Five City Academy players joined up with England u16s for the very first time this week.
Cameron McCulloch, Joshua Murray, Elan Assiana, Diallo Sadou and Lukas Nmecha made the cut after impressing at England’s pre-season development centre at St George’s Park.
All five are now in contention to face Northern Ireland at Bournemouth FC on Friday night.
Head of Academy Mark Allen is delighted with this astonishing landmark for the academy - the largest crop of City youngsters to be named in a single international squad.
“I think it’s a great reflection on what we’re trying to do, they’re all homegrown boys and now they can call themselves England internationals,” Allen declared.
“To get five players in one selection is pretty unique and something we’ve never had before – certainly not in my time here.
...Mark Allen - Head of Academy...
“More than anything, to play for your country is a fantastic experience, so they will take that out of it but it’s also a chance to mix with players from other clubs and perhaps play in a different system.
“We sent eight players to the England development centre at the beginning of the season and had great feedback about all eight of them and, from the information we’ve had, this may not be the end of the call-ups for the Victory Shield from a City point of view.”
Midfielder Will Patching has also been named on the standby list after making his debut in the 1-0 win over Wales in early October.
This age-group is the first to benefit from City’s groundbreaking programme at St Bede’s school which features a curriculum that fits around players’ daily training sessions, meaning all academy youngsters have a full-time school and football education which blends together seamlessly.
Allen is certain that this programme is having the desired effect in improving the quality of player the club can produce.
“I think these call-ups show that the St Bede’s programme is bearing fruit, this is the first group that has been eligible for international selection and to get so many through just shows we must be doing something right," Allen stated.
“As a policy, I don’t like to speak too early about players but this crop, the ‘St Bede’s group’ as I call them, the under-12s through to the under-16s - I will say that I’m very excited about their capabilities at this moment in time.
“It’s still early days but If they continue with the application and the attitude that they’ve shown, together with what we’re hopefully giving them in the programme, then we could be going on to bigger and better things.”
We’ll let you know how our boys get on for their country on mcfc.co.uk – you can watch the game against Northern Ireland in the UK on Sky Sports from 7.30pm on Friday night.