Manchester City U15s coach Mark Kennedy has praised the resilient attitude of his side after they reached this season’s Floodlit Cup final with victory over Everton.
A brace from Sam Robinson and a Tommy Doyle goal saw City to their second consecutive final via a 3-1 win in tough, wintry conditions at Everton’s Finch Farm.
The young Blues are used to the immaculate pitches of the City Football Academy but Kennedy believes his players learn the most by coming through adversity.
He said: “It was business like. I’m really pleased that they got through even after so much went wrong.
“They had some difficult circumstances to deal with, the conditions were terrible and the match was delayed, but it’s important for a development point of view to come through that challenge.
“It wasn’t the best performance of the season but it’s important these kids learn how to win games of football in different ways and we saw the team slogging it out in a way that you don’t often get in kids’ football.
“It’s good for our players to understand that they aren’t always going to play on pristine pitches throughout their careers. They’re always asking for away matches to test themselves in a range of different places around the country.”
Doyle is the grandson of two City legends, Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe, but Kennedy believes the midfielder is forging his own path in the game.
“Everybody this year has played a massive part, just like Tommy. Tommy’s the one that everybody knows from his background but it’s important to say that he’s at this club because of himself. That’s the most important thing,” he said.
City’s U15s lifted the Floodlit Cup last season and have continued their fine form across the age groups in this campaign.
“One of the reasons I came here is to work with the best at an elite academy and it’s nice to see the thought process on how they are trained,” said Kennedy.
“The coaching programme the club has is phenomenal. It’s not just about the style and the philosophy but the small, intricate details that they have given the coaches to give the players.
“As coaches, it’s up to us to add our own experience to the role. Every coach at the club is different, just as every number six at the club is different, but the profile will remain the same. That’s what set the club apart.”
Kennedy played for City between 1999 and 2001 and is still remembered fondly by the club’s fans. Having battled for promotion and against relegation during his stay at Maine Road, Kennedy is delighted to see the changes that have taken place at City.
“Football’s changed an incredible amount but the potential for this club to change in the way it has was always there.
“There were people at the club when I was playing here that are still working here now that made it a special club and it just took the vision of somebody to have the vision to see what could happen.”