New Manchester City Academy Director Thomas Kruecken has spoken of his pride and excitement at having taken up the key role and outlined what he sees as his key objectives looking to the present and long term.

The German took up the reins at the CFA late last year, having stepped into the role in succession to Jason Wilcox who left to take up a new challenge at Southampton.

Thomas has stepped into the crucial position having amassed a hugely impressive CV in youth development back in his native Germany.

Prior to starting work in November, he was Academy Director at Vfb Stuttgart and previously he had held key Academy roles at several top Bundesliga clubs including Hoffenheim and Mainz.

Speaking in what is his first interview since starting the job at City, Kruecken spoke of how he was already focused on helping maintain the Academy’s world class reputation for producing outstanding youth talent.


And he revealed how the key fundamental aspect of his role was in seeking to help equip the Academy for the challenges looking towards the long-term moving into the next decade and beyond.

“I am really happy proud and pleased to be here,” Kruecken said.

“Manchester City has one of the best Academy set-ups in world football and this was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

“The chance to work here is one that really excites me.

“Everything Manchester City’s Academy stands for matches with my values.

“We have everything at the Etihad Campus to develop top class players and for me it is important to work with the experience I have with extraordinary players and excellent staff members and teams we have here.

“It was not hard to say yes when Omar Berrada [Chief Football Operations Officer] gave me the call. I can’t describe the feeling when he said we want you to come over. I am so happy and proud to be here.

“The way I have structured my first three months, first it is very important to have conversations with my team members to get to know the people who are in and to learn and to understand their needs and thoughts.


“And to also understand the current structure and current processes.

“And I think the speed of the game will increase so its our common challenge and task to produce a future player for the future game.

“What skills and abilities will they need? How is knowledge changing and how is leadership changing?

“And how can we put all the CFG knowledge together? So those questions it really excites me to try and find the answer to.

“For me this is the basic [priority] when you work in an Academy… we should have an idea about the game for the future because we should look to develop the player of the future.

“So, when we have an idea let’s do it today as when we know what comes in the future it’s our job in the current time to prepare the Under 11/ Under 13 players for the game of 2029.”

Kruecken stepped into the Academy Director role having already established a unique back story with City.

He spent a memorable year working with our Academy back in the 2000/01 season and says that time working at our former Platt Lane HQ helped cement him with a lifelong rapport with the Club.

“I always kept an eye on City’s Academy as 22 years ago I did my first coaching steps here when I was over as an Erasmus student in Manchester,” Thomas recalled.

“I used to live in the city centre close to the old Palace Hotel and I remember I always took the Magic bus to Whitworth Park.

“Sometimes after training we went to the Curry Mile in Rusholme with the other coaches and I walked through to Platt Lane.

“It was a wonderful time with the openness of the people. I was so thankful to the former Academy Director Jim Cassell to give me the opportunity to work with our Under 10s and I learned so many important things in that time.

“I always kept a bond with the Club – in fact my old internet passwords always had Manchester City included in it – though now I have changed them! – so things have come full circle.

“So, I always kept an eye on City’s Academy and the development of the Club, and I always kept a close eye on the amazing work of Ferran [Soriano], Txiki [Begiristain], Omar and Pep [Guardiola].

“Now I am really proud to be part of the Club again.”

To hear more from Thomas watch our full, in-depth interview, which will be published on our website and app at 14:00 (UK) this afternoon.