EDS & Academy

Under-18s boss hails leading light Garcia

INSPIRATION: Eric Garcia celebrates after scoring with a superb header in our FA Youth Cup quarter-final win at Bournemouth
Manchester City Under-18s boss Gareth Taylor hailed the inspiring leadership of Eric Garcia after the young Blues booked their ticket through to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals with Tuesday’s commanding

The 18-year-old Spanish central defender was a shining inspiration at the Vitality Stadium, defending with calm, cool authority and heading home a superb goal late in the first half to send the Blues ahead at the break in the quarter-final clash.

It’s already been a memorable season for Garcia who, after impressing on last summer’s senior tour to the United States, has made his first-team breakthrough by starting in City’s Carabao Cup quarter and semi-finals.

And Taylor was full of praise for the way the 18-year-old led by example at the Vitality Stadium where Felix Nmecha, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru and Ben Knight were also on target.

“I’m really pleased,” said Taylor as he reflected on what was a fine night’s work. “I thought that there were some really good elements to our all-round play. 

                        HEAD BOY : Eric Garcia powers home City's second goal at the Vitality Stadium
HEAD BOY : Eric Garcia powers home City's second goal at the Vitality Stadium

“It also helps when you have good lads in your team - lads like our captain, Eric, who was tremendous all night. His attitude is first class.

“I heard the manager (Pep Guardiola) talk about Oleksandr Zinchenko in his press conference on Tuesday and praising his attitude.

“In the same way, we’ve got a guy in Eric who has played three Carabao Cup games this season and when he plays our games for the Under 18s it’s like he’s playing a first team game.

READ: City's Under 18 Premier League Cup final date confirmed

WATCH: Paul Harsley on City's Carabao Cup Academy players

“He’s a tremendous leader and that inspires everyone else and he came up with a great header at a key time in the game to give us an important goal before half-time.”

City’s reward for the comprehensive victory on the south coast is a home semi-final against West Brom, who overcame Everton 4-3 in their quarter-final tie on Tuesday night.

WATCH: Derby delight: U18s march on in PL Cup

Taylor is aware that the visit of the Baggies will present the toughest test yet for the young Blues on our FA Youth Cup journey.

But having come so far, and with a Premier League Cup final to look forward as well in March, City’s Under-18s boss is keen to keep the feel-good factor going.

“We’re really looking forward to the semi -final. No matter who you play or what side of the draw you are in, they are all good teams,” Taylor added.

“Like Bournemouth – they put away some good teams in the run to the quarters - so when it comes to a semi or a final like we’ve seen at the weekend with our men’s and women’s teams, anything can happen.

                        SQUAD GOALS : The young Blues celebrate after sealing victory
SQUAD GOALS : The young Blues celebrate after sealing victory

“We want to add to the good work they have done already.

“This group of lads have worked really hard this season and we’re mixing two groups together and everyone has played their part.

“When you think of where we are now in the semi-finals and the hard yards we had to do down at Clevedon and away at Derby I think the lads have done great so far.

“But now we don’t want it stop… we want it to continue.”

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