EDS & Academy

Barry-Murphy: Academy debuts a proud moment for us all

Elite Development Squad head coach Brian Barry-Murphy said the sight of six City youngsters being handed their first team debuts on Tuesday was a source of huge pride for everyone in the Club’s Academy.

On a memorable and historic night for our Academy, several of Barry-Murphy’s EDS made their senior bows in City’s 6-1 Carabao Cup third round win over Wycombe Wanderers.

CJ Egan-Riley, Luke Mbete, Romeo Lavia, Finley Burns and Josh Wilson-Esbrand all started at the Etihad with James McAtee coming on as a second half substitute.

Afterwards, City boss Pep Guardiola was hugely complimentary both of their performances – and the superb work being undertaken within the Academy.


For his part, Barry-Murphy – who on Tuesday oversaw our latest Papa John’s Trophy clash away at Doncaster – said seeing the six make their senior bow was a special moment for everyone in the Academy set-up.

And he said the positive benefits were also filtering down to the rest of the EDS squad and beyond.

“The atmosphere amongst the lads is hard to describe as they have seen a lot of their peers play in such a great game back at the Etihad,” the head coach declared.

“And that feeling of togetherness is very hard to put into words. You see the sense of pride amongst the squad and their wanting to get there themselves.

“I’m very new to the Academy and the lads and the coaching staff have done a lot of great work behind the scenes, as have people higher up the chain.

“What I’ve seen from this group and the lads who played at the Etihad is that they have got that real attitude to be successful in whatever they do this season.


“It’s a real privilege for myself to be in amongst the group.

“They have all been amazing and you also see the knock-on effect.
It’s not just those lads who made their first team debuts on Tuesday.

“You are seeing the likes of Isaac Smith and Jadel Katongo come on for us at Doncaster and play and get used to what a game is like at this level and then at the end look as if they have been here all their lives.

“For me that is another huge take away for us. And we start to forget that we are viewing senior players lads as young as Juan Larios and Shea Charles so those knock-on benefits are huge for us.”

Though a youthful City side were edged out 2-1 by Rovers in an entertaining and hard-fought EFL Trophy clash at the Keepmoat Stadium, our hopes of qualifying for the round of 32 are still very much alive.


City and Rovers both have three points from two games while Rotherham also have three ahead of their second group tie with Scunthorpe who have yet to register.

Regardless of the outcome of their game, it means there will be everything to play for in next month’s final group encounter at Rotherham.

And the head coach had nothing but praise for the way his players went about their business on Tuesday.

“The way our lads played right to the end was exactly what we would want from them and the amount of chances we created was testament to the way we played,” Barry-Murphy continued.

“First half we were OK but we stepped it up after the break and showed the real football that we are capable of – we just couldn’t manage to find the goals.

“There were so many different challenges within the game and I think the lads figured out the tactical and technical challenges.

"Physically it was quite hard work for them and there were quite a lot of heavy knocks.

“But for me it was significant that all the young players wanted to stay on the pitch right to the end.

“It will be brilliant (at Rotherham). It will be good for us to have that feel of a real competition where we will know what we have to do.

“Trying to play the way we do takes a lot of courage.

“And I said to the lads I was proud of how we played and that will drive us on to be even better in the next round and immediately on Saturday, when we play Arsenal, in terms of how we bounce back.”