environment at Platt Lane and the people who work within the environment create that. The exciting thing for me is that we’ve come an awful long way but there is still a long way to go and that’s the buzz.
“The staff, the resources and the drive we have here - that’s the exciting thing.”